Sharp Shorts Year 1
Running Time: 17mins
Year: 2023

Synopsis: A road trip pushes a dysfunctional family to the brink after their journey descends into a claustrophobic hallucinatory nightmare.


Writer/Director: Simone Smith
Producers: David Neilson and Lewis Wardrop
Executive Producers: Marielle Membreno, Tom Kimberley, Eoin O’ Faolain, Ian Sharp, Des Hamilton and Simone Smith
DOP: Nick Cooke
Editor: Simone SmithSound Design: David Meikle and Simone SmithComposer: David Meikle
Sound Mixer: Patrick Collins
Art Director: Nicola Stead
Production Design: Ursula ClearyCostume Design: Monika LorberHair & Makeup: Laura McGowan and Alba SofiaCasting: Georgia Topley and Des Hamilton

Cast: Fiona O’ Shaughnessy, Andrew Flanagan, Mirren Mack and Stephen McMillan 

Photo credit: Mark Shields and Martin Shields



British Independent Film Awards – BEST BRITISH SHORT FILM LonglistChicago Underground Film Festival – WINNER – Grand Jury AwardArt Film Spirit Awards – WINNER – Best DirectingTorino Underground Cinefest – WINNER – Best FilmTorino Underground Cinefest – WINNER – Best EditingArizona Underground Film Festival – WINNER – Best ExperimentalGlasgow Short Film Festival – WINNER – Jury Special MentionEncounters Film Festival – WINNER – UK Award Special MentionInterfilm Berlin – WINNER – Best Sound DesignSin City Horror Fest – WINNER – Best EditingMetropolis Film Festival – WINNER – Best SoundtrackSi-Fan Festival – WINNER – Best Scottish FilmFinal Girls Berlin – WINNER – Best Midnight Movie



“Both otherworldly yet uncannily familiar to anyone who has been stuck on an endless car journey with their family to the absolute nether regions of the UK.” – Director’s Notes

“The small details might include the tape on the tape-deck and the tape within the tape-deck but the big loud details include a quantity of effing and geoffing that sits somewhere between Tarantino and Scotland.”-  Eye for Film

“The gnarliest Scottish film of the year.” – The Skinny

“Arthouse horror at its best – a compelling watch.” – Bloody Flicks


About Simone Smith

Simone Smith is a self-taught BAFTA New Talent award-winning filmmaker who grew up in the east end of Glasgow, grafting in varying roles from trader at The Barras, to hotel chambermaid to casino croupier, before eventually following her curiosity for art, film and yogic philosophy.

In 2008, she established herself in Glasgow’s club scene as a VJ, projecting live visual art around Scotland’s top clubs and music festivals, including The Arches, T-in-the-Park and Wickerman, vj’ing alongside legendary DJs such as Andrew Weatherall and Radioactive Man. She simultaneously worked up the ladder from Runner to self-shooting Director at BBC Scotland, where she refined her craft in production. Her love for working with actors led her to study physical theatre practice and travel to New York to work with experimental theatre collective The Wooster Group, founded by Elizabeth LeCompte and Willem Dafoe.

Since then, she has become a devoted mum to her 4 year old son Max, and has written and directed short films which fuse pure cinema with authentic experience—translating her experience of living in the world into form. Independently made on zero to low budgets, her films have been described as “surreal poetry”, and “raw and unconventional”, and screened at multiple Oscar, Bafta and Bifa qualifying festivals, including Edinburgh International Film Festival, Hollyshorts, BFI London, Beyond Fest, Aesthetica, and Encounters.

Her short film SLAP was BAFTA-nominated and won Jury Special Mention at Glasgow Short Film Festival where “the Jury was struck by the work of this director who is pursuing her own sensory style in design and narration.” SLAP was also hailed by BFI’s Sight and Sound Magazine as an “impressionistic knockout”, and voted top-pick by Eden Court at Inverness Film Festival “It settles deep under the skin. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.” Her short RED won a BAFTA New Talent Award and was praised as “Very original” by Stanley Kubrick’s producer, Jan Harlen, and “a true work of art” by Ain’t It Cool News. THE RINSING was broadcast on Channel 4’s Random Acts, and won the Best Film award at London’s Shorts On Tap.

Simone’s latest short film THE MöBIUS TRIP was supported by Short Circuit/BFI-Network, and is now in the festival circuit, premiering at the Glasgow Short Film Festival and winning another Jury Special Mention Award praised for its “radicalism” and “strong and adventurous cinematic vision.” Since then, it has gone onto screen at 40+ festivals worldwide and won multiple awards, including the UK Special Mention at Encounters, Best Film at Torino Underground, Best Midnight Movie at Final Girls Berlin, the Grand Jury Award at Chicago Underground Film Festival, and made the prestigious BIFA-longlist for Best British Short Film.

Simone is an EIFF Talent Lab participant of 2019, a BFI Network@LFF participant for 2023, and is the Shadow Director on Bafta-winner John Maclean’s second feature film, TORNADO,with cinematography by Oscar-nominated Robbie Ryan. She has two feature films in development with BFI Network and Screen Scotland: IT’S TOO LATE YOU CAN’T SAVE ME and UNTIL SHE BLEEDS.

“My work is a constant work-in-progress where I aspire to explore freely through instinct, and without any kind of pre-conception the construction of the still and moving image. I follow my instincts and emotions, expressing what I can’t not express. It is animal, intimate, instinctive, a place to be both violent and tender, a diary of visual exercises with multiple interpretations, a spiritual place.”

Simone is represented by Rowena Wallace at PEACH HOUSE.


About White Stag Films

White Stag Films is spearheaded by Dave Neilson and Lewis Wardrop. Between them they have a rich variety of industry experience across development, production and financing. Based in Edinburgh our vision is to bring all of our industry, business and creative experience together to make White Stag Films a leading company in the production of unique, memorable and original film and television content.Dave Neilson is a producer with over 20 years’ experience who set up Filming Scotland one of Scotland’s most successful commercial production companies that has produced award winning international commercials and content for global brands working with A-list talent from all over the world.Lewis Wardrop has been working in the industry for over 10 years, during which time he has worked across the locations and production departments on some of the biggest films and high-end TV projects to shoot in Scotland. He is now developing feature projects with funders including Screen Scotland and Film4.White Stag Films was founded in 2019 and since then the company has produced a number of award-winning short films which have played and won awards at key international film festivals. They have a diverse slate of feature and TV projects, working with some of the best writers and directors across a number of genres.