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Shakespeare Shorts: Winners

See who has fought off the competition to win acclaim in our short film festival

2020 Winners

Best interpretation of a passage from Shakespeare (up to 10 mins)

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, Horatio directed by Keeghan vanderWater

Kenneth Branagh said: 

"This was such a complete film. The idea of a world for this play where music, and stimulants of every other kind, fed and led the madness, was very enfolding. Characters who were lost, and reckless, and hurting, interwove with a real sense of underlying melancholy, which all the nightclub verve, energy and coolness could not remove.

A real achievement to set that sadness so palpably underneath all this hip-ness. It was a highly imaginative, titanically compressed account of the play, which worked very strongly in its own terms.

Very well acted, with music and sound perfectly pitched to serve and enrich the concept. Impressive."

Best film inspired by Shakespeare (up to 10 mins)

Out Spot! directed by Steven Fox

Kenneth Branagh said:

"This is a really confident, kinetic pocket-epic. The images are bold, the colour palette is striking. The relish for a gothic psychology underlying this murderous nightmare is wonderfully explored. It’s another visually striking, beautifully integrated account in miniature, of the play’s ferocious energy.

Performances of urgent intensity light up the film like the garish grab of the spectacular exteriors. A Shakespeare short that catches you by the throat and does not let go."

Best Shakespeare themed Animation (up to 5 mins) and
Overall Winner of Shakespeare Shorts 2020

Romeo and Juliet? directed by Shalimova Julia

Kenneth Branagh said:

"In a wildly impressive competition where there really shouldn’t be any winners, this film just about nabs the glittering prize.

It is witty, imaginative and subversive. It puts a smile on your face, encourages you to believe that you will know what happens next, and how this treatment will present it, and then it really surprises you by doing things differently.

Perhaps its major achievement is to make Shakespeare seem such fun (it is of course - but we don’t always feel that).

There is a permanent smile on the face through this retro festival that glories in the games from which it springs, the classic whose story it sweetly unfolds, and in - no other word for it - the ‘joy’ of the form.

Brevity is the soul of its wit. A small, perfectly formed gem."

Want to see more?

Hear more feedback from our judges and watch all 9 of the 2020 shortlisted films in full on our YouTube channel.

2018 Winners

Best film inspired by Shakespeare (up to 15 mins)
Macbeth: A Fury directed by Phil Shea and Justin Daering.

Kenneth Branagh said: "Takes the audience by the scruff of the neck, and refuses to let go. This was visceral, raw, and impactful."

Best Shakespeare themed Animation (up to 3 mins)
Romeo & Juliet in 3 minutes directed by Cassidy Cash.

Kenneth Branagh said: 'Delivers precisely on its title, and in so doing has dash, and wit, and (as you might expect), economy.'

Best interpretation of a passage from Shakespeare (up to 10 mins)
Othello directed by Martin Denham.

Kenneth Branagh said: 'Visually impressive, and even lush, it has great maturity cinematically, and becomes a full blooded account of the green eyed monster that is jealousy.'

Overall Winner 2018: Macbeth: A Fury

Kenneth Branagh said: 'All three are excellent pieces of work and I am so impressed by them and so happy to have seen them. If there must be a winner, then first among equals would be Phil Shea, for an in-your-face Macbeth that makes you think and makes you feel - scared!'

2017 Winners

Best local film maker 
Ophelia by Savanna Spika

Savanna’s film is a hard hitting look at the struggles a modern day Ophelia might face.

Best film inspired by Shakespeare 
Ophelia by Caterina Picone

Caterina’s film explores what happens when method acting takes over the actor.

Best interpretation of a passage from Shakespeare 
Richard III by Mona Zaidi 

Mona’s entry is a surreal adaptation of Richard III mixing film and animation

Best Shakespeare themed animation 
Shakespearean Women Part 4 by Fin McMorran

One of a series of short witty commentaries on women in Shakespeare inspired by woodcuts of the time. 

Best young UK film maker
Et Tu by Emma Parkinson

Emma's entry explores the use and misuse of power and wins the chance to participate in Chanel 4’s Random Acts programme with our partner Rural Media.

Overall winner 2017: Ophelia by Savanna Spika

All these films, plus a selection of highly commended films, were screened at the Shakespeare Film Festival at Shakespeare's New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon. 

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