BFI Flare: Shorts

The Tumbler

“Charming” isn’t a word that gets a lot of use in the film journalism space. This may be because the medium is filled to the brim with talk of blockbusters and darker, artsier pieces, but when it does finally make an appearance, it’s well deserved. Such is the case with director Savannah Knoop’s newest short film The Tumbler.

It’s a simple premise with a couple of Gen Z hackers preying on their next millenial victims in an unassuming parking lot. There’s tension and assumption on both sides, with the millennials expecting slightly older hackers and the Gen Zers expecting easy targets but this proves not to be the case for either group.

The four main leads do an excellent job of capturing the attitudes of their characters whether it be apathy, excitement, or nervousness which allows for a connection with the audience in a short amount of time. The camera is handheld which allows for further ease of access to the story as if the audience is the third wheel along for the ride whilst the lack of score allows the natural ambiance to shine through.


Familial relationships can be difficult for queer people. Relatives may find it difficult to understand why someone has “chosen” to live a gay lifestyle and may even cut people off. It can be extraordinarily difficult but Palestinian director Saleh Saadi’s directorial debut Borekas explores the father-son dynamic in particular.

The short film features a son and his father reconnecting after their car breaks down on the way to the airport. The majority of the plot sees the son determined to call a taxi whilst his father is determined that he can fix the car in time but, as with many family disputes, it’s not actually the car that’s the issue. The real issue lies deeper, in the father feeling like his son doesn’t want to speak to him, despite still talking to his mother.

There’s such a culture of men not discussing their feelings and this film makes it clear that it’s a global issue. Yes, the film is short and seemingly simple, but it’s the kind of story that needs telling.

Birthday Boy

Some parents live in deep denial when it comes to their children. For queer people especially, their lifestyles can go totally ignored. This is particularly difficult for trans people who may have to go through celebrations having their identity completely glossed over. Birthdays can be difficult enough on their own but when it includes being constantly deadnamed and misgendered, it’s an exhausting and upsetting experience.

This short Panamanian film from director Judith Corro perfectly encapsulates that experience by showing a Trans man dealing with his 18th birthday. The only member of his family to support him is his brother, with his mother buying him a dress to wear to mark the occasion. The film opens with almost a full minute of a tone ringing out, which really captures the numbing feeling of trying to make it through this kind of life.