This week is best described as ‘emotional’ and one of our favourites. We appreciate this might not be the easiest block to watch, but for those of you willing to let your guard down – you will be rewarded with some absolutely beautiful films. Grab the tissues…

Buy tickets to watch these films at The Oxford International Short Film Festival here.

Sweet Release

(Canada, dir. Meeshelle Neal)
When the love of her life falls ill, a headstrong and passionate woman learns that keeping someone alive, at any cost, might not be worth it in the end. Sweet Release has been nominated in our Best LGBTQ+ film category.


(Italy, subtitles, Dir. Nicolas Morganti Patrignani)
How far would you be willing to push yourself for love? After a long and happy life spent together, Ludovico is coming to terms with the hard fact that his sick wife wants to die. The sacrifice is enormous; is he willing to accept the will of his beloved? Find out more on the Departures Facebook page here.


(UK, dir. Kayleigh Gibbons)
Expressive character animation about a Daughter and Father-figure coping with the loss of a central family member. They express their grief in opposite ways, and seek to proceed as a new family, smaller yet stronger. Featherweight has been nominated in our Best Animation and Best UK Film categories.

I Just Want You To Know

(Canada/Taiwan, dir. Kevin Feng)
Emotional and semi-autobiographical animation based on first time filmmaker Kevin Feng’s experience dealing with different stages of grief from losing his mother. I Just Want You To Know has been nominated in our Best Debut Film, Best Animation and Best International Film categories.


(UK, Dir. Grace Fox)
Tom Penhallow, a middle-aged Cornish fisherman, lives and works in the close-knit coastal fishing village of Coverack. Ferocious waves, responsible for taking away his only son, engulf his everyday life, leading to a debilitating fear of the sea – his only source of income supporting his ill wife.As debts begin to arise, and with his wife growing concerned over their financial stability, Tom forces himself to go back to work. However, as he stumbles into the harbour, his once familiar surroundings only start to intensify the guilt he has over his son’s death. To overcome his fear, he must open up to his wife and face the problems he has been repressing for too long. Find out more about Serpentine here.

Dorris 85 (UK Premiere)

(USA, dir. Grace Philips)
While trying to maintain composure and a sense of normalcy in a tough situation, Dorris Havemeyer struggles to keep up her spirits while celebrating a significant birthday. Dorris 85 receives nominations for Best Lead Actor (Chiz Schultz) and Best International Film.

Dorris 85


(UK, Dir. Rob Duffield)
They were BFFs, now they hardly speak. Can a cat cremation road trip save a friendship? A comedy short film about life, death and kitties. Inspired by writer Sally McIlhone’s real-life experiences with her best friend, Box asks: what happens to the bonds you forged as a student when you hit 30? When lives change and you become different people, does the friendship you had still exist? And, more importantly, is it worth saving? Some really nice interplay between the two friends Clara Paget (Black Sails) and Lily Loveless (Skins, The Royals). Box can be found on Instagram here.

Sophie’s Map

(UK, Dir. Maciej Stolarczyk)
Sophie’s Map is a short film about a young boy named Jamie, who goes on an adventure with his older sister Sophie one last time. They venture on to their favourite places, fighting monsters and avoiding lava and he finds precious artefacts along the way, in the same way his idol Indiana Jones would. The strength of a child’s imagination is a great superpower, taking Jamie on big adventures like this one, but also forcing Jamie to comprehend his own feelings and understand what it means to let go. Nominated in the Best Young Performer award category. Find out more about Sophie’s Map here.

Sophie's Map - Behind The Scenes
Sophie’s Map – Behind The Scenes

Her Name Was Baby

(France, subtitles, dir. Laurent Helas)
They’re old Zé and Baby. And they’re in love. That was true yesterday; it’ll be true tomorrow. But there’s an intruder trying to drive them apart. A nasty little beast. A crab. While Zé ceaselessly battles the animal, Baby tries to tame it. Her name was Baby tells the improbable end of a great love story.

Her Name Was Baby


(UK, Dir. Richard Prendergast)
In a heartbeat, the things we hold dearest can so easily be stripped away. Music, ice-cream and games, Sylvia is the story of a normal family road trip. However, as the journey continues, a sense of anxiety suggests that all is not as it seems. When the final destination is reached, the heart-breaking conclusion of this true story is revealed; it is one that will stay with you forever. This film features an amazing lead performance from Jolie Lennon – enough to earn her an award nomination for best actress. The film is also nominated in the best UK film category. Find out more about Sylvia here.