A new series of short films exploring what it means to be free
Films screened on Sky Arts (Freeview Channel 11) on 16th and 23rd May at 11pm
On consecutive Monday evenings later this month, Sky Arts will screen Unlocked, a new series of ten short films, featuring Coventry’s brightest talents.
Late last year, following a tumultuous time of lockdowns and reduced experiences, Sky Arts awarded commissions to ten artists, to create a new series of short films on the subject of freedom. Now, the ten new films, encompassing drama, dance, poetry, love, despair, imprisonment, freedom and celebration are to be seen on screen for the first time.
Coventry artists bring their stories to national audiences
In a unique collaboration, and in recognition of Coventry’s year as the UK’s City of Culture, Sky Arts partnered with Arts Council England, Coventry City of Culture Trust, The Space and the city’s emerging artist platform, Shoot Festival, to discover and unlock the potential of ten diverse Coventry artists, providing them with an opportunity to tell, to national audiences, new, insightful stories about the world in which we live.
‘Unlocked’ brings the observations and preoccupations of a wide range of Coventry artists to our homes. The concept of ‘freedom’ being one of the City of Culture’s main themes, each artist was invited to submit their ideas for short films responding to the question ‘what does it mean to be free?’ Chosen from an open-call, each successful artist received bespoke mentoring and support from industry professionals, helping them to create new digital broadcast content.
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts said: “We really have been impressed by the films, they’re all so rich in narrative and diverse in nature. From spoken word that examines masculinity and self-expression to poignant dramas that move between despair, humour and love, the films truly have unlocked an enormous amount of creative talent from across the Coventry region. I’m delighted that Sky Arts is able to provide a platform on which we can showcase and celebrate their stories.”
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director of the Coventry City of Culture Trust said: “This selection of new short films represent many different voices and views of the world, from a range of Coventry based creatives – stories that are local but global in their resonance. Full of heart, they reveal the soul of our city. I am thrilled to have collaborated with Sky Arts, Shoot and The Space as we continue to test the future of storytelling for TV in Coventry and unlock so much rich talent from our city.”
Shoot Festival Co-Artistic Directors Jen Davis and Paul O’Donnell said: “We have always proudly championed the artists who call Coventry and Warwickshire home and it is enormously exciting to be supporting these creatives as they showcase their extraordinary talents on an incredible national platform.”
To be screened on 16 May at 11pm:
Irish, Blacks & Dogs – 8 mins 28
Unrestrained – 6 mins 56
Other (Please Specify) – 8 mins 57
Devi – 6 mins 44
Birds – 9 mins 24
To be screened on 23 May at 11pm:
Widow’s Might – 9 mins 49
Out Out – 9 mins 26
On These Streets We Shine – 6 mins 20
It Starts With Me – 6 mins 37
Sent to Cov – 7 mins 50
More about the films
• Irish, Blacks & Dogs by Jack Norris: An ageing Irish immigrant with prejudiced views suffers a fall. When a young black paramedic comes to his aide; he is forced to confront his worldview.
• Unrestrained by Ascension Dance (Choreographed by Ashley Jordan / Performed by Jess Dowdeswell & Ben Morley): UNRESTRAINED combines movement from dance and parkour in an inclusive manner to demonstrate the strength we have as humans and the beauty in creating space for bodies of all types. UNRESTRAINED embellishes on a love for movement to create a duet with that has 2 people swinging, climbing and catching, demonstrating a joy from freedom of movement, and showing that with thought, nothing is impossible.
• Other (Please Specify) by Ayesha Jones: Exploring how the mixed heritage experience can help us break free from otherness and the social constructs of “race”, Other (Please Specify) draws on the lived experience of those who have parents that originate from different places.
• Devi by Hannah Kumari: A woman stuck in a cycle of addiction finds hope in an unlikely place. Inspired by Hannah’s personal story.
• Birds by Susie Sillett: Birds takes place in the aftermath of Kediye’s unexpected arrest, told from the perspective of his partner Sophia who is suddenly alone with limited contact. An intimate and honest exploration of the impact of prison of both inmates and their loved ones: this is a story of love, resilience and hope.
• Widow’s Might by Alexandra Johnson: A Coventry woman has given everything up looking after her dying husband of over 40 years. He long ago stopped being the man she married. She loves him absolutely, yet his death unlocks her life.
• Out Out by Sarah Worth and Highly Sprung: A bold new dance film that unlocks the voices of Coventry’s LGBTQIA+ community. Bringing to the mainstream voices that are often hidden, in a celebration of togetherness and coming out.
• On These Streets We Shine by Emilie Lauren Jones: A spoken word celebration focusing on the importance of community groups across the country. This short film shines a light on clubs consisting of drummers, bird-watchers, gaelic footballers and more, and reflects on the positive impact these groups have on the individuals who are part of them.
• It Starts With Me by Boaz Adelekan: An exploration of the difficulties of manhood through the spoken word. A young black man reflects on the stabbing of his friend, but can identifying his greatest fears and discovering his ‘why’ enable him to be free?
• Sent to Cov by Tom Wright: A young queer woman nervously brings her loving but boujee partner back to her hometown of Coventry for the very first time.