Sunderland Shorts Film Festival Recap 2023

Sunderland Shorts Film Festival Recap 2023

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Thursday, 2nd November 2023
Photography by Wycombe 89 Media


After 7 days and over 160 shorts films and music videos, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival 2023 has came to a close after another year of growth and great reviews

Now in it's 8th year, 2023 was Sunderland Shorts Film Festival's biggest and most ambitious yet, and while it wasn't without its challenges from venue closures and other effects of Storm Babet, Festival Director Chris J. Allan has said: "it brought some of the biggest highlights of the whole Festival we have had since we launched back in 2015."

The 2023 festival was opened with a phenomenal selection of films at Seventeen Nineteen, in partnership with the Yorkshire and North East Film Archives which was followed by a conversation between Emma Nagouse (BBC Radio 4's You're Dead to Me) and Graeme Thompson MBE (Royal Television Society) which was chaired by Graham Relton. 


A further 20 screenings took place on a tour of local venues including the Fire Station, Arts Centre Washington  as well as a sold out closing night at Pop Recs. 


As well as the festival's genre focused screenings, a special showcase from local production company Candle and Bell, in celebration of their 10th anniversary and recent collaboration with Sky Arts as well as collaborations with the BFI Academy, Film Hub North's Northern Exposure, a comedy night with fantastic stand-up from Felt Nowt and a live performance from YMP at our Music Video showcase.


There was a Sunderland Shorts Film Festival first with a relaxed screening run in collaboration with Beacon Films CIC where the team shared some of their new work alongside a selection from OSKA Bright Film Festival.

In addition to the largest selection of screenings yet, the festival offered several networking events and industry workshops, covering a range of topics including Film Festivals and Mental Health with Rebekah Louisa Smith as well as a Screenwriting Masterclass from Len Collin (Eastenders, The Bill, Sanctuary). 


All of this resulted in Sunderland Shorts Film Festival welcoming their highest ever audience numbers across the week, highlighting not only the success of the organisation and the team working on it's delivery, but also the growth  surrounding audiences in the North East who are creating and consuming the content as part of an expanding community. 

This year Sunderland Shorts received BIFA (British Independent Film Awards) Qualifying Status as well as entering the Top 100 Best Reviewed Festival on industry site FilmFreeway. 


On this, and highlighting the efforts of those involved in this year's Sunderland Shorts, Festival Director Chris J. Allan has said:

"These are huge honours for us and it really means a lot being recognised for our work in sharing the best films here in the North East. Along with our dedicated volunteers who make the festival such a success every year, we were also joined by guest judges Mina Anwar (Actor & Director), Len Collin (Writer & Director), Samantha Castro (Filmmaker & Founder of the Newcastle Film Club), Frankie Francis (Musician & Presenter), Gavin Williams (Writer & Director), Carol Lynn (Filmmaker) and Andy Dawson (Writer & Podcaster), who we were delighted to have with us in helping pick our winning films.

We're excited to continue bringing exciting screen opportunities to the region along with Film Hub North as part of the Sunderland Spotlight project and as we continue to plan for next year's edition of the film festival."


Sunderland Shorts Film Festival will return in 2024 and until then, you can find out more about the festival and see which films were chosen as the 2023 winners here:


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After 7 days and over 160 shorts films and music videos, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival 2023 has came to a close after another year of growth and great reviews