We are excited to unveil the selection of six films set to come to life through our short film initiative, Sharp Shorts. Each of these projects will receive up to £25,000 to bring their cinematic vision to the screen.

The Sharp Shorts scheme aims to identify and support through training, 1-2-1 meetings, funding and mentoring the most exciting filmmaking talent in Scotland in the early stages of their career. 

In April 2023, we extended an invitation to writers, writer/directors, and filmmaking teams comprising writers, directors, and producers to submit one-page outlines of their innovative short film concepts for the fourth iteration of Sharp Shorts. 12 ideas were selected to take part in further development, supported by industry experts and the Short Circuit Talent Executives, to take their project from idea to script.

In early October 2023, the 12 teams pitched their project to a panel that was formed by Short Circuit Talent Executives; Alice Ojha, Development Executive at BBC Film; and Alice Shone, Programmer at Tribeca Film Festival, for the chance to receive production funding to make their film.

The following 6 films are today announced as the selected projects:

Child’s Fare

Writer/Director: Kirsty McLean; Producer: Saffia Sage

Synopsis: Grappling to be the centre of her dad’s attention, ABBY (12) agrees to help him sell frozen microwave meals – but when he dumps her outside the pub to babysit SANDY (8), Abby’s feelings of rejection erupt into a violent outburst against someone who seems to have everything she doesn’t.

Distance to the Moon

Writer/Director: Sacha Kyle; Co-Director: Victoria Watson; Producer: Rhona Drummond; Music Producer and Composer: Giles Lamb 

Synopsis: Embark on a captivating journey to the moon to discover the absurdity of our existence and the importance of human connection in this surreal dream-like animated adventure.

First Timer

Writer/Director: Hannah Kelso; Producer: Danielle Goff 

Synopsis: It’s Meghan’s first day on the job as a home carer. She’s left alone to visit the elderly Bonnie who has a refreshing, yet challenging approach to her personal care.

Poly Baggage

Writer/Director: Emma Ramsay; Producer: Michaela Barton 

Synopsis: Polly’s been dumped and she’s done something drastic: she’s cut out her own heart. Literally. Now, it’s up to best friend Yasmin to convince Polly to embrace her broken heart and swallow her own pain. Again, literally.

Sleazy Tiger

Writer/Director: James Ley; Producers: Jack Cowhig and Laura McBride

Synopsis: Alan and Blair’s first date is going so well that Alan goes to wash his willy in the gents in anticipation of a blow job on the way home, however doing so opens a portal to a terrifying speakeasy a mile under Glasgow from which there seems to be no escape.

This Desert Will Rust Your Bones

Writer/Director: Erica Monde; Producer: Isabella Bassett

Synopsis: Ainsley works at a thunderous factory by the sea, attempting to drown out the cacophonous chimes, groans, grinding, banging, and echoes their body makes seemingly without reason. However, their daily ritual is disrupted when a new co-worker Simon arrives.

The selected teams will each receive up to £25,000 each to produce their film. Teams will also take part in intensive production training, and will be paired with an established Producer, Director or Writer who will mentor the team to help them to deliver their final film.

These talented filmmakers represent the bright future of Scottish cinema, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of their journey. With our support, they’ll receive invaluable guidance, mentorship, and resources to help bring their cinematic visions to life. 

Miriam Newman, Talent Executive at Short Circuit, said: “Along with the growing team at Short Circuit, we are delighted to announce the fourth year of Sharp Shorts production awards, supporting new and exciting Scottish filmmaking talent to collaborate and share their visually ambitious stories with audiences at home and internationally.”

Kieran Hannigan, Head of Scripted at Screen Scotland said: “The standard of applications this year was higher than ever. The six chosen projects are a rich and diverse range of high-quality projects that confidently announce distinct filmmaking voices with bright futures.”

Since the launch of Sharp Shorts in May 2020 the Short Circuit team and pool of external readers have assessed over 1200 submissions for the scheme. 56 short film projects have received development support and 31 projects have been awarded funding.

Stay tuned for updates as these projects evolve and move closer to production. We’re confident that they’ll captivate audiences far and wide with their creativity and storytelling prowess.

Featured photo credit: Celine Antal from Sharp Shorts funded film Just Jackie

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