The third annual Southampton International Film Festival welcomed filmmakers from across the globe to showcase their skills this past weekend. Boasting a film from every continent, the SIFF team were proud to present a series of eight short films, all vying for the Best Comedy award at this year’s festival.
2 Birds And A Wrench (dir. Tom Edmunds)
A sleek British crime short showing off a very English sense of humour, with a pair of petty criminals attempting to gain access to a nightclub in order to carry out an unknown job. Director Tom Edmunds laces the tale with twinges of pitch-black humour and some cleverly slotted pop culture references, making for an entertaining twist on the classic caper, with hints of Edgar Wright.
The Fine Print (dir. Zachary Bailess)
A surprisingly heartbreaking tale of a man and the friendship he shares with his hyper-intelligent printer. Packed with witty dialogue and a genuinely affecting narrative, blending the silly and the serious, this is a real contender for the top award. Delightfully bizarre and at the same time, oddly quite subtle.
Things I Have Learned About Sex & Dogs (dir. Janet Duncan)
Told through a series of vignettes, this charming Australian short deals in waves of well-written, wise and hysterically funny romantic advice. Its chirpy disposition and fantastic blend of physical and narrative humour makes for a delightful little journey into the lands of self-help. Guaranteed to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.
Four Tails (dir. Christopher Villiers)
Easily one of the most sophisticated of the shorts on show, this quaint little dramedy follows four friends on their daily dog walks through Hampstead Heath as they discuss the hopes and fears that come with everyday life. Pepped up by some clever fantasy sequences and with a host of TV talent, this is a really rather elegant comedy.
Maybe (dir. John Grey)
The shortest of the lot, capped at just three minutes in length, this is also quite possibly the deepest of the films in the category, plunging into the fantasies of an everyman as he spies an attractive girl at the bus stop. Smart and almost poetic in its approach, this is a tremendously earthy and truthful glimpse into everyday thought with two phenomenal (and silent) leads.
Love And Other Chairs (dir. Christopher Bevan)
Definitely vying for the award for ‘weirdest comedy’, Christopher Bevan’s film follows the horrors a young man faces when he suddenly begins to turn every prospective girlfriend into a household chair. Surreal in its narrative and wickedly funny, this is an oddly rather intelligent and well-sold absurdist tale.
Forget Me Not (dir. Michael Beddoes)
A masterfully approached slow-burner, this one’s all about the gradual reveal and plays with narrative fantastically. A simple tale of a couple visiting a cafe soon balloons into a farce about amnesia and assault with some great laughs and a very clever set-up.
Sophie’s Fortune: The Treasure of Quetzalcoatl (dir. Chris Cronin)
Boasting an extensive cast, top-rate special effects and an extended 30-minute running time, this feels like very much the film to beat. A children’s birthday party soon unfolds into an all-out adventure tale, as an eclectic group of fathers battle it out on an adults-only treasure hunt that dissolves into a series of exaggerated gun-battles, fist-fights and Indiana Jones-style puzzle-solving. Lovingly packed together with a whole host of Hollywood throwbacks, this is a truly thrilling and really quite brutal action-comedy short.