2020 Short Film Production

Here is the shortlist for our 2020’s Short Film Production category, recognising uses of archival footage in short-form filmmaking. This covers any film of 30 minutes or less in which footage is integral to the storytelling, whether documentary, fiction of any genre of filmmaking. 

Black Night in June

Director: Arthur Kent
Archive Researcher(s): Arthur Kent
Archival Sources: Arthur Kent Archive
Production Company: Skyreporter.com
Country of Production: Canada, China

Synopsis: This short factual film recounts the June 4, 1989 assault by the People’s Liberation Army on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Featured in Black Night In June are the voices and words of the students, and the chilling megaphone decrees of the Communist Party’s martial law authority, advising everyone to leave the square immediately or suffer the consequences.

FOCAL Points: This short film presents restored footage from the momentous June 4th 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, China and gained viral traction on the 30th anniversary of the events.

Black to Techno

Director: Jenn Nkiru
Archive Researcher(s): Jody Winterbottom, Aya Kaido, Hudda Khaireh, Elijah Maja, Rianna Jade Parker
Archival Sources: Independent filmmakers and contributors, AV Geeks, Footage Farm, Global Image Works, Framepool
Production Company: Iconoclast, Frieze
Country of Production: United Kingdom, United States

Synopsis: Black To Techno delves into the origins of the genre in Detroit, drawing parallels between the machine-like production lines of the city’s manufacturing heritage and the roots of black music in drum patterns and percussive variation. It features contributions from pioneering spoken-word and hip-hop group The Last Poets and Detroit DJs Stacey Hotwaxx, DJ Minx and DJ Holographic.

Archival Highlights: Public television broadcasts in Detroit appear alongside footage of the city’s automobile industry and the United State’s history of racism in this textured exploration of techno’s emergence and ongoing cultural impact.

The Tree (Derevo)

Director: Oleg Chorny
Archive Researcher(s): Bohdan Shumylovych
Archival Sources: Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, Village of Blagoveshchensk, Urban Media Archive, Victor Kyzyma, Oleh Yavorovych
Production Company: Urban Media Archive, Center for Urban History of East Central Europe
Country of Production: Ukraine

Synopsis: The film tells the story of a craftsman’s creativity and his connection to a tree that extracts an invisible form from a material substance. The act of creating by a human being is subject to the power of the substance that governs the carver independently determining the result. The subjectivity of nature is also manifested in the film through chemical damage – images and memory are absorbed and disappear behind the veil.

Archival Highlights: Recently found in a decayed state, material from an unknown amateur filmmaker called Victor Kyzyma is used as a basis for exploring the relationship between nature and film decay.