Phoebe Graham previews the public release of LIFELINE, the award-winning short film written and directed by Bristol student, Sam Jones.
The unstoppable gossip of last night’s (almost) Oscar winners will be flooding papers, screens and newsfeeds all over the globe.
So to mark the end of the period of debating and celebrating the most acclaimed pictures of the past year by the biggest names in the industry, it’s sobering to take a quick glimpse at the emerging talent that will generate the next batch of Oscar hopefuls.
And one of those hopefuls studies at this very University. Sam Jones, first year Theatre and English student, has just released a 10-minute short film made from a £5,000 grant from the prestigious British Film Institute for the ‘most promising filmmaker under 25’.
LIFELINE, written and directed by Jones when he was just 17, tells the post-apocalyptic story of a mother who ‘finds herself in a desperate situation and is forced to do something drastic to provide her son with one final lifeline’.
Pushing our understanding of motherhood to its dystopian extreme, LIFELINE asks how far we will go to save the ones we love. It effortlessly expresses the gritty reality of selflessness and glows with a natural rawness, whilst managing to avoid saccharine over-sentimentalism.
The short has already been distributed throughout Oscar/BAFTA qualifying film festivals in the USA, Belgium and the UK. Earning an array of accolades, ranging from People’s Choice Award with IndieFlicks and Best Student Film at Nottingham International Festival, the critics have hailed it as ‘one of the best short films of the year’ (UK Film Review).
Jones emphasizes the importance of a powerful story to drive the craft of good filmmaking, but also aims to challenge himself by creating something different with every film he makes, embracing the given freedom to ‘create any world, any characters, any story’.
While at Bristol, Jones has also started to explore the neighbouring creative field of theatre directing to inspire an invigorated approach to filmmaking. Having just directed Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge for DramSoc’s most coveted show slot of the year, he remarks that ‘what I learnt from theatre is how the audience are much more willing to suspend their disbelief and so a theme, moment or idea can be fully explored on stage’.
— UK Film Review (@UKFReview) January 13, 2017
As well as wishing to inject this creative ethos into the practice of filmmaking, Jones looks to simultaneously develop as a theatre director, using his knowledge of film to ‘create things which are more visual on stage’ and allowing the two art forms to bleed into one another.
From a budget of £10 for his previous film, O2, bumped up to a £5,000 fully-funded grant from the BFI, only time can reveal the heights that Jones will reach through every new project.
With another short film, a short documentary and even a DocuDance film on the horizon, you can find out more about the work of the up-and-coming filmmaker at www.samjonesfilms.com.