It was heartening to see the array of short-filmmaking talent deemed worthy of recognition alongside top celebs at the British Academy Film and Television Awards this year.
Rubbing shoulders with the great and the good at last month's ceremony sat five short-film nominees, all chosen for their strength of vision. The three we chose included My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117, the winning short film that took home the golden mask for its inventive and quirky tale of a man who becomes terrorised by his dog.
The film was adapted from a monologue taken from director, Chris Morris' Blue Jam radio series. When Rothko the dog decides it's time to take its owner for a walk, reality merges with the hallucinations of the tortured owner. Speeding up the sound to mirror the inner turmoil of the main character adds to the drama of the script, as does the jerky shots of the dog marching his owner down the high street.
My Wrongs 8245-8249, produced by Warp Films, was shot on 35mm and transferred to high definition for post-production. Most of the effects, including the disturbing scene where the dog gets knocked over were created by the Mill's flame team. The cinematic quality of this short was influenced by the work of director, Steven Soderbergh. It was initially shown alongside Soderbergh's feature, Full Frontal which used similar techniques from the flash freeze frames to the sharply cut images.
Another short-film nominee, Bouncer, stood out for its powerful performance and moody shots of behind-the-scenes provincial nightclub life.
This 10-minute film about the brutal encounters in the life of a nightclub doorman, visualising his innermost fears and worst nightmares, was written by best selling author Geoff Thompson, based on his experience of working the door in Coventry.
Staring Ray Winstone as the doorman, Bouncer is a violent, darkly lit film with a striking performance that instantly wins over the viewer's sympathy.
It was shot on location in Coventry last year and was directed by Natasha Carlish and Michael Baig Clifford, a documentary filmmaking duo who are now turning their skills to more drama-led projects.
The third choice plucked from this year's shortlist, The Most Beautiful Man In The World, is the second short film from director, Alicia Duffy and was made possible thanks to funding from the Film Council and a French scheme called Short Channel.
Initially, the idea for this desolate, but moving short was conceived while Duffy and producer, Hugh Welchman were students at the National Film and Television School. It took four years to come to fruition.
Filmed on the Isle of Sheppy, chosen for its bleak open spaces with solitary council estates on the edge of greenfield sites, the location is perfectly suited to the script.
A little girl cycles in circles, absorbed in a repetitive and solitary game. Suddenly a man appears in front of her: a fascinating, enigmatic stranger who pays her attention, until her mother's panic breaks the spell.
This sensitive film with an air of foreboding was shot on widescreen, while the close up shots of the little girl help us to see the world from her height, creating a true sense of intimacy.
Duffy is developing two feature film scripts: one is based on one of her own scripts, and the other is by author Jim McRoberts, who wrote Crow Stone, Duffy's first short film.
Finally, a special mention to Gaelle Denis, who won a Bafta for best animation short for her beautifully crafted story of the Japanese Fish Market in Fish Never Sleep. When Campaign Screen spotted Denis on the Royal College of Art reel to feature in the New Directors special last October, the talented animator had only just graduated with an MA in animation. This is a remarkable leap to recognition in a relatively short space of time for Denis, who has yet to find representation with a film production company.
Other noteworthy animation nominees also featured in Campaign Screen includes Wedding Expresso - Lesley Glaister's comic animation about the trials and tribulations of wedding planning - and Siri Melchior's The Cat Who Was A Dog Inside, featured in this month's Ones to Watch.