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  • Writer's picturesophiasalmassi

Chris Aitken of Short Com

The Short Com festival,a non profit short comedy film festival, runs from November 30th to December 6th, and features over 30 short films from all over the world. I spoke to my friend Chris Aitken, founder of Short Com, about its roots and what to look out for in this year's festival.

Cold Meets - Director : Marnik Loysen.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I can't remember ever having one desired goal. I think very early on I wanted to be a policeman so I could beat the shit out of anyone I wanted to. I grew out of that idea quite quickly and realised it wasn't really what the police do. Well, I say, really. I think other desired occupations were radio DJ, video store clerk, car designer, a TV buyer, filmmaker and pimp. I can at least say I can tick off pimp from my list of achievements. 

Micro Love - Director : Annalisse Eisenstadt.

When did you become interested in comedy/the arts?

I remember seeing the iconic Scottish sitcom Rab C. Nesbitt live in the theatre when I was pretty young and that rubbed off me a bit as well as Cheech and Chong, which was the funniest film I had ever seen, but I never realistically thought I could work in the arts. It was only after I graduated from my undergrad degree that I learned that I could study screenwriting. Seeing the film Restless Natives made me believe that the sort of films I want to make in Scotland can be made.  Everything else I've done to date feels like an accident. Whilst I can say I work in the arts, I am still waiting/pursuing getting something made or commissioned where I can then really feel like I am in the arts. As a PR or festival director for Short Com I am a facilitator rather than a creator. Whilst I am pleased to have these roles, I still have the itch to get that thing made where audiences learn who I am and detest my very existence.

Insecurity Questions - Director : Rosco 5

Tell us about Short Com. When and why did you start it?

The idea maybe came to me in 2010 after I had the first sketch film I made screened at a film night in Manchester at the Deaf Institute. It was a lovely experience seeing something I wrote be on a big screen in a live audience and them laughing where I hoped that they would, but I also felt like the film night lacked curation and that there wasn't many festivals for comedy films. So I took those two first world problems and solved it all by creating Short Com which first took place at the Frog and Bucket in 2011. From then I've had to learn more about running a film festival in terms of promotion, events management, expanding awareness to international filmmakers. I gave Short Com a break in 2015 as I was a little burned out. It's a little hard to know what edition Short Com is at now because it's screened in different cities at different times of the year and frankly, I've done an awful job at keeping track of things.

Chasing Kesha Director - Petros Ioannidis

What can we expect for this year's festival?

An erotic romp fest (and hopefully many laughs). I always try to cater for most comedy types and because we're going online I've felt more comfortable with selecting more films. There's a real eclectic mix so I think there'll be something for everyone, particularly for comedy and film enthusiasts.

Invaders - Director : Jason Kupfer.

How has the pandemic affected the festival?

We've had to go online as it wasn't safe to hold it indoors. With the uncertainty with the rulings, it just made sense to go online, but whilst people can't enjoy it on a big screen as a live experience, we can reach more people from the comfort of their own home. They can watch it anytime from the dates the festival runs to. I am particularly pleased that we can reach people that face particular barriers when leaving their home. 

Isaac and Quincy - Director : Tea and Cheese

Anything you'd like to say?

Fuck the Tories and all the right wing fucknuts sending the earth to a fiery death. But make sure you have a laugh at Short Com before the end eventually comes.

For a full programme of films, and to get tickets follow the link below:

This year Short Com is supporting The Refugee Council.

Whilst Lockdown is a new experience for a lot of people, it is a familiar feeling for thousands of people escaping horrible situations looking to find a safer life.

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