p>On 10 October, IWM (UK's Imperial War Museums) unveiled details of this year's IWM Short Film Festival, following a record year of entries. The free daytime screenings, taking place at IWM London from 17-26 November, will showcase nearly 40 shortlisted films that explore war, conflict and oppression through the lens of animation, documentaries and creative pieces.

This year, for the first time, screenings at IWM Short Film Festival will be presented in a new format, inspired by the complex ideas provoked by the entries. Films have been divided into themes such as hope, sacrifice, and trauma, encouraging audiences to reflect on the films, their perspectives and their significance. In addition to these free daytime screenings, a series of ticketed evening events will also be on offer, with more detail on these events to be announced soon.

In 2017, IWM Short Film Festival has seen nearly 700 entries across 78 different countries, which is a record for the festival. Running since 2001, and now in its sixteenth year, the festival encourages entrants from students, amateurs and professionals alike to present imaginative and challenging films relating to IWM's remit to understand the causes, course and consequences of war.

IWM is proud to also announce a new patron of the Short Film Festival, Lord David Puttnam, best known for producing Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields. The festival will be judged by a respected panel of experts from the film industry, including Kevin Loader, producer of Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and contemporary artist Shona Illingworth, who is exhibiting in IWM London's exhibition Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11.  

Matt Lee, IWM Short Film Festival Director says, “The sheer amount of entries for this year's IWM Short Film Festival was incredible, and it is a testament to the quality of the submissions that we have a shortlist of nearly 40 powerful and provocative films – more than any we've ever showcased previously. We're very excited to be presenting the films thematically, as we feel it allows new and stimulating ways for audiences to engage with the topic matter. Films featuring this year are as varied and wide-ranging as an animation about a zoo in Gaza, to a reimagining of the experience of life in the trenches for soldiers during the First World War.”  

Anna Balchin, who won the Short Film Festival’s Best Student Film in 2016, says, “Not only was the prize a fantastic paid internship at a great company called October Films, but for myself, that has now led on to a full time job with October Films, which I absolutely love.”

Between Friday 17 and Sunday 26 November, audiences will have the opportunity to view these challenging, thought-provoking and inspirational films, which will be open to the public on a free, drop-in basis. Screenings will take place every day at 12pm, 2pm and 3pm in the Cinema at IWM London, with an additional screening at 1pm on Saturday 18, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November.

Winners will be announced at an exclusive award ceremony on Wednesday 15 November. Prizes on offer include a paid internship over three months with October Films; an archive restoration package worth up to £10,000 with R3Store Studios; a complimentary venue hire for a premiere event at King’s College London; and a 5 day access to film studio facilities at London South Bank University. Previous winners have gone on to secure a permanent roles following winning placements as a result of their entry. Entrants also have the chance to have their films being included in a special 'best of festival' package, which will be screened at Picturehouse Cinemas.

Films this year have been judged by a panel of industry experts. Entries have been split in two categories, The Annie Dodds Award for Best Documentary and Best Creative Response. In addition, awards will also be offered to the Best Student Film, Best Use of IWM Archive Material and IWM Special Category: Age of Terror, inspired by the upcoming Age of Terror: Art Since 9/11 exhibition opening at IWM London on 26 October 2017, the UK's first major exhibition of artists' responses to war and conflict since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001. The final category, the Audience Vote Award, will be decided by the public during the screening period, and announced through IWM channels following the end of the festival.

See a trailer on The Festival below. Screenings are at IWM London from 17-26 November.