Five comedy shorts by women had their world premières at London’s LOCO film festival in April after winning production funding and expert mentoring via a call-out for emerging female talent which received triple the number of predicted entries. The LOCO screening sold out within 8 hours, with a second screening selling out shortly after.
The amazing writer, director & actor Sharon Horgan also joined us on stage to introduce the shorts and lend her support to this initiative.
All five of the short films screened under the Funny Girls banner at LOCO are a result of the iShorts+ initiative set up by Creative England and the BFI NET.WORK to create new opportunities for groups currently under-represented in the film industry. Each was chosen following an open call for scripts from women teams that was expected to result in around 80 submissions but which actually produced more than 240.
Celine Haddad, a senior film talent development executive at Creative England, said:
“The issue of the lack of female representation in front and behind the camera has been well documented, but here at Creative England we wanted to do more, and give female directors a concrete and meaningful opportunity. With the support of our great partners, we received three times the number of applications we had anticipated – so it’s evident that strong female voices are out there: they just need to be given a chance. We are incredibly proud of the films they have made and impressed by the comedic range and diversity on display.”
As well as production funding of up to £10,000, the makers of the iShorts+ Funny Girls films also received advice and support from leading comedy producers, including Baby Cow, whose output includes the 'Alan Partridge' film and TV shows, and from Big Talk, the company behind feature films such as 'Hot Fuzz', 'Man Up' and 'Cuban Fury' and the Caitlin and Caroline Moran TV series 'Raised By Wolves' (C4).
Rachel Prior, Head of Film at Big Talk, is a champion of the initiative. She said:
“We’re so thrilled to have been a part of this scheme. It’s been great to see these filmmakers learn so much as they’ve developed their ideas and faced the challenges of production head-on. The five shorts, though very different from one another, are all proof of the breadth of emerging female talent in the British film industry.”
Support has come from cinema-goers, too, with the first Funny Girls screening selling out so quickly that a second screening was quickly added at the Barbican and was introduced by the BAFTA-nominated screenwriter, stand-up comedian, actor and author Nat Luurtsema, writer and co-star of one of the films in the programme.
Among the storylines in the mix are a twisted love triangle involving a poodle; a surreal workplace fantasy with grenades, and what happens when a would-be Shakespearean actress fears her hopes of playing Juliet will be sabotaged by her conjoined twin.
Another Creative England-supported film in the LOCO programme is the brilliant 'Burn Burn Burn', the debut feature by Chanya Button. It is a road movie comedy featuring 'Downton Abbey'’s Laura Carmichael and Chloe Pirrie (seen recently with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in 'Youth'). Impressively, the film also won the Discovery award at this year's LOCO.
- iShorts Funny Girls