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It’s a real shame I didn’t have more time to attend screenings at this year’s London Short Film Festival. This, my third and final screening, was another really great one. Again seeing two shorts I previously watched at Underwire a couple of months ago: Tom and Esther Learn Lessons and Love at the End of the World.

This screening selected films that focus on landscape not just as a setting, but also as one of its main characters. I must admit, some of the films in this category disappointed me cinematography wise but the ones that impressed did a mighty fine job.

The 21-minute short The Road Home by Rahul Gandotra is one that’s already found some success including being nominated for a Student Foreign Oscar and winning a jury prize at the Palm Springs Shortfest. Set in the Himalayas, Pico is sent to Woodstock boarding school by his parents who live back in England. Struggling to settle in to his new home, Pico decides to run away in a bid to return home to England.

A film that questions what makes you who you are, Pico has trouble coming to terms with his heritage. A drama full of moments of comedy and sadness, The Road Home is a lovely film. DOP Christoph Brunner does a great job of capturing the beauty of the Himalayas in what was clearly a very tightly run production.

Next on my list of special mentions is the two minute short Daydreams by Lizzie Oxby. A very successful lady, who after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1996 has gone on to lecture at Wimbledon School of Art, Central St Martins and UCA, she has also produced work for MTV, EMI, Channel 4 and the National Trust.

Daydreams is an ongoing project of 30 second film clips of ordinary scenes animated to some of Lizzie’s observational thoughts. The series has appeared in various film festivals already including Berlin’s short film festival and Raindance and it’s easy to see why the simple, short concept is so easy to love. I think my personal favourite is the one from Peckham Rye, Lizzie’s animation gives it a well needed face lift!

Watch Peckham Rye: 08:15am after the jump.

I remember being a child not wanting to go to school, pretending to be ill in the hope mum would believe me and let me stay in bed for the day. Mums have a weird sixth sense though, and never will they be fooled. I’d always be reminded there are people in other countries desperate for the education I get. The Sound of the Bell explores this topic.

Following one boy in the heart of the dunes of Rajasthan in India, with no other option but to shepherd and another boy in the heart of Yorkshire who goes to school unwillingly every day. Although a very simplistic story line, it’s filmed with conviction and its script is laced with charm. In an ending that sees both boys escape to the tree they feel most at ease in, Esteban Gitton has written and directed a lovely little short.

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