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December

Silent Nights

Date posted: 21.12.2009

The first flakes of snow fell on the streets of London last week, but for the crew of ‘10 Minute Tales’ the white stuff was a familiar sight much earlier in the year.

Shot throughout September and October in the capital, ‘10 Minute Tales’ is a new series of silent short films infused with festive spirit and featuring recognised talent in front of and behind the camera. Due to broadcast on consecutive nights on Sky 1 over the holiday period, each of the 10 Minute Tales promises to be an engaging look at life, loss, and love.

The wordless wonderment begins on Monday 21 December at 10pm with Deep and Crisp and Even - Timothy Spall (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Damned United) and Natasha McElhone (Ladies in Lavender, Solaris) star in this charming tale of neighbourly love. A reclusive, lonely woman (Natasha McElhone) lives in a snow-covered cottage, but can her neighbour (Timothy Spall) save her from a decidedly frosty fate?

The visual feast continues with Ding Dong. This fast-paced comedy drama will leave you with a huge grin and a lasting feeling of warmth – there are few images more amusing than a bloodied Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Office) on a child’s bicycle, cycling at high speed down a hospital corridor! Part of this ambitious shoot, directed by Dawn Shadforth, took place at Sutton Hospital – where the staff showed their true dedication by permitting filming throughout an entire weekend.

The flakes keep on flurrying the following evening in Let it Snow, in which work related phone calls on Christmas Day come between married couple Clare (Angela Griffin; Last Chance Harvey, Holby City) and Paul (Paterson Joseph; Peep Show, The Other Man). Shot on location in the heart of the de Beauvoir Estate, Rebecca Staffolani, at the Hackney Film Office, provided the critical path to obtain filming permissions at short notice. Despite the late night shoot, the crew were given a warm reception by the residents of St Lawrence Court - a location embellished with artificial snow and Christmas lights.

Statuesque is being shown on the big day itself (25 December), with London regular, Bill Nighy (The Boat That Rocked, Love Actually), in the lead role. This sweet story of a strange love triangle was written and directed by Neil Gaiman, the talented scribe behind Stardust, Beowulf and Coraline. Dog Alone, about a canine companion left behind during the holidays and set in St Pancras Station, snuffles into the Boxing Day screening slot.

This is swiftly followed by a contemporary take on the traditional Nativity. Riz Ahmed, star of the critically acclaimed Film London Microwave micro-budget feature Shifty, takes on the role of Joseph in The Three Kings. Through the Window, featuring Lee Ingleby (Doghouse, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and Claire Foy (Little Dorrit), is the next in the series – a poignant period piece and a reminder that although loved ones can be lost, they can never be forgotten.

Those with a penchant for the surreal should look out for That Syncing Feeling on 29 December, written and directed by Tony Grisoni (Death Defying Acts, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It, In the Loop) plays a character trapped in the cold solitude of a soulless job away from home. Shot in late autumn, the crew had a whale of a time adorning West 12 Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush with Christmas decorations, but less fun trying to source a residential street without trees in the surrounding leafy suburbs.

The next tale, Perfect Day, is set on the polar opposite of town; as a hoodie becomes an unlikely hero in East London. The Running of the Deer, starring East End ‘bad boy’ Ross Kemp, brings the 10 Minute Tales, and the end of the year, to a close on 31 December.

If you’re looking for something a little different to watch this Christmas, then tune in to Sky1 on consecutive evenings from 21 December for these original, uplifting and thought provoking ten minute silent films.

Find out more about the 10 Minute Tales on the Sky1 website.

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