SOUTH EAST STORIES: NEW FILMMAKING TALENT showcases ten films from the next generation of filmmakers across the region. Concerning many topics, including religion and mental health, the main themes shared by all the short films are those of growing up or finding a place in society.
One film that stood out was 4C, which tells the story of a young girl who struggles with her type 4C afro hair. Embarrassed by the way it looks, the girl is often seen with her hood up whenever outside. In a humorous scene that had the audience chuckling, the girl uses large quantities of a viscous substance to slick her hair down. The editing adds to the humour of the scene, as cut after cut, the girl tries different techniques to find a new style. In only four minutes, director Shakira Francis has captured what so many multi-racial and black women have experienced and delivers a message that audiences should be proud of their hair, whatever the texture.
NACA, directed by Robert Cairns, is about Raheem (Ramzan Miah), a young Bengali Muslim with a passion for dance. However, his family and members of the community do not think it’s acceptable. The cinematography by Yana Rits-Cairns is beautiful- this couldn’t be more prominent in scenes where Raheem is dancing, a silhouette against the backdrop of a vibrant Luton. The camera follows his effortless movements, focusing on different parts of his body. Also important to note is the acting of both Ramzan Miah and Nish Nathwani (Raheem’s father), especially when the two characters fight over Raheem’s passion.
One final film to draw attention to is TEHZEEB, directed by Myriam Raja. It is a fifteen-minute film about a young woman trapped in an arranged marriage. Missing home and having to conform to the ideals of her husband (Javed Khan), Tehzeeb (Hiftu Quasem) struggles to adjust to her new life in England. Most eye-catching is the use of colour; different shades of red – bright and dull – are extremely vivid, contrasting the white walls of the couple’s home. This is also the case with Tezheeb’s flashback to living at home with her father- the scene is filled with yellows, blues and greens, signifying better times.
SOUTH EAST STORIES: NEW FILMMAKING TALENT explores important subject matter with excellent direction and cinematography. These directors are definitely ones to look out for.