Graduates from Edinburgh College of Art’s Film and TV department are behind three of the short films at Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) this year: Close to the Bone by Kevin Pickering and Lewis Wardrop (both BA [Hons] 2013), 1745 by Gordon Napier (MFA 2015) and In Place by Genevieve Bicknell (MFA 2010).

Close to the Bone by Kevin Pickering is a short psychological drama that tells the story of Ben, who faces a complex eating disorder that is damaging his relationship with his girlfriend Zoe. At breaking point, he must find a way to overcome the dark and horrific childhood memories of his abusive father, allowing him to take the first tentative steps towards moving his life forward.

The film was commissioned through the Scottish Film Talent Network’s (SFTN) New Talent Shorts 2016 scheme with support from Hopscotch Films, Creative Scotland, and the BFI NET.WORK.

As Lewis explains, “The support we received from everyone at SFTN and our executive producer at Hopscotch Films really helped us to make the film as strong as it could be. We were very lucky to have an extremely talented cast and crew which made production of the film a fantastic experience and a lot of fun!”

“Since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2013, Kevin and I have continued to make short films together, Kevin as writer/director and me as producer. For Close to the Bone we felt the next step should be to try and get funding in order to make the film technically to a high-standard and to be able to reach a wider audience. We were both really excited when we found out we had been commissioned by SFTN and are very happy with how the film has turned out.”

'1745' gets it world premiere at this month's EIFF
Directed by 2015 MFA graduate Gordon Napier

Being selected for EIFF feels like a great achievement, it’s a festival that does a lot to champion new Scottish talent and we’re privileged to be screening alongside lots of brilliant films.

Lewis Wardrop, Film and Television - BA (Hons) graduate

Set in the Scottish Highlands, Gordon Napier’s 1745 shines a light onto Scotland’s role in the transatlantic slave trade and tells the story of two African slave sisters' pursuit of freedom. The sisters must survive the wilderness whilst being chased by their Master through an epic and elemental backdrop at a turbulent time in Scotland’s history.

Genevieve Bicknell’s In Place was commissioned by the Edinburgh Self Harm Project, which is part of the mental health charity Penumbra. The project supports people to stop or reduce self-harm and the film was made for use in awareness raising sessions. In Place is an exploration of the places we go and the things we do to find comfort, no matter the costs.

Genevieve said, “I think the film works because the three people we follow are brilliant storytellers. They lead us through it, challenging us, helping us make connections, and allowing us to come to our own conclusions. I hope it's a film that provokes questions rather than gives answers.”

Genevieve continued, "It's great that it's going to be screened at EIFF as it's going to reach a different audience, including people who might not have thought much about mental health before."

Close to the Bone and 1745 will receive their world premieres at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017 and are in competition for the Best Short Film Award.

In Place by Genevieve Bicknell
Image courtesy of Genevieve Bicknell
Still from 'In Place' by 2010 MFA alumna Genevieve Bicknell
Still from 'Close to the Bone' directed by Kevin Pickering and produced by Lewis Wardrop
Image courtesy of Lewis Wardrop
Still from 'Close to the Bone' directed by Kevin Pickering and produced by Lewis Wardrop

You can see Close to the Bone and 1745 as part of the Shorts: From Scotland strand on Friday 30 June at 18:25 or Saturday 1 July at 18:10 at Cineworld Cinema, Fountainbridge. The world premiere of In Place is part of Shorts : UK Spectrum screening on Friday 23 June 18:00.