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SHORT FOCUS FILM FESTIVAL 2023: A selection of top works from bright and creative minds.

Every once in a while, something refreshingly different comes along that not only piques your interest but manages to hold it. And this year’s Short Focus Film Festival does exactly this from the moment you learn what Tommies are in the opening piece to the closing catharsis that comes from crafting clay penises. Intrigued? You should be.

'Tommies' [Brian Fairbairn/Karl Eccleston, UK, 2022]

The annual Short Focus Film Festival, organised by Frame Light and now in its sixth year, presents a selection of top works from bright and creative minds.

Dean Archibald-Smith and Aya Ishizuka, my brother and sister-in-law, are the team behind the festival who have painstakingly plucked the best content from the portfolios of independent short filmmakers worldwide.

This year’s five programmes feature an eclectic mix of period drama, documentary, classic narration and incredible animation.

'A Perfect Balance of Absolute Chaos' [Carl Woods, UK, 2023]

The films will engage you, as A Perfect Balance of Absolute Chaos does with its insightful and fascinating journey into the mind of elite Paralympian Rob Oliver. It documents what it took for him to compete at Olympic level at the 2016 Rio Games.

The films are inspiring, such as the beautifully shot (and told) story of Maud Rowell in Picturing Wonderland, who talks of her experience of degenerative blindness. Her explanation of what colour means to her is powerful and heartfelt.

'Picturing Wonderland' [Alfie Elms, UK, 2022]

They are also moving, such as Scale, an adaptation of Will Self’s 1995 book of the same name. The story of a tormented man grappling with a crippling opioid addiction is told through strikingly beautiful animation.

The titles are thought-provoking and stirring, with some being quite harrowing – just watch Boy in the Back Seat and try not to be shocked, disturbed or moved.

'Scale' [Joseph Pierce, France, 2022]

All of the short films are stunningly shot and presented by masters of the medium and their craft. So, break out the popcorn, plop down on a beanbag or your favourite floor cushion, play programmes one to five and enjoy some seriously stunning cinema.

And when you’re done, find out more about the people behind the films and what the works mean to them by tuning into the Q&A sessions. Happy viewing.


For more information on this year’s festival visit:

For more information on the organisation and an interview with co-founder Dean Archibald-Smith visit:


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