Backed by BFI - Shorts

Skill and vision fuel the best short films, as these early experiments from revered directors illustrate.

Short films are at the heart of new British Cinema. It's in short filmmaking that countless emerging talents find their voice, and where a new generation of storytellers challenge and entertain in original ways. Among today's shorts filmmakers are the feature giants of tomorrow. The BFI has proudly backed many great shorts over the years and here you can find some of the most beautiful, fun and daring. From Stephen Frears' 1967 film debut to Terence Davies' remarkable trilogy and on to the 1990s 'New Directors', 21st century digital pioneers and beyond, the Shorts collection shows filmmakers at their experimental and innovative best.

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Documentary19879 mins

The queer alphabet - from AC/DC to Zipper.

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The Late ShowThe Late Show

Documentary196912 mins

The supreme intent and personal biography of a Black Panther contrasts with the alienating propaganda of late-night television.

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Ten Bob in WinterTen Bob in Winter

Drama196312 mins Location: Westminster

An early classic of Black British cinema about the intriguing social dynamics that arise as a ten shilling note is passed around the black community.

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The London StoryThe London Story

Musical198616 mins Location: Waterloo Sta

Sally Potter's lively dance film about spies and government intrigue.

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Amelia and the AngelAmelia and the Angel

Amateur film195826 mins Location: South Kensington

A young angel scours London for her wings in this tender short by the young Ken Russell.

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The WatchersThe Watchers

Drama196926 mins Location: Todmorden

A Yorkshire teenager begins to see and hear strange things in this unsettling slice of 60s sci-fi.

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Drama201025 mins

A young woman attracts the attention of a street criminal after she prevents his gang from pick-pocketing.

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This TownThis Town

Documentary19698 mins Location: Halifax

An impressionistic portrait of Halfax from 1969, focusing on the demolition of factories and the continuing deprivation in the town.

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Never Come MorningNever Come Morning

Drama198912 mins Location: London

Johnny, a poetic loner, crosses paths with a young runaway woman and together they embark on an all-night, pulp fiction journey through London’s sleepy metropolis.

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Dead LondonDead London

Drama199620 mins Location: Farringdon Station

Ewan Bremner and Dexter Fletcher star as a pair of morbid fortune tellers in this modern tale of dark arts.

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Dead HungryDead Hungry

Comedy200910 mins

A hungry zombie finds love while terrorising teenage campers in this gruesome but fun twist on the zombie movie.

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Animation & Artists Moving Image197315 mins

An elderly man takes a hypnotic journey through his memories in the moments before his death.

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The Future Lasts a Long TimeThe Future Lasts a Long Time

Crime199614 mins Location: Fens, The

Dream-like short film starring Samantha Morton, in one of her earliest screen credits, as one half of a couple on the run who hide out in the Fens.

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The Chalk MarkThe Chalk Mark

198823 mins Location: Glasgow

Set in and around the tenement blocks and rubbish tips of the Glasgow slums, this short film depicts a young boy’s perspective of his family, his friends and the local ‘bad man’.

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Momma Don't AllowMomma Don't Allow

Documentary195621 mins Location: Wood Green

This lively profile of a night out at the Wood Green Jazz Club is one of the key works of Free Cinema, from directors Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson.

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Boy and BicycleBoy and Bicycle

Drama196528 mins Location: Hartlepool

Ridley Scott's first film features his younger brother, the late Tony Scott, as a schoolboy playing truant for the day to meander around Hartlepool on his bicycle, lost in his own thoughts.

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Refuge EnglandRefuge England

Drama195925 mins Location: London

A Hungarian refugee attempts to navigate 1950s London with no English, little money and only an address on a postcard for guidance.

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Drama195138 mins Location: Ammanford/Rhydaman

This drama-documentary about the everyday life of a Welsh caretaker and ex-miner was the first film produced by the BFI, in 1951.

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Animation & Artists Moving Image199141 mins Location: Limehouse

Deliciously dark psychodrama about a Docklands bus driver who turns his family home into a second Noah's ark.

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Animation & Artists Moving Image197014 mins Location: Brighton

A kaleidoscopic experimentation in colour, in which familiar Brighton locations are distorted and interspersed with imagery from adverts and film clips.

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Anton & MintyAnton & Minty

Fantasy199518 mins Location: Soho

Minty’s hobbies include drinking tea, smoking roll-ups and falling into a coma, while Anton dreams of clinically depressed sheep breaking into the house.

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Great Noises That Fill the AirGreat Noises That Fill the Air

Performance199027 mins

The Bow Gamelan Ensemble stage spectacular avant-garde musical shows.

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Drama201323 mins Location: London

A twisted short film from Stephen Fingleton, director of The Survivalist. A man obsessed with ‘voyeur pornography’ meets his match in the form of a photographer known only by his online username ANORAK.

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Things We Leave BehindThings We Leave Behind

Horror200916 mins

For whom does the bell toll? A man discovers a dreadful secret among his late father's belongings.

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The TelephoneThe Telephone

19814 mins

Ever dreamt of taking revenge on an unfaithful partner? The young woman in this film walks out on her boyfriend in style.

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Tomorrow's TodayTomorrow's Today

Animation & Artists Moving Image195815 mins

This is a picture that paints a picture, in appealing colour, of the life and times of the children of late '50s London.

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Aged Feet in a Carpet HallAged Feet in a Carpet Hall

Animation & Artists Moving Image19707 mins

Sparse chapters from a mysterious, lonely life are witnessed from a passing train.

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Weak and Wide AstrayWeak and Wide Astray

Comedy199119 mins

Dougray Scott made his film debut in this BFI-funded shaggy dog (and rabbit) story.

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Christmas PlayChristmas Play

195918 mins

Taking the lid off the creative process - of a group of theatrically-minded 11-year-olds as they stage the nativity.

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In SeparationIn Separation

Drama19655 mins

The powerful, multifaceted spirt and energies of the revolutionary 1960s are channelled in dynamic, monochrome microcosm.

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Film WithoutFilm Without

Animation & Artists Moving Image197643 mins

Mundane images are flipped, looped, reversed and interpolated to the sound of Monteverdi and other sonic textures.

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Bride and GroomBride and Groom

Animation & Artists Moving Image19557 mins

Newlyweds meet a nuisance in an enjoyable mix of cartoon comedy and real-life actors, including Roobarb legend Bob Godfrey.

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Exchange and DivideExchange and Divide

Animation & Artists Moving Image198049 mins

Divorce 1980s-style is examined by this BFI film in which, tellingly, only the deserted wife is denied a voice.

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A Walk Through H: The Reincarnation of an OrnithologistA Walk Through H: The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist

Animation & Artists Moving Image197842 mins

Peter Greenaway takes us on a mesmerising journey across mysterious fictional terrains.

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Value for MoneyValue for Money

Drama197022 mins Location: Aldeburgh

Coin-operated carnage on a Suffolk beach, in this dreamlike short backed by the BFI.

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Wind Vane IIWind Vane II

Animation & Artists Moving Image197529 mins

Gusts of wind on Hampstead Heath give shape to an exploratory film that seeks to present landscape in a different way.

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Deep Red Instant LoveDeep Red Instant Love

198812 mins

Budding romance and political subversion create a headache for the manager of Superstore in Rik Lander’s colourful satire on capitalism.

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Waiting For...Waiting For...

Documentary197011 mins

A young woman embarks on a filmmaking project when some mysterious men give her a camera and tell her to capture her everyday reality.

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Pictures on Pink PaperPictures on Pink Paper

Animation & Artists Moving Image198539 mins

Women question the 'natural' established order in Lis Rhodes' experimental film.

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The ExileThe Exile

19813 mins

Like plants, people can either thrive or wither when removed from their native soil, as this short film explores.

More Backed by BFI: Shorts in our Rentals collection.