A new festival has arrived. Cheap Cuts is all about short documentaries and its pioneers have a genuine desire to see new filmmakers reach bigger audiences. Recognising the limitations new filmmakers face, its organisers placed story before budget in selecting the festivals’ eclectic short films. Their goal is to make documentary more accessible: there are no submission fees and festival tickets are free. This desire to promote new filmmaking extends beyond two days of film screenings, to feature workshops, discussions and Q&As.
“The goal is to make documentary more accessible: there are no submission fees and festival tickets are free”
The festival’s twenty-one carefully chosen films compete in four categories for prizes including media coverage to Raindance workshops and £600 worth of kit. Up for grabs are awards for Best British and Best International Short Documentaries, London Emerging Talent and a coveted Audience Award. The films themselves are a mélange of everything from teen suicide to disability, protest and social change.
Saturday’s screenings include Duncan Cowles’ Directed By Tweedie, in which Cowles’ Grandfather takes on the role of filmmaker, and Argentinian film The International which documents the lives of two sisters and their mother using home VHS tapes.
Many of Saturday’s films examine themes of family but there’s also time to explore the relationship between a volunteer and his dying patient in The Final Nights and an account of child trafficking in Miles To Go Before I Sleep.
Sunday’s selection is even more eclectic from the unusual story of circus knife throwers in Polish film Knife In The Wife to 40 years of dictatorship explored through the medium of animation in What Day Is Today. Britain is explored in Last Resort, a film about Blackpool’s changing B&B industry, while the owner of a North-London newspaper stand is the subject of Seven Days A Week which screens as part of the festival’s intimate ‘Portraits’ series.
These are just a handful of options from the festival’s full programme (which you can find here) and, as if that wasn’t enough, there’s also an extra screen showing a range of #mini-docs at 4 minutes or less.
Cheap Cuts takes place on 2nd-3rd April 2016 at Hundred Years Gallery, London. Click here to check out the full programme including all twenty-one films screening as part of the festival.
Look out for my review of the Best International Short Documentary prize winner in early April.