Best Short Film Commission went to director Richard Gosling for Baby Bird. The film tells the tale of eight-year old Arthur and his attempt to nurture the abandoned bird egg he has discovered. The film combined live action with beautifully executed animation sequences, showing Arthur’s fantasies for the lives of the birds and depicting his anxieties and need for redemption. The Audience Award, voted for by the public throughout all of the festival screenings was won by Luke Jeffery, director of bursary commissioned film Seeing Red.
New to Two Short Nights this year was a documentary theme, which saw a collection of International Short Documentaries screened on Friday 12th December, along with The Live Pitch for the new Exeter Phoenix Digital Documentary Short Commission, supported by Colourburn. Panel member and festival sponsor Damo Cross commented that ‘The standards of the proposals pitched for the new documentary commission were all very high, demonstrating the amazing array of creative short film activity in and around Exeter.’ Congratulations to Amanda Whittington who fought it out to win this commission with her proposal for Jab Jab, a revisit of the sound, experiences and relationships of the high energy British black band that performed in the 1970’s. The Best Documentary award went to Born to be Mild directed by Andy Oxley for his comedic documentary depicting the activities of The Dull Men’s Club.
An incredible 400 short films were submitted for this year’s International Shorts Screenings meaning there were three separate showings comprising over twenty short films. Competition for the International Open Award was high but ultimately I am Sami was chosen from a plethora of possible worthy winners.
The 48 Hour Film Challenge saw a host of teams write, shoot and edit films in only two days, within the theme of ‘Myths and Legends’. Team No Egos won the Best 48 Hour Film award for The Snug. Phoenix Digital Film Coordinator Ali Pym said, ‘This year’s 48 Hour Film Challenge was the most tricky to date, demanding a high level of creativity from filmmakers using a music track as the prop. The teams certainly stepped up to the challenge, providing a wide range of interpretations of the brief. Thanks go out to Drunk with Joy for supplying the track ‘Strangers in the Making’ for this year’s brief.’
The physical awards presented to the winners lived up to creative expectation this year, being designed through a £1000 artists commission supported by Exeter Phoenix Digital, Colourburn and IdeasTap. They were created by artist Bethan Highgate-Betts, who used 3D printing and electronics to make the awards that project light, glow in the dark and display stills of the winning film.
Jonas Hawkins, Exeter Phoenix Digital Media Manager said, ‘It was great to see new elements to Two Short Nights this year. The Live Pitch for our new documentary commission gave filmmakers a fantastic opportunity to present their work and gain insight into industry processes.’ Returning for its 13th year, the Two Short Nights Festival is an event that enjoys strong support from local film enthusiasts. The different screenings, commissions and seminars provide vital opportunities to local filmmakers.