The Watersprite Film Festival, now in its 8th year, is the Cambridge International Student Film Festival, which aims to recognise and reward emerging talent by showcasing the best student shorts. This year, two short films from The London Film School will be vying for multiple awards between 10th and 12th March in venues around the city of Cambridge.
Up for two awards, Azerbaijani director Javid Zaidov’s OUTSIDE leads the way in terms of nominations. Telling the tale of the tragic British Antarctic expedition to the North Pole from the perspective of one of Captain Scott’s men, OUTSIDE is in contention for Best Screenplay and Production Design. "I wanted to tell a story of contrasts: outside are the antarctic flats, a seemingly endless, lonely desert, but its inside the tent where Oates’ isolation becomes unbearable”, Zaidov states in OUTSIDE’s press pack. "As one of the men becomes more and more alienated from the group, I was intrigued to explore the changing dynamics and his internal state within the gradual division of the group.”
Photo Credit: Jackie Teboul
More recently, OUTSIDE was selected at two festivals: the BAFTA-qualifying Underwire Film Festival in London (30th Nov - 4th Dec) in the Best Cinematography category and the Grand Off World Independent Film Awards in Poland (28th Nov - 4th Dec) in the Best Production Design.
NAZHA is the brainchild of filmmaker Remi Itani and is nominated in the Best Sound Editing category, having recently won the Prix du Jury at the International Film School Festival Tétouan. The film follows Nazha, whose terminally ill grandmother comes back to live with her and her mother. As the days move on and her grandmother’s condition worsens, Nazha begins to feel more and more isolated and withdrawn, emotional stunted and numb.
Photo Credit: Joshua Magor
Born in Lebanon, Itani enrolled in the two year M.A. in Filmmaking programme at The London Film School in 2014. While doing a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, she started directing documentaries for the Al Jazeera documentary channel including FOREIGNERS AT HOME (2012) and INVISIBLE CITIZENS (2013). She directed a short film entitled PULL THE PLUG (2014), which premiered at the Exground Film Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany.
She is now working on a feature length documentary entitled IBRAHIM. The film is funded by the Organisation of La Francophonie and Screen Institute Beirut, which has been selected by the Dubai Film Connection and the Munich Documentary Campus.
The London Film School’s presence at Watersprite doesn’t end there, with two more films selected for screenings during the festival. The first is WE WERE WAVES ONCE, written and directed by Asli Umut and produced by OUTSIDE’s Javid Zaidov.
Photo Credit: Yun-Ju Lee
Cocteau spends her days isolated in her flat observing other people's lives trying to find inspiration for her writing. On the day that her estranged father dies, she meets her young and wild neighbour Alicia and starts falling for her. WE WERE WAVES ONCE premiered at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival and screened at several more in the USA before it made its way back to the UK at the London Short Film Festival 2017.
Following WE WERE WAVES ONCE from the London Short Film Festival to Watersprite will be Chris Manning’s JAMIE. In Manning’s short, the titular character clumsily looks for his first relationship after several disappointing experiences with men. One afternoon, he meets up with Ben after they chat on a dating app. As they get to know one another, Jamie wonders if he’s finally met his match. The film explores themes of intimacy, solitude and the formation of emotional and sexual identity during coming of age.
Photo Credit: Alistair Little
After winning the Alternative Spirit Award at the BAFTA and Oscar-qualifying Flickers’ Rhode Island Film Festival in August, JAMIE travelled to Twist: Seattle Queer Film Festival, where it was featured in the Best Short Competition. The film has also travelled to Sweden's Uppsala International Short Film Festival, screening in the Queer Fiction Programme before heading to the Sardinia Queer Short Film Festival in November 2016.
For more information about what’s on at this year’s festival and how to attend, visit the Watersprite website.