Featuring films no longer than 15 minutes, from established UK directors, the Short Film category at this year’s Rushes Soho Shorts festival featured a powerful and entertaining array of fictional shorts. The three highlights of 2012 included a well-written robbery, a dark comedy from an established musician/director and surprisingly a fashion film commissioned for Mulberry.

Painkiller – Mustapha Kseibati

With Paul Andrew Williams, writer and director of London to Brighton as his mentor, you’d expect good things from young up and coming director Mustapha Kseibati. His latest short Painkiller – the story of a convenience store robbery that quickly goes wrong – is not only a showcase of his confident directing style, but also of the writing talent of Selina Lim. Brimming with well considered dialogue, dramatic twists and the odd flash of comedy, Kseibati opts against quick edits and short takes to perfectly highlight Lim’s script and the strong performances from his cast.

Long Distance Information – Douglas Hart

Not content with being the first bassist and founding member of the band The Jesus and Mary Chain and director of almost 30 music videos for the likes of The Stone Roses, Primal Scream, The Horrors and more, Douglas Hart has now expanded his repertoire with his first foray into short film with the black comedy Long Distance Information. Starring Peter Mullan, one of the UK’s most underrated actors, Hart’s semi-autobiographical short explores the relationship between an emotionally distant father and his son.

Skirt – Amanda Boyle

Commissioned by Mulberry, recent winner of the fashion category at the Vimeo Awards 2012 Skirt from director Amanda Boyle, is the odd yet heartwarming tale of a couple sharing an apartment. As time goes by, one impromptu tidying of the other’s belongings soon develops into a bizarre routine of possession stacking and a way for them to baffle, fight, flirt and maybe even fall in love with each other. Largely dialogue free, Boyle’s short has the feel of the art-house about it and could have easily come from the mumblecore school or even from the new wave of Greek cinema we’ve recently witnessed with Dogtooth and Attenburg.

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