Sunderland Shorts – 2018 Award Winners

There were some big winners among the short films on show at Sunderland Shorts this year.

This year’s festival was a truly global affair – featuring short films from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden and Lebanon, as well as some filmed closer to home. From a pre-event showcase celebrating films by young and emerging filmmakers on Wednesday 2 May at The Peacock to scare-packed horror screenings at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, the event has attracted hundreds of film fans and kept them on the edge of their seat.

The awards ceremony and final screenings of the award winners took place on Saturday 5th May, at The Looking Glass in Sunniside. With the exception of our Audience Favourite Awards, winners of the Sunderland Shorts 2018 honours have been picked by our volunteer panel of key regional industry figures. Details on the jury can be found here. It’s a cliché to say it was impossible to pick winners, but so many of the submissions were worthy of recognition and could have claimed the top prizes.

The Sunderland Shorts team would like to thank everyone who submitted and attended the film festival, our army of volunteers who ensured it ran smoothly, and all those across the city who have helped make the festival an amazing success once again. And congratulations to all the winners – you did an incredible job.

Sunderland Shorts 2018 WINNERS -

Best Drama:
Space Girls 
Dir: Carys Watford 
During a sleepover, four space obsessed 9-year-old girls embark on a secret mission in their cardboard rocket ‘Space Girls’ is a film that celebrates the power of the imagination, the importance of STEM education & girl power. It is family-friendly, appropriate for children of all ages & is a film to inspire young kids to see science & space as fun & exciting!


Best Comedy:
Rag Dolls
Dir: Justin & Kristin Schaack
Playtime turns into uncontrolled shenanigans when a child discovers rag dolls in an antique chest. Her imagination runs wild, but for the dolls’ real-life doppelgängers, self-control is out of their hands.


Best Documentary:
Dir:  Faye Carr-Wilson
Short documentary dealing with issues of disability and female empowerment through the subject Venus Dimilo, a female drag performer.


Best Art/Experimental:
Dir:  Keelan Crawford
A short film dealing with loss, following an old man who travels into his dreams and collects memories of his life in the shape of photographs


Best Thriller:
Dir: Jack Levy
A film about the dangers of peer pressure and mob mentality.  John and Rebecca attend a gig in town only to find that the act, Nick, has some incredibly committed fans. As the crowd grow ever more animated, John and Rebecca find themselves going to great lengths to prove their devotion to the charismatic singer.


Best Sci Fi/Horror:
Dir: Varun Raman and Tom Hancock


Audience Favourites:
A Place For Everything
Dir: Barnaby Boulton
A fantasy short film about a man on a quest to find his lost stapler; how far would you go to recover something you love?


Ghost Beats
Dir: Brent Barson
A ghost story about exclusion and acceptance, and the power of music and dance.


Space Girls 
Dir: Carys Watford 
During a sleepover, four space obsessed 9-year-old girls embark on a secret mission in their cardboard rocket ‘Space Girls’ is a film that celebrates the power of the imagination, the importance of STEM education & girl power. It is family-friendly, appropriate for children of all ages & is a film to inspire young kids to see science & space as fun & exciting!


Young and Emerging Stand Out Films:
The Sycamore Gap
Dir: Lucy Rose Wilson-Green
A short film following the romantic affair of two women in 1841. Mina works in Blackwood House and finds herself entering an affair with Lady Clara. Clara’s Husband, becomes aware of the affair forcing both women to face some harsh truths. Mina is torn between logic and emotion.


Dir: Ruby Blake
Enjoyable and unusual documentary about the community in Skinningrove on the East Yorkshire coast.  A tiny community they come together each year to build a spectacular and unusual Bonfire Night display.


N.E.P.K – North East Parkour
Dir:  Robert Kilburn
This short documentary provides a snapshot of the North East Parkour community.


Special Recognition Award:
A Dog’s Best Friend
Dir: Hannah Rollins


Special Jury Mentions:
Dir: George Cowie and Tom Huntingford
An uplifting and touching portrait of life on a community Dial-A-Ride service in South Wales.


A Place For Everything
Dir: Barnaby Boulton
A fantasy short film about a man on a quest to find his lost stapler; how far would you go to recover something you love?



5 Favourite Films: Anne Tye, Festival Director

Hello, I’m Anne and I have the dubious honour of writing the first in our next series of blogs, written by each member of the festival team, as a way of getting to know us.

I work for Sunderland City Council and my role is to deliver business support and development projects to the city’s creative businesses.  I’ve also managed the logistics for getting Sunderland creative businesses and their work to Washington DC as part of the Sunderland /DC Friendship Agreement, to take part in exhibitions and exchanges there, mostly related to glass and ceramics.  And that’s how Sunderland Shorts started …

In 2013, Jon  Gann of DC Shorts and I hatched a plan to start a film festival in Sunderland to be a platform for filmmakers and related talents in the city, and we applied to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for some funding to support Jon to travel to Sunderland in 2015 to get us started.

I worry that being Festival Director implies that I’m a film expert but I’m not, although I do know a bit about running creative businesses. That said, I’ve always appreciated what a great film can do, whether it provides a bit of escapism, thought provoking subject matter, laughter or tears, and I have a very eclectic taste and a long memory.  I could go on about watching Abbot and Costello films with my Dad and Fred Astaire / Frank Sinatra / Gene Kelly movies with my Mam,  Jason Bourne or James Bond – the list could be endless.

So, here you go, in no particular order, 5 of my ‘can watch anytime’ films:

The Ladykillers 1955 Dir.Alexander Mackendrick, Studio Canal

Cast: Danny Green, Peter Sellers,  Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Katy Johnson, Alec Guinness


Mrs Wilberforce (Katie Johnson), an elderly widow living in an ancient, lop-sided house close to St Pancras station, likes to report suspicious behaviour to the police. Unaware of this habit, the charming but dastardly Professor Marcus (played by Alec Guinness with additional teeth and looking remarkably like  Alistair Sim) rents rooms in her house for himself and his gang of thieves.  Posing as a string quartet, the gang commit a bank robbery but let something slip in front of Mrs Wilberforce while trying to get away and her suspicions are roused.  The crooks agree they need to kill her off but in an effort to double-cross each other they manage to kill each other off instead.  In the meantime Mrs Wilberforce goes to the police, but has her reputation preceded her?

The last of the Ealing Comedies, this is an incredibly charming film with comedy, tension and intrigue in equal measure.  The Alec Guinness and Herbert Lom characters are particularly sinister while Katie Johnson gradually reveals that the genteel and seemingly unsuspecting elderly lady hides a wily, steely core.  The film captures the smoke, grime and darkness of post WWII London which adds to the menace but there are also light touches such as a cameo by Frankie Howerd as a hapless barrow-boy.  It doesn’t matter how many times you see it, you see something new every time.

Charade 1963 Dir. Stanley Donan, Universal Pictures U.S.A. 

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, George Kennedy, Ned Glass


Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) returns to Paris, after a holiday in the Alps, to find her home stripped of furnishings and her husband murdered. Peter Joshua (Cary Grant) whom she met in the Alps, offers to help her solve the mystery.   Her husband had hidden 250,000 dollars, stolen from the US Government along with four accomplices who pursue Reggie to find their “share” of the take. Peter Joshua, along with Walter Matthau as CIA agent Hamilton Bartholomew, are the only people she can trust, or can she?

Like The Ladykillers, Charade manages to mix mystery, suspense and villainy with light touches of comedy, but with added romance and an original score by Henry Mancini.  Then there’s the wonderful elegant Audrey Hepburn wearing Givenchy, set against a Parisian backdrop . What’s not to love?

Jackie Brown 1997, Dir. Quentin Tarantino , Miramax PIctures

Cast: Pam Grier, Robert de Niro, Samuel L Jackson, Bridget Fonda, Robert Foster, Michael Keaton, Chris Tucker, Michael Bowen.


When flight attendant Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) gets caught smuggling cash for arms dealer Ordell Robbie (Samuel L Jackson), along with a small amount of cocaine, agents Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton and Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) see an opportunity. They persuade her to help them bring down Ordell in exchange for avoiding jail time. She doesn’t agree immediately, is charged and put in custody pending bail.

Ordell instructs bail bondsman Max Cherry (Robert Foster) to pay her bail and release her from jail and there’s immediately a clear attraction. Jackie knows Ordell will try to kill her and steals Max’s gun from the glove-box – she’s ready when Ordell turns up and sends him packing.   She’s going to end up either dead or in jail and she decides to double cross both the agents and Ordell in a bid to keep the money … helped by Max who has fallen in love with her.

I’m a Tarantino fan, and this choice could easily have been Pulp Fiction or Inglorious Basterds.  I love his dialogue and there’s a line in Jackie Brown, when she’s facing down Ordell, that comes into my head far too often!  It’s a very tense film with some shocks and surprises and you really can’t predict anything. Samuel L Jackson’s Ordell is cool, charming and dangerous  but de Niro’s character, Louis, is alongside most of the time and he’s just too quiet, too acquiescent, until he’s finally challenged.

The soundtrack is fabulous, starting and ending with Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street, along with the Delfonics, Randy Crawford, The Brothers Johnson, Johnny Cash and more.

Bellville Rendezvous 2003, Dir. Sylvain Chomet


Madame Souza is trainer to her grandson and cyclist, Champion.  During a mountainous leg of the Tour de France, Champion goes missing. He has been kidnapped along with two other competitors by villains who want to use their cycling skills and stamina for a gambling scam. Along with Champion’s overweight and faithful dog Bruno, Madame Souza sets out to find Champion, intrepidly crossing the ocean in a pedalo to the town of Belleville. With no money, Madame Souza and Bruno are befriended by three eccentric elderly women, who were once a famous jazz trio, Les Triplettes de Belleville. The triplets help Madame Souza and Bruno in their quest to find and rescue Champion.

This is one of the most delightful films I’ve ever seen – it’s eccentric, chaotic and a bit odd (catching frogs with grenades to make frog soup) but it’s a brilliantly warm, moving story about a Gran’s dedication to her boy. The artwork is beautifully detailed and sometimes hilariously exaggerated, especially the cyclists with overly massive calves and thighs. The music of the triplets is very much in 30’s Jazz style but it’s so fast and light it just makes me smile.  Need to watch this more often !

True Romance 1993, Dir Tony Scott.

Cast: Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer, Dennis Hopper, James Gandolfini, Michael Rapaport, Bronson Pichot, Samuel L Jackson.


Written by Quentin Tarrantino and Roger Avery

Clarence (Christian Slater) and prostitute Alabama (Patricia Arquette) fall in love and marry.  While breaking the news to Alabama’s pimp, Clarence kills him and grabs what he thinks is a suitcase of Alabama’s clothes.  But it’s full of cocaine belonging to the mob. The two hit the road for California hoping to sell the cocaine, but the mob is soon chasing them.

This is a classic road movie and you’re never in doubt about the intense love between Clarence and Alabama and the extremes they go to to protect each other.  As you might expect with Tarantino as co-writer, it is blood-soakingly violent, with sharp, sometimes hilarious dialogue and scene stealing cameos. I think it’s a beautiful film, thanks  to the direction of Tony Scott.  An ear-worm of a theme tune too, by Hans Zimmer.

What’s  a Short Film? 

In the early days of capturing and projecting moving images, ‘short’ was the norm. Everyday activities depicted on screen for just a few seconds, or a few minutes, captivated or terrified Victorian audiences in equal measure.  The most famous of these is L’arrivée d’un train en gare de la Ciotat (Arrival of a Train) by the Lumière Brothers (1895).

As technologies improved throughout the 20th century, full length feature films took precedence in commercial cinemas but the short film remained a useful tool as newsreels and in disseminating government information, particularly in wartime.

By the 1980s, shorts had just about disappeared from High St cinemas, although their popularity as an art form remained strong with visual artists who weren’t constrained by production values and deadlines and brought a sense of freedom to the medium.  The Oberhausen Short Film Festival, now in its 63rd year has been celebrating and supporting innovation in short film since 1954.

Today, thanks to the arrival in the 1990s of lightweight, portable, recording equipment and ever advancing digital technology, along with the arrival of the internet, the making of short film is enjoying a renaissance.  Short films are no longer the poor relation to the full length feature film in the world of cinematic story telling but are being celebrated in film festivals, TV (Channel 4’s 4Shorts), media (VirginMedia Shorts competition) and of course online via YouTube, Vimeo etc.

In the world of film festivals there seems to be a general consensus about how short a short film can be. Most film festivals agree that a short film needs to be at least 1 minute long – otherwise, blink and you’ll miss it.  There isn’t, though, any official definition of how long a short film can be.

At the Sundance Film Festival any film shorter than 50 minutes qualifies as short film, while at the Academy Awards, any film of 40 minutes or under is eligible for the shorts categories. Here at Sunderland Shorts we ask for films which run for no longer than 20 minutes including all credits.

A short film can be a great way for both script writers and directors to show their skills. Whether a drama or a documentary, an animation or a comedy, an art or a sci-fi film, a short has to grab the audience’s attention straight away and tell its story concisely and beautifully to carry the viewer on the journey.

Programming Sunderland Shorts

As a huge film enthusiast, amateur filmmaker and Sunderland native, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to attend and volunteer at the very first Sunderland Shorts Film Festival in 2015. It was a thoroughly entertaining weekend full of emotional and exciting short films. I was even more delighted when an opportunity arose for me to be part of the team for the 2016 festival, which I eagerly jumped at.

My main responsibility has been leading on the programming for this years festival. The festival’s team of excellent volunteer reviewers watched each of the 240 films that were submitted from all around the world, and together we whittled them down to the best 50.

Due to the high calibre of films it was very difficult (and time consuming) process deciding which ones should stay and which ones should go. But we’ve done it and are very pleased with the final selection. We can’t wait for people to see them!

I thought long and hard about how I was going to programme the festival. Fundamentally at the base of great programming is all about communication and flow. Even though we’re screening 50 films about 50 different stories, it’s about taking the audience on one journey. Creating a flow of emotions that feel natural and is easy to watch.

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival 2016 will be a four-day festival showcasing 50 short films (under 20 minutes) by filmmakers from all over the world, in venues across Sunderland.

There will be a total of 10 screenings with an average run time of around 80 minutes each. The festival will open on Thursday, June 30, and screenings will be taking place at various times through Friday, July 1; Saturday, July 2; and Sunday, July 3. Throughout these dates there will also be family-friendly screenings to ensure everyone can experience the entertainment of short film. As well as a horror/sci-fi only screening for the people who don’t mind the more scary and intense films!

In every screening there is broad mix of themes, genres and tones so that there will (hopefully) be something for everyone in the audience to tap into. There will be highs and lows, laughter and sadness, reflection and relaxation over the course of every 80 minutes. I am very excited to watch the audience react to this year’s films, and can’t wait to talk with people afterwards about their thoughts.

Kristian Foreman

Introducing Sunderland Shorts Festival Sponsor: See it Do it Sunderland

seeit-doit-cmykIf you’ve made it this far you’re probably a bit of a film buff. So there’s a pretty good chance you’ll understand exactly what the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is all about. But why a film festival in Sunderland; what’s the city all about… and what else is there to do here?  See it Do it Sunderland talk about some of Sunderland’s treats on offer to our visiting film buffs and filmmakers.

If Sunderland was a film, it’d be one of those tricky works that you couldn’t place into one genre. Where the story line grips you and reels you in, is never as you expected it, but leaves you with a feel good factor that is hard to put your finger on.

Sunderland is a city by the sea with miles of golden sands and all the traditional fun of the seaside. But it’s also on a major river, the Wear. It’s got a busy and vibrant city centre. But it’s also within minutes of rolling countryside. It’s home to new and exciting creative industries. But it’s got a phenomenal heritage ranging from early Christianity to heavy engineering.

The city’s twin resorts of Roker and Seaburn have been a favourite spot to relax and unwind, or let off steam, for generations. If you’re coming with the family then it’s a sandcastle builder’s paradise. Either way you’ll have no bother finding refreshment to suit regardless of whether ice cream or a full meal take your fancy.

Just a short stroll through the marina and onto the riverside brings you to the National Glass Centre  Sunderland has been big in glass since the 7th Century when Bede brought glass making to the Britain… and modern Christianity for that matter. As well as taking in cutting edge glass and ceramic arts, there are opportunities to get hands on in glass making demonstrations.  Right next door lies St Peter’s Church , which incorporates parts of the original 7th Century monastery created by the aforementioned Bede and Benedict Biscop. For fact fans, it’s right here where the date of Easter was set.

Even in the middle of Seaburn’s sandy beach, you’re only minutes away from the city centre where Sunderland Shorts is hosted.  Obviously you can expect a good choice of pubs, bars, restaurants and shops. On top of that there’s the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art to investigate. If you want a sneak preview of the next big thing in contemporary art then this is the place to be. Names like Sam Taylor-Wood and Adam Chodzko shot to prominence after early exhibitions here.

If history is more your thing, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens  is just around the corner. You can meet local icon Wallace the Lion, see the first Nissan car built in Sunderland or study works by LS Lowry and others. The glass rotunda of the Winter Gardens is home to over 2,000 species that can be appreciated from the ground or an elevated walkway too.

Another of Sunderland’s cultural gems is Sunderland Empire Theatre . It’s the biggest theatre in the North East and the only one capable of hosting the biggest ‘West End’ style shows like Billy Elliott, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, or The Sound of Music. Beautifully decorated in true theatre style, it’s a favoured venue for all manner of big name performers.

Or, if you’ve got time to travel slightly further afield, Penshaw Monument  is a must. Modelled on the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, it was built as a memorial to the Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. In summer months the National Trust offer the chance to climb to the very top where the views across almost the whole of the North East are simply phenomenal.

That’s far from an exhaustive list of course; we haven’t even mentioned Washington Old Hall , the ancestral home of George Washington, of United States presidential fame, for example  If you’re not already convinced, we hope that the warm welcome you’ll get when you visit Sunderland Shorts will change your mind.

Sunderland Shorts FREE Taster Sessions


If you didn’t make the festival last year, here’s a way to find out what you missed.

Are you wondering ‘just how short is a short?’  Then come along to one of our FREE Taster Sessions and see what all the fuss is about.

We want to spread the word about Sunderland Short Film Festival throughout the city and  the region and get more people coming along in July to watch our new selection of brilliant short films. Over the coming weeks we’ll be appearing at a community space near you with a selection of some of our best films from last year’s event.

We’ll even stand you a cuppa and a cake and if you do well in our quiz – Famous Lines from the Movies – you’ll win tickets to a festival screening.

Evening screenings are suitable for 16yrs+.  Each screening lasts about 1 hour and will feature a mixture of drama, comedy, animation, sci-fi and documentary.

‘Family Friendly’ screenings are about 30 minutes long and the films are specifically selected for  young people under 16yrs.

Where better to start than at Pop Recs Ltd?  Join us next Friday 18th March at 7.00 pm for some chat, films and a bit of a laugh

Oh and by the way …’s FREE !!!

Here’s the schedule to date, but there’s more to come:

18th March  7.00 – 9.00pm  Pop Recs Ltd , 27 Stockton Road, Sunderland  Over 16s

29th March  3.30 – 4.30 pm Back on the Map, Villette Road Hendon, Family Friendly

5th April       6.00 – 8.00 pm Back on the Map  Villette Road, Hendon, Over 16s

6th April       2.00 – 4.00 pm City Library, Fawcett Street, Sunderland   Family Friendly

7th April       5.00 – 7.00 pm City Library, Fawcett Street, Sunderland   Over 16s

5th May       7.00 – 9.00 pm Canny Space, Holy Trinity Church, Hendon,

1st June      3.45 – 4.45 pm Pallion Action Group, Eastmoor Road, Sland, Family Friendly 

Submissions have closed and it’s looking fab!

Lots of amazing films are in the bag and the 2nd edition of Sunderland Shorts is well on the way.

Our small army of volunteer reviewers is being nothing short of heroic, working diligently through the very high calibre submissions to sift out the very best films for you lovely people.

Once again, we have received films in a really wide variety of genres from all around the world, from 28 countries in fact , including South Korea, China and Nepal! Equal top though were the U.K. and the U.S.A and it’s fantastic that several of last year’s filmmakers have returned to the festival with brand new projects. Several filmmakers are keen to travel to join in the festival and do audience Q and As or workshops while they’re here.

There has also been a great response this year from regional filmmakers who have submitted work ranging from brilliant to thought provoking.

We’ll be announcing the full details in early May when we will have the final selection but we can promise we’ll be bringing you some really impressive work with the odd famous face or two to spot!

There’s so much more to tell in the weeks ahead so stay with us !!!

Introducing Jon Gann…


With Sunderland Shorts Film Festival only a matter of weeks away, we’re fast approaching our big countdown!! Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun…

So, having already introduced you to the faces behind our Sunderland-based festival team, we thought it was about time that took you on a trip over to Washington DC to introduce you to the inspiration behind our inaugural festival – Jon Gann.

Jon is a highly acclaimed DC-based filmmaker and the Programming Director of the prestigious DC Shorts Film Festival. His long standing relationship with Sunderland stems from the city’s 2006 Friendship Agreement with Washington DC – which was formed with the aim of fostering and developing economic, educational and cultural relationships between the two cities.

The unique relationship has paved the way for a number of creative collaborations that have taken place since 2008, Sunderland Shorts being one of them.

Having forged strong connections with Sunderland Council representatives, Jon had always been keen to bring new cultural activities to the city, particularly a film festival that would provide an international stage for film makers from around the region and beyond.

And, with a wealth of experience in running his own internationally renowned Film Festival, he was perfectly placed to help us with Sunderland Shorts. Well, we certainly think so!

“I am really looking forward to bringing the film festival to Sunderland. Your City Council has a great focus on the arts and I think that this is really important. I have also always wanted to start a film festival somewhere outside of DC and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.

“ Sunderland is a city that looks like it wants to have more arts. It also has very little going on with film right now, so if I can help create something that grows into something large and important for the region, then that’s a fabulous thing for me to do.” Jon Gann

From the offset, Jon has been integral to the development and planning of Sunderland Shorts, guiding us through the process of setting up a festival for the very first time and offering his expert advice whenever it’s needed (via Skype of course!)

We look forward to welcoming Jon back to Sunderland in July when he’ll be helping us to make sure the festival is a success (and no doubt entertaining us in the process).

Meet The Sunderland Shorts Team…


With submissions closed for entries and the festival itself less than two months away, the Sunderland Shorts team are working really hard to make our very first festival a real success.

As we’ve quickly learnt, there’s lots to take care of! From selecting the venues, programming the films, and designing the posters, through to organising awards, acquiring the necessary technical equipment, and building a strong team of volunteers, we’ve certainly got our hands full.

We’ll have plenty of updates over the coming weeks about venues, tickets, and showings, but first we thought we’d introduce you to the team behind the festival…

Sunderland Shorts is being run by a team of film, media, design, and management professionals. Whilst we all work together to make key decisions and ensure that the festival runs smoothly, each member of the team has been allocated key responsibilities.


Festival Director – Anne Tye

Festival Manager – Rebecca Burdon

As the titles suggest, these two ladies are responsible for leading, managing and overseeing the running of the festival as a whole. Rebecca and Anne work together to ensure that key decisions are made and vital deadlines are met; Rebecca concentrates on logistics and Anne is responsible for keeping track of the budget and ensuring that we comply with all of the necessary regulations.

It’s an important, and often stressful job but, with these two ladies in charge, we’re in capable hands!


Programming Team – Jerome Vyland and Aman Sharma (Northern Bear Films) and Wojtek Bozyk partner_northernbear

Jerome, Aman and Wojtek are currently hard at work making sure that all submissions are reviewed and the successful films are selected. They will then lead the team in programming the chosen films into a number of screenings.


Volunteer Co-ordinater – Hannah Matterson

We wouldn’t be able to run our festival without a friendly bunch of volunteers, and it’s Hannah’s job to manage the recruitment, allocation and supervision of the helpful team.


Graphic Design – Matthew Tye & Beth Dowd (Bureau) 


It’s thanks to Matthew & Beth that our website, posters, and branding all look so good! From designing our logo, creating adverts, and making all of our documents look great, to creating our website, arranging ticket sales, and setting up our online submissions page, we can always rely on Bureau to ensure that we’re looking and performing at our very best.


PR – Amy Armstrong and Marie Donnelly (M.A.D Communications) partner_mad

Amy and Marie handle our social media accounts, make sure that people are talking about the festival, and take care of most of our copywriting. They also deal with the press and will be generating lots of stories in the lead up to the events – keep your eyes peeled for them!


Final Call For Submissions

With submissions from as far as Australia, Korea, Iran and Taiwan, news of the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival is spreading around the world and, with submissions set to close on April 30, there’s still time to submit your film or volunteer to be part of the inaugural festival.

Set to take place in July 2015, the festival will provide a valued platform for short filmmakers of every level, from across the globe, to showcase their work to international audiences.

Created in collaboration with the prestigious DC Shorts Film Festival, Sunderland Shorts will be held at various creative venues across Sunderland between July 2 and July 5 – selected films will then be shown at the next DC Shorts later in the year.

Rebecca Burdon, Festival Manager, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, said: “We’ve had submissions from over 26 countries so far and it’s been great to see that so many talented filmmakers want to be part of our festival – especially since we’re in our first year.

“With submissions set to close later this month, we’re still on the look out for more great shorts – particularly from around the region as we’re really hoping to have a strong North East presence at the festival.”


535002 - SSFF - Call for Submissions - Red

Born out of a long standing relationship between Sunderland and Washington DC, Sunderland Shorts will put the spotlight on talented independent short filmmakers, giving them the opportunity to gain exposure to international audiences in the UK, Washington DC, and beyond.

Having been reviewed by a panel of volunteers, around 60 films will be hand selected by the Festival’s Programming Team to be screened during the course of the event. Awards will also be presented to winners of various categories, including Audience Choice, Critics Choice and several Best in Category Awards.

Jerome Vyland, Programming Team, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival, said: “It’s been great to see so many people coming forward to review films for the festival. From those who are technically savvy through to those who are simply passionate about film, we’ve been astounded by the level of support we have received.

“We’ve also had a great response in terms of people coming forward to volunteer for other roles in the festival. We’ve still got plenty of roles to fill, so if you’re interested in getting involved, get in touch.”

With the aim of bringing together filmmakers from across the globe to celebrate the very best in short films of every genre, the Sunderland Shorts Film Festival will also give filmmakers the opportunity to network with peers and other influential industry figures.

There will be a number of screenings taking place across the city during the weekend in July – full details of venues, tickets and schedules will be announced in the coming weeks.

Final submissions will close on 30th April, with an extended deadline entry fee of $38 USD. For further information about the festival, submitting your film, or volunteering to take part, please visit