In Numbers

With over 2000 visitors from 47 countries, the first edition of the LJMU MA Short Film Festival exceeded our expectations. In addition to this, we received very positive feedback: from filmmakers, calling it very well organised; from audiences, who were surprised by the high quality of the films; and from our MA in Film students, who enjoyed the module on film festival research in which the festival was a significant factor. Some of our students have expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the festival industry, whilst others felt inspired creatively by the many films they watched during the selection process.

Visitors and Viewers per Day

Figure 1 below first of all shows the “eventness” of the festival, since website visitors and views clearly peaked during those dates (16-23 April). In particular, the opening weekend was well attended, perhaps owing to the newness of the festival and the Q&As. On Saturday alone we received over 500 festival attendees. Whilst Sunday saw a decline, the very well attended Fiction Q&A reinvigorated the festival, as we hosted 10 filmmakers. The Awards (both jury awarded Paper Bird and the Audience Award) will have sustained interest on top of the films alone. Furthermore, our programme release on the 1st of April is visible as a bump in the chart. The subsequent social media campaign, which consisted mainly of videos from filmmakers introducing themselves and their films, also attracted visitors in the lead up to the event.

Fig. 1 Visitors and Viewers per Day.
International Reach

Additionally, the numbers reveal a significant international reach, with visitors from 47 countries, covering all the continents of the world except Antarctica (not monitored). As the hosting country, it is not surprising that most visitors were based in the UK, see Figure 2 and the table below.

Fig. 2 Map of Viewers.

Beyond this, however, there are many surprises. We curated two Turkish films, one of which, Lost Ore Abdurrahim, was very popular and won the Audience Award. Interestingly, we also screened two Iranian films, but only recorded one visitor. This can partly be explained from the ban on Facebook and other social media in certain countries. Website views from Bangladesh are again explained from one film, in this case The Endless Circle. Polish attendance (#4) can be explained from the presence of a number of Polish films in the festival. The filmmakers also attended the Q&As and two Polish filmmakers won a Paper Bird Award: Blue Monday and End of the World. At the start, we had not expected such a strong Polish presence, and it even seems like a positive bias. Somehow the Polish films were deemed of high quality by our programmers, the MA in Film students, which was further acknowledged by the jury, none of whom were Polish (neither do we have Polish students). The Paper Bird Award for documentary went to Rain Pot, which perhaps explains the US on number 5, noting that the US filmmaker Rayna Buxton (Fáros) also attended the Q&A. Greece and the Netherlands showed significant interest, likely owing to the nationalities of the main organisers. Italy’s interest is less obvious, but could perhaps be explained from our Italian MA in Film student who may have raised awareness of the festival in her home country. (If so, well done Valeria!)

To conclude, the LJMU MA Short Film Festival is a relatively small festival with only one edition to date. Yet, these numbers already show a global reach underpinned by a complexity of factors, which will support and guide us as we plan for the Second Edition of the LJMU MA Short Film Festival in 2022.

1United Kingdom5896
5United States623
21Puerto Rico32
25South Korea16
38South Africa4
39Czech Republic3
Views per Country

Paper Bird Awards

Congratulations to the Paper Bird Award winners!

FictionEnd of the WorldKarol Ulman
AnimationBlue MondayKatarzyna Orłowska
DocumentaryRain PotGordon Moore
2021 Winners

Highlights of the ceremony:

Award Ceremony – Highlights
Jury statements

Fiction: “An introspective view into the concept of mortality and the relationships formed through loss. The film is at once concrete and abstract. A maturely charged script convincingly carrying the weight of universal questions. The secluded setting lends itself perfectly to the often-isolating feeling of grief, highlighting loss as one of the few things that connects people of all ages. An intriguing narrative carried confidently by two mesmerising performances. Creative filmmaking, captivating cinematography and a joy to watch.

Animation: “The artistry of this film is apparent from its opening frame, with the meticulous use of oil paint creating a beautifully haunting image of contemporary society. Each carefully placed brush stroke lends itself to the monotonous rhythm of daily life, but the fluidity of colour, texture and movement allows us to break free of this cycle, with seamless transitions from the overwhelming pressures of modern life to the freedom of the natural world reflecting an innate desire for escape. Despite its short duration, this film leaves you contemplating your own perceptions of life and freedom, proving the impact this animation has both as a film, and a piece of art.

Documentary: “Rain Pot is a beautifully crafted documentary. The film’s exquisite cinematography and atmospheric sound design perfectly capture the artistry of the ceramicist. Moore has created an eloquent audio-visual poem, that is both enticing and evocative.

Q&A Fiction

Here is yesterday’s recording of the fiction Q&A, hosted by Connor Norcott. Thanks to everyone for a great turnout!

Filmmakers: Aleksei Borovikov (One More Please), Andy Heath & John Tod (This Place), Laury Herubel (Trashbag), Leonard Mink & cinematographer Julian Zalac (Flicker), Michał Piotrowski (Lolo), Joanna Różniak (Helena 25/65), Karol Ulman & cinematographer Maksymilian Plater (End of the World)

Fiction Q&A

BBC Radio Merseyside

Today in our online class we tuned into BBC Radio Merseyside to listen to our MA in Film students Katherine Morrison and Cammy Glover discussing the LJMU MA Short Film Festival with Helen Jones! Big thanks to the BBC and of course Katherine and Cammy who did an amazing job!

Click on this link or the image to listen to the recording on BBC Sounds. It starts at about 20 minutes into the interview.