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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

BOYS ON FILM 20: HEAVEN CAN WAIT - Short Film Collection

Heaven Can Wait is the new collection of short films from Boys On Film, in collaboration with Peccadillo Pictures. In fact, it's their TWENTIETH anthology! And its popularity shows no sign of waning at all. This collection includes eleven diverse films from across the world, from Tunisia to Sweden, New Zealand to the UK. We see two fathers dealing with the realities of parenthood, an exciting new romance with a handsome foreigner, the realisation of a text argument and a couple dealing with the idea of moving to Mars!


Director: Bassem Ben Brahim.

In a beautiful and silent animation that plays alongside a piece by Beethoven, we see the birth of a baby boy and his childhood as he grows to become a fine adult, only to find himself beaten and tortured for being gay. As he languishes in his cell he evolves further, becoming a mythological creature as an escape from the misery of his life. Dreamlike and whimsical, this stunning piece feels like Kubrick’s evolution of man before ending like the birth of Tinkerbell. It’s absurd, but lovely.


Starring: Hjalmar Hardestam, Simon Eriksson. Director: Jimi Vall Peterson.

Emil stays at his friend’s house overnight after an evening at the cinema. As the two friends share a bed tension mounts as Emil yearns for something more. For anyone who spent sleepless nights with same sex friends to whom they were totally devoted, this is an entirely relatable short in which the depth of his gaze and desperate willing for something to happen is a memory of teenage-hood you’d rather forget. Sweet and innocent though the friendship is, it is tainted by this different angle, captured expertly in excruciatingly long shots as we observe this painful inactivity.


Starring: Philip Olivier, Carl Loughlin, Chauntelle Bowler. Director: Mickey Jones.

As a man prepares to get married he’s stunned by a chance encounter with a policeman with whom he had once had a passionate affair. Ditching his stag night to rekindle the flame, he’s forced to confront his lingering feelings head on. With grown up teen hunk Olivier in this delightfully soapy drama, their over-earnest feelings and hammy dialogue feel like a late-night episode of Hollyoaks, but in a wonderfully gay way.


Starring: Joshua McGuire, John MacMillan. Director: Matthew Jacobs Morgan.

As two fathers struggle through caring for a baby, one is more of a success than the other. Knowing that he’s not actually her biological dad, his inadequacies and feelings of irrelevance boil like a kettle as his partner remains blissfully unaware. An explosive kitchen sink drama, this is an emotive piece that depicts the struggle of bringing up a baby that’s not your own.


Starring: Jordan Tweddle, Kane Surry, Lydia L’Scabies. Director: Dale John Allen.

As Jack comes to terms with the numbness of his new medication, he misses the highs and lows of his life before. But dealing with trauma has left him damaged and in pain. That is until he meets Frank. An amazingly edited character piece - the attention to detail in his apartment tells us more about his character than the story itself - this is a painful rumination on mental illness and a thoughtfully observed short that lets its subject live. Or exist. Even if he feels that he barely does either.


Starring: Timothy Ryan Hickernell, Lucio Nieto. Director: Timothy Ryan Hickernell.

A hopeless romantic stuck in a rut has his hope rekindled when he meets a handsome and charismatic dancer after watching his show. As they spend the next 24 hours together, they fall head over heels in love, only with the impending shadow of the Italian performer’s departure looming on the near-horizon. Sweet and beautifully optimistic, this will reaffirm your faith that love will conquer all. And with a stunning soundtrack that will punch you as hard as the saccharine sweet dialogue, this is properly romantic stuff that will warm your cockles right to the core.

MANKIND (UK) (pictured)

Starring: Ricky Nixon, Alexis Gregory. Director: Layke Anderson.

This sci-fi short depicts a restless man who makes the decision to join the first colony on Mars. With most of the piece revolving around the discussion to leave with his partner, this is a personal drama on a cosmic scale as the couple try to reconcile the idea that not only is he dissatisfied with his life, but also with his planet. With two strong performances from its leads, there is palpable chemistry - or rather tension - between them as we see this bristlingly restrained make-or-break argument juxtaposed against flashbacks, forwards and maybe even sideways, placing sex and galactic grandeur on the same plain. Epic in its ambition, this is a big scale idea executed perfectly on a small scale. Polished with a Gravity-esque veneer, the film’s small budget has been no barrier in producing an excellent slice of science fiction, where the actual idea is its best asset; which is saying something, considering it’s superb execution. The very best sci-fi finds the balance of humanity within the vastness of the universe, which is exactly what Mankind manages. An excellent short.


Starring: Hora Savescu, Dario Coates, Maia Morgenstern, Lino Facioli. Director: Christopher Manning.

Rahmi is unable to tell the truth to his Romanian family about his sexuality. Telling them he must work at night, he stays with his lover instead, but when his brother starts to follow him, confronting the truth isn’t far away. A dark piece about fear and recrimination, Rahmi is haunted by his yearning to live and his duty to his family. Beautifully bleak, its ethereal soundtrack underpins his unsettled life, where truth can only be lived at night.


Starring: Peter Mark Kendall, Zachary Booth. Director: Jay Russell.

Two best friends argue via text after one has slept with the other’s crush. As their messages pop up on screen, we follow the events in both their flats as it begins to be more complicated than just a simple indiscretion. A fun little comedy in which we see all the Grindr messages popping up in real time and cutaway to the people who sent them, this is a fast-paced and snappy film that finds acutely observer humour in the ridiculousness of hook-up culture.

MANIVALD (Estonia/Croatia/Canada)

Director: Chintes Lundgren.

In this sweet animation, it’s Manivald’s 33rd Birthday and he still lives with his mother. Academically brilliant, they both live and breathe high-brow culture, that is until their washing machine breaks and a hunky repairman is sent to the house. As both mother and son compete for the stud’s affections, we see that neither of them is so elite after all. Whimsical and fun, this is a cute animals-as-humans piece with a lot of humour in its attention to detail.


Starring: Joe Folau, David Lolofakangalo Rounds, Lena Reagan. Director: Zoe McIntosh.

A very young boy on a trailer park in New Zealand is stuck looking after his grief-stricken father until an unlikely friendship with a neighbour brings the means with which he can liberate them both. A beautiful story about childhood, family and grief, this stunningly restrained short is an almost silent film with a handful of exceptional performances, especially from its child star.


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