Last night’s Bafta Film Awards not only honoured the finest features out this year, but movie making talent across short film, animation and documentary. Joining the cast and crew of Martin McDonagh’s brilliant Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri on the winners list are creatives in the lesser lauded categories that are worth keeping an eye on.
Of the nominated films for best British short animation, the winner was Poles Apart, a 12-minute stop motion film directed by Paloma Baeza. The British director and actor is a graduate of the National Film and Television school, where her work predominantly developed the stop motion puppeteered animation of Poles Apart, in projects such as Fit, an endearing snippet about loud neighbours, and The Conservationist, a dark comedy about a animal hunters. Paloma also co-wrote short film Watchmen with Cillian Murphy.
Poles Apart applies a similar aesthetic of her previous animations, using woollen puppets and subtle humour to tell the tale of a polar bear (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter) and a grizzly bear (voiced by Joseph May) forging an unlikely friendship in the Arctic. The puppets were made by Mackinnon and Saunders, who have made puppets for Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.
In the best British short film category, Colin O’Toole’s Cowboy Dave won for his short about a young boy’s chance encounter with an out-of-luck musician. Set in Manchester in 1991, it’s based on the director’s own experience aged 12, meeting The Mothmen’s Dave Rowbotham, who was known as Cowboy Dave, not long before his murder.
Colin’s past work includes short film The 10am, and documentary feature Let Us Be Golden as well as documentary shorts and drama for Channel 4 and 4Creative. He’s also directed music videos for Deadmaus and Ian Brown.
Meanwhile, outside the headline categories, best costume design went to Mark Bridges for Phantom Thread, best production design was awarded to Sarah Greenwood for Beauty and the Beast, and best special visual effects went to Blade Runner 2049. See the full list of winners here.