Animation Q&A Today 4PM (BST)

We’ve already heard some fascinating insights from our Documentary, Fiction, and Experimental Directors over the last few days and today promises to be no different. Join us over at our YouTube channel at 4 PM (BST) when the filmmakers from this year’s Animation strand will reveal more about their inspirations, creative processes, and how they use animation to deal with an aide range of subjects.

Don’t forget, you can also watch both of our previous Q&A sessions and make sure you also join us tomorrow at 4 PM (BST) for the big one – the 2023 LJMU MA Short Film Festival Awards Ceremony!

Fiction/Experimental Q&A 4PM (BST) Today!

On Saturday we caught up with some of the filmmakers featured in this year’s Documentary strand and today it’s the turn of Fiction/Experimental. This year’s festival is the first to feature an Experimental strand so we’re excited to hear about what inspires and motivates these boundary-pushing artists. The 2023 Fiction strand is incredibly competitive this year and features some of the strongest work we’ve ever received. We’ll be joined by our Fiction filmmakers who will be giving us an insight into the development and execution of their artistic vision. Join us at 4 PM (BST) today over on our YouTube channel to meet this year’s contributors.

Festival Goes Live and Documentary Q&A Tomorrow!

We’re incredibly proud to announce that the 2023 edition of the LJMU MA Short Film Festival is now open, with all 42 films across our four strands of Fiction, Animation, Documentary, & Experimental, available to watch online until Friday 31st March. This year, we’re showcasing an amazing selection of films from some of the most talented emerging student filmmakers from across the globe.

As well as competing for the Paper Bird Award in their own strand, all of this year’s filmmakers will also be vying for the much sought-after Audience Award Paper Bird, the winner of which is decided by you, the viewer. Simply watch this year’s entries and when you are certain which is your favourite, head back to that film’s page and click on the green ‘thumbs-up’ icon to register your vote (which can be found just below the video player).

You’ve got until 3 PM (BST) on Friday 31st March to register your vote, so don’t delay -get watching today!

Documentary Q&A

Coming up tomorrow, we’ve also got the first of this year’s Live Q&As, where we’ll be hearing from some of the documentary filmmakers whose work features in this year’s festival. Our hosts will be asking questions about their influences, aspirations, and of course, their films. We’ll also be fielding audience questions via our YouTube channel, so head there right now to set a reminder for tomorrow’s Q&A.

It’s an incredibly busy time here at the LJMU MA Short Film Festival and we’ll be ramping up our activity on our social media channels and on the website. We hope you enjoy our programme for this year and don’t forget to leave a comment after watching the films. Happy viewing!

It’s Almost Time – LJMU MA Short Film Festival 2023

Launching Tomorrow!

We’re fast approaching the launch of this year’s LJMU MA Short Film Festival, with less than 24 hours to go! This time tomorrow, you’l be able to watch all of the 42 incredible films from our Fiction, Animation, Documentary, and Experimental strands.

All 42 films will be available to watch on our website until Friday 31st March, so there’s plenty of time to explore this year’s programme. Once you’ve watched, feel free to let us know what you thought, either by commenting, or heading over to one of our social media channels.

As well as vying for this year’s Paper Bird Awards, one film will also receive the audience choice award, and this is where you, the viewer, can make a difference – we’ll be revealing more about this very shortly, so keep your eyes peeled for more information.

Behind The Scenes

With less than a week until the launch of the 2023 edition, we thought we’d give you a look at what’s been taking place behind the scenes of this year’s LJMU MA Short Film Festival, beginning with the design of our festival poster.

Back in November 2022, we gave the students the opportunity to propose ideas for the poster of the 3rd Edition. The brief was flexible, with the only stipulations being consistency in terms of colour scheme and that the poster should also feature the iconic liver bird and Liverpool skyline. The proposals we received all focused on one defining element: the filmmaker. With this in mind, we needed to find models for this year’s poster and managed to enlist the help of current MA student, Phillip Cole, and 2022 graduate and all-around graphic design genius, Alejandra Cardona-Mayorga, both of whom took the lead on creating the poster.

The poster photo shoot, featuring Alejandra and Phil

This wasn’t the only photo shoot we’ve had, however, and in February 2023, the students also had the opportunity to strike a pose! Group and individual shots were captured by another of this year’s multi-talented students, Lauren Wright, whose photography skills have been put to good use across the website and our social media. Having pictures of the students is incredibly important, as it allows site visitors to put faces to names, while also ensuring that the students are recognised for their hard work.

Lauren, hard at work capturing our Fiction and Experimental programmers

Our MA Students exploring film festivals in an academic context

For the judging process of the LJMU MA Short Film Festival, we employ a mix of academics, industry professionals, and current undergrad LJMU students. This mix of disciplines allows us to also draw from the expertise of our industry and academic jurors, and the students have been lucky enough to hear from three this year.

Alice Miller is a film programmer for the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, as well as the Leeds International Film Festival, and gave the students a detailed insight into the processes behind selecting and exhibiting for festivals and themed programmes.

Roderick Charles Smits is a postdoctoral research fellow at University Carlos III Madrid, and specialises in alternative, specifically online methods of distribution, and gave the students an insight into his research on the impact of Covid on film festivals and the shift to online exhibition.

Raluca Iacob is a purchaser at Lightdox, a distributor focusing specifically on documentary filmmaking, and shared first-hand the processes behind distributing films across multiple territories and purchasing at festivals across Europe. The combined expertise of our three guest contributors has allowed our MA Students to understand the many complexities of contemporary film festivals.

This year’s festival is the culmination of several months of hard work from our MA Students – we’re almost at the point where we can also reveal the hard work of the student filmmakers featured in this year’s programme. Keep an eye on our socials for more information in the coming weeks.

Introducing This Year’s Jury

With just over a week left until this year’s festival begins, it’s time to introduce the individuals that will be selecting the winning films: the 2023 jury. The jury has been compiled from a range of academic & industry backgrounds, along with former recipients of the Paper Bird and final-year film & creative writing students from Liverpool John Moores University.

This year we’ve enlisted the expertise of 13 jurors, which is our biggest-ever jury. Across the categories of Fiction, Animation, Documentary, and Experimental, our jurors will be watching and discussing this year’s programme, before deciding which films are worthy of being awarded the Paper Bird.

The Fiction jury features Alice Miller, PhD student and festival programmer for Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, Oleksandra Konoplia, filmmaker and winner of the 2022 Paper Bird for Fiction with her film You Are a Fool, Lisa, and third-year LJMU students Oli Bridges & Molly McGill who both have a passion for writing.

The Documentary jury includes Raluca Iacob, a purchaser at documentary sales & distribution agency Lightdox, Rosa Fong, an award-winning filmmaker and academic, and finally third-year film student Marnie Thornton, who has an interest in practical filmmaking.

The Animation jury is made up of Roderick Charles Smits, a PostDoc Fellow whose research interests address online platforms and film circulation, Péter Bogyó, previous winner of the Paper Bird for best Animation for his film, The Pattern, and James Sharp, a final-year LJMU Film student with a keen interest in film criticism.

The Experimental jury features Lars Koens, sound designer, experimental filmmaker, and senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, Phoebe Harrison, a final-year LJMU Film Studies student with interests in cinematography and screenwriting, and Ethan Bloor, a final-year LJMU Film Studies student with a keen interest in directing and writing.

With 42 films across the four strands, our jury has a lot of work to do before deciding on this year’s winning films. Soon, you’ll also be able to decide which is your favourite, when we release this year’s programme of films on Friday 24th March.

LJMU MA Short Film Festival on BBC Radio Merseyside!

We’re delighted to announce that this Saturday (11th March) morning at 10:30 AM, Shannon & Sian, two of our amazing MA students wil be joining Sean Styles live on BBC Radio Merseyside.

With only two weeks reamaining until we reveal this year’s films, tune-in to hear Shannon and Sian discuss their roles and responsilbilities, and learn a little about what it’s like to organise a global film festival. Both Shannon and Sian have had a wide range of responsibilities, contacting filmmakers, the press, and ensuring that our social media presence is always up-to-date, bringing you the most exciting developments. We’ll also be sharing some behind the scenes content on our social media platforms, so make sure you subscribe, folow, and like to find out more.

This is one you won’t want to miss, so make sure you’re listening to BBC Radio Merseyside this Saturday morning to find out more about the incredible work our students are doing on the 2023 LJMU MA Short Film Festival.

Festival Trailer 2023

42 Films – 19 Countries – 1 Week

Join us from the 24th – 31st March for a week-long celebration of some of the newest and brightest student filmmaking talent. Our overall Festival Trailer offers a glimpse of the full programme and is the creation of our multi-talented MA student, Magic Nowak. In less than 3 weeks time, all 42 of this year’s featured films will be available to watch online.

In addition to the Paper Bird awards for Fiction, Animation, Documentary, and Experimental, all 42 films will be competing for the Audience award, so it’s important that as well as watching, you’re also commenting and liking!

Keep an eye on our social media channels this week, as we’ll soon be introducing you to this year’s jury, which features a selection of industry professionals, students, and former festival winners. It’s shaping up to be a remarkable event, so make sure you’re with us all of the way!

2023 Experimental Trailer Reveal

Our fourth trailer release of 2023 takes us to the boundaries of cinematic experimentation, featuring a selection of films that challenge ideas of narrative and style. Experimental is a brand new category for this year’s festival and showcases 5 unique approaches to filmmaking. The trailer is the second created by MA student James Roberts, who also created the trailer for the Fiction strand.

With the release of today’s trailer, we’ve reached the point where this year’s programme of films has been announced in full, but the doesn’t mean we’re done with the surprises… To find out more about this year’s festival and to stay up-to-date with all of our announcements and features, make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

2023 Fiction Trailer Reveal

It’s a hat-trick of trailer releases! Today we are incredibly proud to present this year’s Fiction programme trailer, featuring 10 tales of loss, regret, and self-discovery. This year’s trailer was created by MA Film student James Roberts, who was also part of the programming team for our final category: Experimental.

Competition in the 2023 Fiction category was extremely competitive with a staggering amount of submissions to the Festival, but the programmers were in agreeance that these 10 films each offer something unique in terms of narrative and technical excellence. No doubt the trailer has built your anticipation, so the good news is that there are only 3 weeks left to wait until the festival begins! All of our Fiction films, along with Animation, Documentary, and Experimental will be available to watch online from Friday 24th March.

2023 Documentary Trailer Reveal

After yesterday’s debut of our incredible trailer for the Animation strand of the Festival, it’s time for the Documentary filmmakers to take the spotlight! This year’s programme covers a diverse range of challenging and enlightening topics, offering audiences the chance to encounter new stories from across the globe.

If you want to see the full versions of the fantastic stories featured in the trailer, you’ll have to wait a little while longer – we’ll have everything ready to view on the website (along with out Fiction, Experimental, & Animation programmes) on Friday 24th March. For now, head on over to our Documentary page and take a look at the full list of entries.

2023 Animation Trailer Reveal

We tried to hold back but we just couldn’t keep it a secret any longer! Today marks the release of the 2023 Animation Trailer, featuring the work of talented filmmakers all the way from Bristol to Budapest, and beyond! The trailer was created by Lauren Wright, one of our super-talented MA Students.

The full list of selections can be found on our Animation page, but you’ll have to be patient for a little longer if you want to watch them – they’ll be available (Along with Documentary, Fiction, and Experimental) when the Festival gets underway on Friday 24th March.

We’re Back!

2023 Edition

24th – 31st March

After what seems like a lifetime, we’re finally back with the third edition of the LJMU MA Short Film Festival. It’s been tough keeping everything under wraps but thankfully, we’ll soon be able to reveal all, including this year’s jury, the trailers, and of course, the long awaited announcement of the 2023 programme!

As always, we’ll be showcasing the films of some of the most talented student filmmakers from across the globe, working in fiction, documentary, and animation. This year, we also have an additional surprise that will be revealed soon… For more on this and other festival news, keep up to date with our socials on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn.

2023 Festival Poster Reveal!

As the festival draws ever closer, we’re proud to reveal the official poster for the 2023 edition. This year, we’re placing the focus firmly on the filmmaker, as we’re getting ready to showcase the work of some of the most talented, emerging student filmmakers from across the globe.

As in previous years, the Liverpool skyline features predominantly, punctuated by a striking image of a supermoon, captured by Dr Keith Marley. The poster is the creation of the incredibly talented interdisciplinary artist and former MA Student, Alejandra Cardona-Mayorga, who, along with current MA Student Phillip Cole, was also gracious enough to pose for the poster. We’d love to hear your thoughts about this year’s design, so why not leave us a comment?

More of Alejandra’s work can be found at her website – https://alejart.myportfolio.com

New Festival Coordinator

Photo by Georgia Flynn

We’re pleased to announce that Martin L. Jones has been appointed as the new Film Festival Coordinator and Tutor for the LJMU MA Short Film Festival. As a filmmaker and academic, Martin is keen to utilise his current experience to help guide the festival through its third edition and beyond.

Martin, Lydia, and the MA students are all hard at work behind the scenes as the as the 2023 edition of the festival draws nearer. Keep an eye out on our social media, as we’ll soon be releasing some exciting information about this year’s Festival poster!

Submissions for the 2023 LJMU MA Film Festival are now closed.

After receiving over 1400 entries from almost 100 countries, our students are now hard at work deliberating and cogitating. Keep an eye on social media for further announcements, and we look forward to seeing you in March for the 3rd edition of the LJMU MA Film Festival!

Now Taking Submissions For The 2023 LJMU MA Short Film Festival!

Last year, we received a staggering number of submissions that showcased the filmmaking talents of students from almost 100 countries! Not that we’re greedy, but this year, we want to see even more of your work – as such, we’re excited to announce that submissions are now being accepted for the 2023 edition of the LJMU MA Short Film Festival.

Submissions are open to students and alumni from ANY institution of higher learning and/or film school, provided the film submitted was made as part of their student work, was completed after January 2020, and is a maximum of 20 minutes in length.

We’re really excited to see what you’ve been working on! Click on the link above to submit your film or head over to https://filmfreeway.com/ljmumashortfilmfestival – happy submitting!

Festival Closed: Audience Award Goes To…

It’s been an amazing week at the 2nd LJMU MA Film Festival that saw over 16,000 visits to our website to watch all our amazing films, participate in our live Q&A sessions, and attend our award ceremony.

We can’t thank you all enough for making the festival so successful and we can not emphasise enough what it means to the filmmakers to have their work viewed by audiences from quite literally around the world – those 16k views came from 45 different countries!

Graphic courtesy of WordPress

And of course those visitors were also voting for their favourite film! We used a website called crowdsignal to help us track the votes and this allowed us to do something very important in the interests of fairness – we could compare number of votes to number of individual voters through IP address.

As we stated on the website, films should only have been voted for once. We know how exciting it is and how much people want to support these filmmakers but we’ve taken the decision to count only one vote per voter. So with that in mind, the winner is…

13 Hertz! With an astounding 300 individual votes, 13 Hertz is the clear audience favourite and it’s no surprise. A visually stunning and emotive piece, told almost entirely through imagery, 13 Hertz uses mise-en-scène and editing with sophisticated intensity.

Thank you again to our filmmakers and audience and a special thank you from Jacqui & Lydia to the MA Film students for doing such a fabulous job! Looking forward to seeing you next year!

Did you enjoy the festival? Tell us in the comments!

Award Winners Announced!

Today we held a live awards ceremony on zoom/YouTube with our jury members and filmmakers to announce the winners in our Paper Bird Categories for Animation, Documentary, and Fiction!

(Don’t worry if you missed it, you can always catch the ceremony again on our YouTube channel)

We’re very proud to announce that the following films have been given Paper Bird Awards and even more proud to mention that the categories were all very tight and the jurors made a specific note of what a great selection of films from across the globe we had!

The awards themselves have been 3D printed for us by the ever-talented Ivan Mack, who also helped refine our design for the awards! His expertise really helped take the design from “impossible” to the reality we have now!

Paper Bird Award for Best Fiction

2022 Paper Bird Award in Best Fiction goes to Well, You Are A Fool Lisa by Oleksandra Konoplia. From the jury:

Oleksandra Konoplia’s Well, You Are A Fool Lisa is the wonderfully witty and whip-smart winner of the Paper Bird Fiction Film Award. An unapologetic expression of the often unrealistic expectations and disappointing realities of early sexual experiences, the kitsch mise-en-scene and bold composition ironically reference archetypal rom-coms of the 1980’s & 1990’s. The film’s fantastical daydream sequences speak to a naive romantic outlook, undercut by Lisa’s alienation, and through tightly cut, energetic performances, Konoplia creates a distinctive aesthetic which encourages discussion around these complex issues. An outstanding student film.”

Honourable mention in this category was also given to Traffic Lights Islom Rustam o’g’li Riskulov.

“The Jury would like to offer a special mention to Traffic lights by Islom Rustam o’g’li Riskulov, as we were struck by the powerful integrity and social conscience at the very core of this work. The nuanced ways in which the film offers us a portal into the lives of young people on the margins of society in Uzbekistan was both deeply moving, and sketched with exquisite care and compassion.”

Best Animated Film

2022 Paper Bird Award in Best Animation goes to The Pattern by Peter Bogyo!

The Pattern, for its distinctive and clever design, its original and polished generation of three different worlds, each built in a unique style that nevertheless chimes with a consistent whole: this is an entertaining film whose surreal, complex story is laced with subtle humour and enhanced by an atmospheric soundtrack.”

Our animation jury awarded not one but two honourable mentions!

Reduction by Réka Anna Szakály, for its truly beautiful design of a post-apocalyptic world, in which a friendship between two characters through unspoken emotions and gestures; this is a provocative and mysterious film that thrives in its own ambiguities.”

Subway by Robert Kuźniewski, for its delicate and finely crafted use of light and colour, its excellent expansion of clay animation’s possibilities, the detail of its characters and the humour and tension with which it paints a bitter social metaphor.”

Best Documentary

Last but definitely not least, the 2022 Paper Bird Award in Best Documentary has gone to Milo by Nadia Szymańska!

“With confident cinematography, a satisfying direct cinema sensibility, and a mature humanistic approach, director Nadia Szymańska offers audiences an honest depiction of single motherhood and a celebration of the quotidian in her arresting debut Milo. Carefully toeing the line between the perspectives of mother and child, Szymańska never takes sides, rather expressing immense empathy for both experiences, and is comfortable presenting difficult material without resorting to didacticism. It’s a film that allows us to re-experience adolescent wonder while recontextualizing that feeling by showcasing the labor that allows it to flourish. The jury greatly looks forward to the next work from Szymańska.”

They have also awarded honourable mention to Behind the Jugular by Zoë Armit!

Audience Award

Don’t forget, there is still time to vote for your favourite film to win our audience award! This will close at 2pm British Summer Time on Friday 8th April.

Thank you to all the filmmakers and jury members! What do you think of our winners? Tell us in the comments!

2022 Festival Now Open!

You’ve been waiting patiently and it’s finally here! The 2022 LJMU MA Short Film Festival is now open! Use the links below to view the 39 stunning student films we’ve selected for you from across the globe:

And don’t forget! We’ll be holding live Q&A’s with some of the filmmakers. First up is our Documentary Q&A on Saturday April 2nd at 4pm. We’ll be broadcasting right to YouTube at the link below, so don’t forget to subscribe!

We then have the Animation Q&A on Monday April 4th at 4pm, followed by the Fiction Q&A on Tuesday April 5th at 4pm. Subscribe to our youtube channel so you don’t miss us going live.

And don’t forget to participate in our Audience Award! Look for the following symbol on each film’s individual page:

Simply click this to register your vote for this film. You can only vote once per film but feel free to vote on as many films as you want!

Have you had a chance to watch some of the films? Tell us what you think in the comments!