Short Film of the Week: North West Five

View a clip of North West Five:

North West Five has been nominated for Best Film and Best Cinematography at the No Limits Film Festival in April – and we are Best For Film are pretty sure it’s in with a good chance of winning at least one of them.

The cinematography in North West Five makes Camden look like THE WIRE. It’s a feast of lushly textured night-time film work that visually contrasts the broken dignity and pride-filled decay of any large housing estate. Characters living on the fringe of society are given centre stage, and their raw emotional story contains the seed of a wider social context. That’s a lot to pack into seven minutes. We talk to director Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou about the filming process.

North West Five - short film

What inspired you to make this film?

I’d read George’s fantastic script about this father who left his son at an early age. I loved the idea of contrasting lives, and that the father, Brian, is so passive and can effortlessly just pick up and leave his family. Compared to Shaun, his son, who seems to have ingrained himself in the world, just maybe in the wrong way.

It’s sort of a classic redemption story in the sense of Brian having to step up and protect a son he abandoned. But what’s really interesting to me from the script is their character dynamics, and I really wanted to work on something with such a strong sense of character.

North West Five - short film

Were there any particular joys or pitfalls in making it?

One of the nice things about it was how friendly the people were in the location we were shooting. It was November at night, freezing cold in London, and we were filming right outside a doorway when a woman came out of her house and offered us all a coffee.

The worst thing, linking with that, was how cold it was. Especially for Paul and Sam who had just a jumper or a thin hoodie on for most of the night. The second night shooting they’d both turned up in thermals.

What’s next for this short film?

We’re currently submitting around the festival circuit, but it’s next screenings are at the Screentest Film Festival in London and the No Limits Film Festival in Sheffield, where we’re nominated for Best Film and Best Cinematography, so hopefully we’ll do well there. Hopefully we should be screening at some others soon.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

George and I are currently collaborating on a new short called Treading Water. It shows the break up of a long term relationship through the subjective memories of both the man, Charlie, and the woman, Lisa. It should be finished by May and be submitted around festivals soon after.

If we wanted to stalk you, how would we do it?

I guess my website’s the best place to find stuff about North West Five, and you can also find out more about what I’m up to:

Are you a short film maker?

If you have a short film on YouTube, get in touch at [email protected] or nominate it below. We’d love to hear from you – maybe your film short could become our next Short Film of the Week!

Spread the word…

About The Author