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January

How to get nominated for a BAFTA

Date posted: 27.01.2015

Only completed late last year, Three Brothers certainly has been busy. Made through our London Calling Plus scheme, the short film has already screened at the BFI London Film Festival, London Short Film Festival and Angers Festival. And the latest of its many accomplishments? A BAFTA nomination for Best British Short Film.

The film follows three young boys who are left alone in their East End terrace house after their mother dies and their father returns to Pakistan, revealing a vision of grief and family love that has touched audiences and critics alike.

We sat down with the brains behind the project to talk filmmaking, the importance of encouraging diverse voices, and waking up to texts that say "Call me!!!!!!!!".

What motivated you to tell the story of Three Brothers?

Aleem Khan, writer/director: The story in Three Brothers is actually inspired by true events that happened to three cousins of mine, and a bittersweet memory of my own.

Stephanie Peaplow, producer: I couldn't at first believe that the story was based on real events, which made it even more intriguing and heartwarming. It was hard to understand that a father would leave his three young children behind by themselves to go to Pakistan. Only a deeper look into deep-rooted traditions in some Asian families will bring a bit more sense into those actions.

AKThe real life events that happened to my cousins are quite tragic and I wanted to make a coming of age story about three young boys dealing with loss, grief and responsibility for the first time.

Matthieu de Braconier, producer: I was moved by Aleem's screenplay. At first I didn't intend to produce it. I just helped, because I had a genuine affection for the project. And one thing led to another.

Tell me about when you found out your film was nominated for a BAFTA.

MdB: "It was early morning, I got a text from Aleem saying: "Call me!!!!!!!!"

AK: I woke up early to hear the live announcement because I couldn't sleep, but they didn't mention the shorts. I was lying on the sofa and browsing when I suddenly saw Three Brothers and my name along with Matthieu and Stephanie's. When it dawned on me, I just started screaming.

SP: I woke up to a few missed calls from Aleem and then saw a couple of messages from friends saying "congratulations". I still must have been too sleepy to 100% connect the dots. Only when I saw my Screen Dailies email newsletter with the link to the nominations, the coin dropped. I couldn't believe it!

AK: I spent the best part of my day in my pajamas, taking calls and emails from friends, and generally jumping about the house and breaking out into spontaneous screams as I relived that morning's news again and again.

MdB: Then the congratulations started flooding in. That was the most pleasant bit about it for me actually, being congratulated by colleagues, people I have affection for, people I respect. It made me think it's worth going out of your way to congratulate someone. I never felt it was my place. I think I'll do it more in the future...

Let's go back to the beginning. How was it making your film through London Calling Plus?

AK: I had the idea for the film for a number of years, so when the London Calling Plus scheme was announced, I knew that it was an opportunity I had to grab with both hands.

SP: I have only praise for the scheme. The support that the filmmaking teams receive over the months is fantastic.

AK: And one of the great benefits is that a selection of the best films made through the London Calling and London Calling Plus schemes are selected to premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. This was invaluable and a great platform for the film to kick-start its festival life.

MdB: I have to say the team at Film London is a wonderful bunch. Everyone understood what we wanted to do with the film. Aleem's vision was challenged but never hindered, always supported, encouraged.

SP: Workshops, networking events, seminars, plus the ongoing mentoring and feedback - all essential to improve and make the best short possible.

MdB: There was some concern that we'd need additional funding. That's when Ruth Yasmeen from Spidervision Productions came in with some support, though it was still extremely tight. Places like Prime Focus, Envy Post, Panalux, Panavision and B3 Media were all very generous with us.

Hamid looking out window in BAFTA nominated London Calling short film Three Brothers

Three Brothers is a story about a part of London that isn't often shown on screen. What do you think are the best ways the industry can support diverse voices and filmmakers?

AK: By running more schemes like London Calling Plus [which specifically supports black, Asian and minority ethnic filmmakers]! There is a desperate need for greater inclusion and representation of ethnic minority groups in the industry (as well as LGBT and women). Things are improving, but not fast enough in my opinion, and greater diversity will only happen if there are structures and increased funding in place to encourage BAME filmmakers into the industry. The London Calling Plus scheme is rare in this respect, as it is one of the only schemes that ring-fence funding for BAME filmmakers.

MdB: To build something one needs means, trust and patience. I felt Film London genuinely trusted us. It might sound simple, but it makes all the difference.

SP: The UK, and London in particular, is such a melting pot of different cultures and traditions, so the films made here should represent that diversity.

AK: Not only is there a responsibility to encourage greater diversity and inclusion in the British film industry, it's vital in order for it to grow. With Three Brothers and Lilting receiving BAFTA nominations this year, it proves that schemes like London Calling Plus and Microwave are working effectively to shift the balance.

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