Finding the best way to describe the entirety of one’s programming is a tall order; hence I will attempt it in numbers: 397 films viewed, 48 films selected, of which 32 are fiction, 9 animated films, 7 documentaries… Except that numbers merely serve as a ‘straitjacket’ creating meaningless categories. In fact, animation lends itself equally to fiction as to documentary and you will discover a selection of genres as improbable as a science-fiction rom-com, an animated opera drawn in charcoal, a Christmas thriller and an experimental documentary about a peaceful flock of sheep. See what I mean?
To hell with numbers and categories! All you need to know for 2022 is that cinematographic creation from across the channel is alive and kicking. At its base, British film is a cinematic art anchored in real life, able to study, observe, dissect, denounce or mock the slightest nuances as well as dramatic upheavals of society. In terms of form, shorts have the most freedom: not tethered by commercial distribution chains and free from exterior pressures, filmmakers can express themselves on any subject - from the most intimate to the most universal – exploring all formats. For our enjoyment as much as their filmmakers, shorts can thumb their nose at these creative constraints, which neatly brings me back to my initial ‘straitjacket’ metaphor (now thrown off) and I hope a successful description of this year’s programme.
I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to the team at This is England who put their trust in me with the programme and gave me carte blanche in its curation. It is with great pride (and a few butterflies) that I unveil it today.
Finally, I want to thank and congratulate the selected films’ production teams, in eager anticipation of doing it in ‘real life’ during November 12-20th.