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London Film Festival 2020: My Time to Shine Short Films

To read the rest of my London Film Festival coverage, click here.

Some of the categories in the short film section of the London Film Festival has been hit or miss. This is not the case with the My Time to Shine category, in which I liked every single film shown. This is a shining example on why I wanted to create blog posts dedicated to short films: to highlight films that people aren’t hunting out but deserve recognition. I hope people read this post and go away to hunt for these films, as they should be seen. There are six films that I watched in this category, and I will cover all of them here.

Summer Shade (2020)

Summer Shade

IMDB Link: Summer Shade (2020)
Director: Shira Haimovici
Writer: Shira Haimovici
Stars: Netta Roe, Yuli Ildis, Tamuz Levi

Synopsis: A slice of life insight into an Israeli summer day: a 13-year-old redhead runs away towards the magical pond nearby her house. Only that shortly after her arrival, a group of ultra orthodox Hassidic Jews violently kick her out of there.

Whilst it took a while for the short film to move along, I was intrigued by the overall concept of the story. With solid performances throughout, you end up connecting with this young girl and the situation that she finds herself in. This film is so beautifully shot, making the most of the summer weather and gorgeous locations. Well written and captivating, this film is definitely worth checking out.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Shagbands (2020)

Shagbands

IMDB Link: Shagbands (2020)
Director: Luna Carmoon
Stars: Ruby Stokes, Demi Butcher, Leila Katia McCalla

Synopsis: During a sizzling summer in the noughties, a gang of South London schoolgirls face strange sexual awakenings, which culminate in a visceral fate.

When the line-up was announced for the short film selections, this was one I immediately wanted to watch. Not only does Luna Carmoon perfectly capture life as a teen in the noughties, from the bands themselves to smaller references such as the tamagotchis and the Pete Wentz poster, but to capture a teenager’s perception of sexuality during this mature time. This is such a fascinating concept for a story, my only wish was that this could have been longer to give us more time to develop some of the tougher themes of the story. Still, a fantastic flashback to the past and well done across the board.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Panthers (2020)

Panthers

IMDB Link: Panthers (2020)
Director: Erika Sánchez
Writer: Erika Sánchez
Stars: Laia Capdevila, Rimé Kopoboru, Lucrecia Buabaila

Synopsis: Joana and Nina live trapped in the contradictions of female puberty in the first world. Both are women of their time and culture: social networks, immediacy and excesses. Today, Joana has decided to devise a game in which she will involve her friend Nina. That decisive moment of puberty will change something in each of them forever.

This film is bold and unafraid to talk about taboo topics, which I really appreciated. Whilst I found myself disliking the leading characters, it never distracted me from the main story and the struggles of finding femininity. This is a story that is powerful and needed told, and I admire the filmmakers for doing it in such a striking way. This is another short that has so much potential if taken for a feature-length film and given the time to develop the characters further.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
The Name of the Son (2020)

The Name of the Son

IMDB Link: The Name of the Son (2020)
Director: Martina Matzkin
Writer: Martina Matzkin
Stars: Tristán Miranda, Amanda Pérez Berch, Daniel Cabot

Synopsis: Lucho, a 13-year-old trans boy, doesn’t usually share much time with his father. When he goes on holiday with him and his younger sister, the new closeness puts their relationship to the test.

There are still a lacking amount of films talking about transgender rights and the relationships between their family during this time. These are important stories to tell, and this one was just so beautifully done. Not only was this a raw and honest representation of the good and bad of a teen dealing with the process of changing gender with their family, but the filming itself was so beautifully shot. This was a gorgeous short film and I would highly encourage anyone to check it out.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Dungarees (2020)

Dungarees

IMDB Link: Dungarees (2020)
Director: Abel Rubinstein
Writer: Abel Rubinstein
Stars: Pete MacHale, Ludovic Jean-Francios, Atlanta Hayward

Synopsis: A story of young love, as a transgender teen and a cis-gender teen spend their time together on a regular night, doing regular things. Or not.

Back to back stories about transgender, but they both handle the subject completely differently. This is a very quick short film, at only five minutes. However, this is also just as great as the previous film. This story takes a more fun approach to the story, using a bright colour palette to make the visuals come alive. The humour is well done, the story is confident and positive and the performances are great, making these teenagers feel human. I just want so much more from these characters and story.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Buck (2020)

Buck

IMDB Link: Buck (2020)
Directors: Elegance Bratton, Jovan James
Writers: Elegance Bratton, Jovan James
Stars: Malik Shakur, Biko Eisen-Martin, Gabe Peyton

Synopsis: Caught in the throes of a depressive fugue, young Lynn (Shakur) resorts to debauchery to find joy – only to discover that happiness is a much more complicated proposition.

I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen in this film, from start to finish. As with every film I have reviewed here, the stand out aspect was the visuals and cinematography, which is stunning and helps bring the story to life. I do wish the script was tighter, as I found that the arc for Lynn being a little bit thin and disconnected. However, there are some scenes (particularly on the yacht) that are so well done and there are plenty of things to enjoy with this short film.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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