Screen took its place on Film London’s Best of Borough Awards jury this year with a sense of pride

Screen International took its place on the Film London’s BoBs jury this year with a sense of pride: the Best of Borough Awards for short films shot across London has a reputation for excellence and the 11 low-budget entries this year were of a very high standard across the board (many will now be shown in the London Film Festival’s shorts programme).

But there has to be a winner, no? The awards ceremony took place Wednesday night at BAFTA in Picadilly, where Film London head Adrian Wooton and BoBs patron, director Gurinder Chadha handed over the audience prize to the adorable Jimmy Will Play (from the borough of Redbridge) by Mawaan Rizwan, and the Jury award to the enigmatic Moments, by Ida Akesson (Barking and Dagenham), each taking home £2,000 in cash, most of which they probably already owe on their credit cards.

Special Jury mentions went to Jimmy Will Play and Walk Tall by Kate Sullivan (the other jury members were Stephen Woolley,
the BFI’s Chris Collins and producer Olivier Kaempfer).

Coincidentally, all winners were from East London and supported by the Eastern Edge fund.

Entrants to the BoBs can apply for between £500 and £4,000 in funding from the London boroughs which participate, and, in thesecash-strapped times, they certainly got value for money. Sullivan even pulled off an almost-three-minute tracking shot in Walk Tall, which is ‘bang for your buck’ no matter where you shoot it. And it seemed as though every single member of Mawaan Rizwan’s family took an active role in Jimmy Will Play, with many of them coming onstage to help him receive his prizes – the first, we suspect, of many. The fact it was Chadha presenting the award only served to highlight the infectious line between her Bend It Like Beckham and the crowdpleasing spirit of Jimmy Will Play.

Apart from the winners, Screen was particularly taken by Jasmine (Sonia Castang, Lewisham), Meconium (Roseanne Flynn, Haringey) and Long Distance Information (Douglas Hart, Wandsworth), which stars the ever-supportive Peter Mullan - all of which will play in LFF. Over in micro-short land, “Film London in 90 seconds” was won by The Birdcage (Jamie Jones, Hackney by Jamie Jones, who pulled off some great images on a wing, a prayer, and £500.

As times get tougher, the BoBs are an energising illustration of how much can be done for very little: they notched up 13,500 views online while they were available, so they’re worth taking time out for if they ever come your way.