Shorts can still be a long road to features

Previous noms Daldry, Yates made smooth transition

A theme running through this year’s lineup of BAFTA-nommed shorts is how youngsters struggle to find their place in the world. It seems to run parallel to the struggle of shorts filmmakers to break into features — the Holy Grail for most. Can a BAFTA shorts win or nom open doors for emerging talent?

An examination of past BAFTA shorts winners and nominees suggest the odds are not that great. However, there are some notable exceptions — Stephen Daldry (“Billy Elliot”) was nommed in 1998 for his short “Eight” and David Yates (“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”) was considered in 2002 for “Rank.”

Polish helmer Tomek Baginski, a nominee this year for “Fallen Art,” hopes that the exposure can act as a springboard into features. “I know also that winning something doesn’t mean that I can stop worrying, or that everything will be simple, but of course it gives a chance for faster progress,” says Baginski, who was Oscar-nommed for his debut short “The Cathedral” (2003), but has yet to helm a feature.

Another aspiring features helmer, Avie Luthra, made “Lucky,” about an AIDS orphan living in a Zulu village, primarily to draw attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa. “I was spending my weekends going to funerals of 20-year-olds we knew who were dying from AIDS,” he says.

“Heavy Metal Drummer” writer/co-director Luke Morris says, “Nominations open doors and are a great endorsement, but ultimately you still have to get in the room with a great idea and the ability to execute it.” Pic, about a group of persecuted headbangers in the Arab world, is Morris’ second BAFTA nom. His debut, “Je t’aime John Wayne,” was nommed four years ago.

“Film Noir” director Osbert Parker speaks for the optimist in most nominees when he says, “I wouldn’t expect it to automatically get me funding for a feature. However, if you win and you rub your award hard enough, who knows what may happen!”

Over to the BAFTA genie.

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