Currently amidst its tenure at BFI Southbank, which runs from July 25th to the 29th, the London Film School is celebrating the work of its graduates with its yearly showcase. Last year’s event took place online and featured many impressive films but this year’s work is taking its rightful place up on the big screen at one of London’s premiere film venues. The films on display match last year’s ambition too with a whole host of genres and forms from burlesque dramas to abstract dystopian visions. It really is another impressive example of not just the film school’s mighty production level but the vivid artistry it attracts through its students, some of which are already making waves on the worldwide festival circuit. Below you will find a list of our ten favourite films on display at the showcase but, as per usual, we absolutely recommend exploring the full lineup of future filmmakers further.

In-Flu-Enza – Edoardo Forato

Set almost a hundred years ago amongst the underworld of cabaret, an old man faces off against his own mortality when his wife falls victim to the Spanish flu. Edoardo Forato’s In-Flu-Enza is realised with excellent production design with the theatricality of the cabaret on full display from the get-go, highlighting the ambition of the film. What really gripped me about Forato’s film, however, was the blend of fantasy and reality. His protagonist wrestles with the death of his wife through an engagement with a young prostitute, a relationship that in the wrong hands could easily fall into the realm of distaste. Forato, however, is able to weave a nightmarish quality into their entanglement, resulting in a perpetual sense of doom that crescendos into the short’s brilliant and ethereal finale.

So Far So Good – Maria Pawlikowska

Maria Pawlikowska’s crime drama So Far So Good centres on the story of Elena, who is hired by a small-time gangster to subtly sway a juror during a trial. It’s a gripping tale of deceit and romance led by a compelling central performance from Boryana Manoilova who veers away from playing Elena like a cliched femme fatale and instead offers a layered, and more interesting, humanistic approach. The connection to the stylistic tendencies of neo-noir continues through to the short’s visuals too which are beautifully captured by Cinematographer Tamás Apor Méder with a strong use of deep focus and vivid lighting.

The Fantastical Milipede – Daniel Christophersen

Daniel Christophersen’s The Fantastical Milipede takes the affable charm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and melds it with a contemporary social satire about the battle between right-wingers and ‘snowflakes’. It centres on a street-level superhero struggling to help the broken world she finds herself in, running from street corner to street corner hoping to battle thieves and muggers as they take advantage of everyday people. What she learns over the course of the film, however, is that to truly fix the world you need to fight the disease and not the symptoms. Fun and charming in all the right ways.

On Your Behalf – Ana Garcia Rico

A crime comedy about a serial killer who murders really annoying people. Told through an interrogation that cuts between the various crimes being discussed. Ana Garcia Rico’s short is wonderfully written with genuine wit, almost feeling Ben Wheatley-esque in how it takes the absurdity of mundane life and twists it with something so extreme. There’s great chemistry too between the culprit and the detective, who just can’t quite believe the words he’s hearing.

Pour Mon Fils (For My Son) – Mathilde Jouaud

Mathilde Jouaud’s short follows the story of a struggling mother in the run-up to Christmas trying, through any means she possibly can, to get her son the video game console he so desperately hopes for. Each scene in Jouaud’s short builds on the ongoing desperation her protagonist Aurelié faces; a boss unwilling to give her more shifts or a pay rise, a frustrated son facing social pressures, and the judgement of other, much wealthier families. It’s all channelled through Jouaud’s tight 4:3 frame which reflects Aurelié’s panicked descent into a final moment of pure hopelessness.

zong – Hope Robinson

Incredibly ambitious in its vision, zong is an abstract dystopian vision of a world where blackness can be drained physically from a person’s being. Hope Robinson uses her edit effectively to meld two separate realities, one where her protagonist Maisha is royalty sitting on a throne amidst a room of worshippers, the other a contemporary world where the liquified essence of black people has become a commodified substance. It’s these two perspectives that cloud Maisha’s vision and force her to come to the decision of either conforming to the present or abolishing its rule for the advancement of her people.

Sucking Diesel – Sam McGrath

Already enjoying a good run on the festival circuit, and recently picking up the Best Irish Short and Best Writing awards at the Kinsale Shark Awards, is Sam McGrath’s comedy crime thriller Sucking Diesel. The short is a wonderful blend of gangster genre sensibilities and loose, comedic performances that feel akin to the work of Shane Black or Guy Ritchie. The narrative is focused around a petrol station employee who becomes embroiled with a local gang and it’s down to his manager as to whether or not he deserves his comeuppance. McGrath has already established himself as a director of dynamic and compelling music videos so it’s a joy to see his talents transferred over into narrative territory.

School Ties – Oscar Albert

Oscar Albert’s short drama is held together by two excellent performances from its lead actors Luke Amis and Ben Morley-Smith. The pair play school boys Sidney and William, who are hiding a mysterious and despondent friend Jake in a nearby forest outside of their school grounds. One night when a storm is set to hit the pair must attempt to reduce Jake away from the gaze of their leering teacher. It’s a really compelling watch and a great example of some solid, engrossing drama.

after a room – Naomi Pacifique

My personal highlight of the showcase. Naomi Pacifique’s after a room is a terrific example of the potential of films made at London Film School as it’s already made its festival premiere at the highly reputable Locarno Film Festival. It’s easy to see why it was selected by such a prestigious institution too. It’s a subtle and tactile film exploring the intimacy between two lovers within the lucid walls of their apartment. The filmmaker that jumped into my head when watching was Wong Kar-Wai whose visually sumptuous films also focus on the connection between people in a specifically cinematic context. Pacifique is absolutely one to watch in the future.

Your Guardian – Mimi Vlaovic

We’re rounding out our recommendations from the 2022 London Film School graduate showcase with a heartwarming short about love in the face of resistance. Set during the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1992, Mimi Vloavic’s drama centres on a couple attempting to escape their country. But when Mina’s conservative family have other ideas, backlash ensues. Vlaovic’s film is well-performed and manages to take the narrative of a country’s decline and place it into a small yet vital story of familial ties.

You can find more unmissable films, like the ones featured at the London Film School Graduate Showcase 2022, in our Best of Fest collections.

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