Exclusive: We reveal BIFA 2021 best UK shorts list



For many years, HeyUGuys has partnered with our good friends at BIFA to celebrate and champion the best of British independent cinema. With the 2021 British Independent Film Awards arriving in early December, we are proud to announce the list of the best British short films.

We’ll take a look at the nominated films here, and five of them will be on the nominations list, which will be announced on BIFA’s social media on November 3. As always, the winners will be announced at the BIFA ceremony, which will be held this year on December 5, 2021.

It’s always a pleasure to celebrate the best of short film from this country, and these nominees remind us of the variety of visions and voices that operate today.

The BIFA Best British Short Film Award is proud to be backed by BFI Network, which exists to discover, support, develop and advocate for new filmmakers.

Here are the nominees for BIFA 2021’s Long List for Best British Short Film.


United Kingdom 2021 13 min.

Director / Screenwriter: Daniel Robert Hope, Producer: Johannes Schubert

Actors: Julian Barratt, Julia Davis

Battling the wilderness and his own ego, Bill struggles to impress Deb with sub-par outdoor skills and shocking demeanor, until their last camping trip takes a grim turn.

BIFA voters said: “Wonderful entertainment and a truck full of fun. I think there is real talent here.



United Kingdom 2021 15 min

Director / Writer: Olive Nwosu, Producer: Alex Polunin

Actors: Sheila Chukwulozie, Teniola Aladese

In search of healing, a young woman returns home to Nigeria, her country of birth.

Comments from BIFA voters include: “Mysterious, haunting, divine feminine, thoughtful and sensitively filmed and framed. Really special.


WOMENUnited Kingdom 2021 18 min

Director / Writer: Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping, Producers: Sam Ritzenberg, Hayley Williams, Rienjke Attoh

Actors: Paapa Essiedu, Harris Dickinson

Jordan is a gay woman – a label he proudly wears. But every time he leaves the house with his lipstick on, he remembers his father’s stern warning: the world will always be a dangerous place for a boy like him …

BIFA voters noted that the short film was: “Mysterious, bewitching, divine feminine, thoughtful and sensitively filmed and framed.” Really special.

See the WOMEN trailer and learn more about the court here.


By loveUnited Kingdom 2021 13 min.

Director / Writer: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Producer: Emily Morgan

Actors: Ann Akinjirin, Marcy Dolapo Oni, Damola Adelaja, Diana Yekinni

Nkechi, an illegal immigrant, who has been in hiding for three years, lives with his girlfriend Martha and their two other friends Dolapo and Tolu. When immigration randomly checks Dolapo, Nkechi and Martha are both forced to make decisions about their love and future together.


Hang onUnited Kingdom 2021 10 min.

Director: Alfie Barker, Producer: Hollie Bryan

In a neighborhood united in the face of eviction, this creative documentary reminds us of the struggles of those who pass through the cracks of society and explores what it means to have a home.

BIFA voters said, “I really love creative visualization. Insightful window on a community that doesn’t really make its voice heard.


Know the grassUnited Kingdom 2021 14 min.

Director / Screenwriter: Sophie Littman, Producer: Lorine Plagnol

Actors: Conrad Khan, India Fowler, Annabel Hill

Mattie has dreamlike premonitions which she is encouraged to ignore by her older brother Marco who desperately seeks her to take a different path from their mother – a figure absent behind a curtain. But not everything can be controlled …


Night of living dreadUnited Kingdom 2021 11 min.

Director: Ida Melum, Writers: Laura Jayne Tunbridge, Hannah Kelso, Producer: Danielle Goff

Actors: Jessica Dennis, Stephen Fry

When a power outage ruins Ruby’s bedtime routine, she finds herself haunted by unwanted guests. The only way Ruby can get a peaceful night’s sleep is to confront her visitors.

BIFA voters loved it: “Great character design and animation. Humor and emotional rhythms land.


Play it safeUnited Kingdom 2020 13 min

Director / Writer: Mitch Kalisa, Producer: Chris Toumazou

Actors: Jonathan Ajayi, Heather Heather, Kate Ovenden, Charlie O’Connor, Louis Richards, Grace Daly, Lauren Raisbeck, Emily Seale Jones

Moved to his middle-class drama school and cataloged for a black thug role, Jonathan decides to demonstrate to his peers that their unconscious racism is just as impactful as those who proudly carry their intolerance.

BIFA voters said: “Fantastic. The subtext, the movement, the cinematography, the performance all work wonderfully to create a compelling story. “


Precious hair and beautyUnited Kingdom 2021 11 min

Director / Writer: John Ogunmuyiwa, Producers: Sophia Gibber, Tony Longe, Lene Bausager

Actors: Tomi Ogunjobi

An ode to the banality and madness of the main street, told through the window of an African hairdressing salon.

BIFA voters said: “An interesting, fun and authentic portrayal of a slice of life from a focal point for the black community.”


CLASSESUnited Kingdom 2021 11min.

Director / Writer: Ruth Greenberg, Producers: Helen Gladders, Ivana MacKinnon

Actors: Niamh Algar, Barney White.

A woman’s morning run takes a dark turn …

BIFA voters called it a “visceral and tense film”.


Soft animalsUnited Kingdom 2021 3 min.

Writer Director Renee Zhan, Producer Jesse Romain

Actors: Paul Panting, Joanna Ruiz.

Two ex-lovers meet in a train station …

BIFA voters loved the short film’s “animation style” and “abstract moments”.

You can see the Soft Animals trailer here.


Such small handsUnited Kingdom 2021 19 min.

Director / Writer: Maria Martinez Bayona, Producer: Tom Wood

Actors: Sophie Mulhall.

At the girls’ orphanage, the group’s uncontrolled pack mentality alienates a newcomer. To tip the balance of power, she invents a manipulative nocturnal game.

BIFA voters said: “The shoot here is really impressive and confident.”


TIC KnockUnited Kingdom 2020 22 min.

Director: Mark Waters, Producers: Jeff Hordley, Zoe Henry

During the sixteen years that Felix Sanderson grew up, he had to contend with the unpredictable and all-consuming nature of Tourette’s Disorder, while also navigating the usual tribulations of adolescence.

BIFA voters said: “It was a brilliantly directed, compassionate and carefully crafted documentary.”


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