The Joy of Six

Dir: Douglas Hart, Will Jewell, Dan Sully, Romola Garai, Chris Foggin, Matthew Holness | UK | 2012 | 73 mins | 15

Distributor: Soda Pictures

Soda Pictures continue their experiments in film distribution, with their next New British Cinema Quarterly (NBCQ) release, a package of six homegrown short films; Joy Of Six.

Despite being the most active (and arguably the most artistically fruitful) form for filmmakers in the UK, where ideas are tested, and imaginations are explored outside the limitations of commercial structures, short film is often treated as a poor cousin to the feature film.

There are many reasons why cinemas can be reticent about screening shorts. Revenue from advertising mean little time is available before features, there are also so many short films, mainly self-distributed by filmmakers themselves, that it can seem difficult to know where to start to source quality shorts that are appropriate to the cinema’s programme. Then there are issues of technical formats and certification. Compilation programmes of short films are also seen as a tough sell for audiences not familiar with the pleasures of the format, and most are made by unknown directors, with unfamiliar casts. But none of these issues is insurmountable, and for programmers willing to make the effort, audiences can gain access to the brightest filmmaking talent currently pushing the medium forward.

Joy of Six offers a ready-made DCP programme of award-winning shorts, including several name directors and stars, such as the directorial debut of Romola Garai and appearances from Peter Mullan and Dame Judi Dench. For cinemas interested in building audiences for the form, the package acts as a good accessible introduction, and with their NBCQ roadshow-style of having filmmakers present for Q&As, this also encourages engagement with local filmmakers in the area.

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