Programme Picks from Francesca Rudkin

This month, we’re taking a step away from our regular Screening Room offering and handing the reigns to film and music reviewer (Rialto Channel, NZ Herald, Breakfast TV, Good Morning) and Show Me Shorts ambassador Francesca Rudkin as she discusses three of her favourite films featured in this year’s festival.

Short films are like an addiction – one is just never enough. They don’t require a huge commitment to watch, and yet a well-crafted short film offers a creative, articulate and fully formed story that’s emotionally satisfying and entertaining. I’m constantly amazed at how a short film can drawn you in, and how, in such a short space of time, a skillful director can share so much about a character’s past, present and future.

As you’d expect of a festival of this caliber, an impressive collection of short films are on show at the 2015 Show Me Shorts Film Festival, and here are just a few highlights that have fed my addiction nicely.


Screening as part of the Aroha Aotearoa session

Everything about this short film is meticulous and classy, from the cinematography and succinct storytelling, to the captivating performance by Tina Cleary as a woman at a cross road in her life. Directed by Jamie Lawrence (Somewhere Only We Know), Cub tells the story of solo mother Lynn (Cleary), who lives for her rugby obsessed son Shaun (Kieran Charnock).

When Lynn discovers 16 year old Shaun has an older girlfriend and is thinking of moving out, Lynn must find the right balance between her need and her love for her son. Cub is filled with anxiety, awkwardness and upheaval, and yet it’s eminently watchable and ultimately hopeful. Cub is a perfect example of a director using every moment wisely as they tell a story.


Screening as part of the My Generation session

Effie Pappa is a Greek filmmaker who has been based in London since graduating from the UK National Film & Television School in 2014. Her film My Stuffed Granny is a stop motion animation based on a story by Nina Kouletakis, and tells of a small family’s struggle to get by during the current Greek economic crisis. It’s a story about greed, hunger, and the extent people will go to when under pressure to survive.

Thanks to a delightful narration from a naïve young girl called Sophia (voiced by Pappa) this film also comes with a tragi-comical tone. Pappa has added to the charm of this rustic animation by setting it in the similarly depressed Post-War era. It took three months to shoot, and the result is a gorgeous, warm and funny folktale that addresses life’s ups and downs in a unique way. It’s been hugely successful- winning awards at film festivals around the world, including the 2014 McLaren award for Best British Animation, so don’t miss this opportunity to see it on the big screen.


Screening as part of the My Generation and Highlights sessions

I love this story about a young boy who decides to live his life a bit differently, and then goes about making it happen. After playing on stilts as a young boy, Percival Pilts declares he’ll “never again let his feet touch the ground!” As you can imagine, this makes life tough for his parents and his brother, especially as the stilts get taller and taller.

You can see the love that’s gone into this animation by directors Janette Goodey and John Lewis, and you may need to view the film more than once to appreciate the detail. Stylistically, it’s beautiful, with stop motion animation that reminds my six year old of her Oliver Jeffers’ books. This imaginative and thoughtful film also features a pitch perfect narration by Mark Hadlow, and is a truly memorable film indeed.

The 10th edition of the Show Me Shorts Film Festival opens November 11 in Auckland at the grand old Civic. Catch these impressive shorts and many more across the country. For more information be sure to check out our programme.