It’s easy to miss, but in a non-descript building behind Stoke Newington overground station, cinema goers were in for an intimate experience when they attended Super Shorts Hackney over the weekend. The film night project was curated by two professional filmmaker brothers, Adam and Davin at The Others arts venue in Stoke Newington.
Speaking to ELL, the brothers spoke of their love for cinematography, their family background in film and theatre, and of having spent their childhood watching films.
Davin, who has made over 15 short films, was a festival director for a Vagabond Film Festival, and currently has feature in progress. Adam, has produced a number of short films, is also an actor and an award-winning writer.
“We started making short films together, just for fun. We loved the idea that in this modern digital age, it’s more possible than ever for people to go out and make a movie,” said Adam.
“You’re telling a story, or having an impact in some way, or creating a piece of art in a medium that lasts forever,” he added.
While independent filmmaking has become more accessible in the digital era, challenges remain.
“The last few years have been really horrendous for independent artists of all kinds,” said Adam.
Covid took a huge toll on the cinema industry with attendance in the UK still around 33% lower than it was before the pandemic, according to the UK Cinema Association.
Before the pandemic, Brexit also had a negative effect on the film industry: reinforcement of new visa regulations made it very difficult to travel for work. Following information released by the Home Office, UK nationals can no longer remain in the Schengen area for more than 90 days.
“This was a great shame,” said Adam, “because there’s an absolutely wonderful cinema scene across Europe. When all those things became restrictive, part of us just really wanted to open it up and get it going again. Bring back a community vibe around short films.”
Bringing back a platform for independent filmmakers became the inspiration for Super Shorts Hackney. “Having made a number of films ourselves we’re aware that there are limited opportunities to have things screened in a reasonably sized venue on big screen – where the excitement really is.”
The two curators are keen to give artists a way to share their work, especially those who are usually sidelined in an increasingly commercialised industry such as university graduates and auteur directors. “We want to make sure that we are showing a great range of films while also providing a platform for all filmmakers regardless of background, class or means,” Adam told ELL. For audiences, at £6 entry for a whole series of films, it’s also much more accessible.
When it came to finding a location for the event, it was only natural they would start looking for a venue in Hackney. “It’s our local turf, we know it well,” said Adam. “You can find anything in Hackney. It’s a wonderful place to celebrate every different type of art and background and creativity. I feel this is the sort of place that once it gets known, people will actually be very supportive as well, which is great.”
“It’s a fairly cozy venue,” Adam said, “Part of the reason we chose the venue is that we wanted to be somewhere where people can mingle, and where filmmakers can network.”
“That keeps it interesting, keeps it refreshing, and it makes it quite a unique evening. I think we’ll come away with memories from this. It’s not something you’ll forget easily. And it makes it something unique to do, doesn’t it?”
The next Super Shorts Hackney will take place on December 3 at The Others on 6 Manor Road, N16 5SA. Find out more about the event: https://supershortshackney.org/