Nominated for: Best UK Short Film

If you want a short that will leave you discomfited, impressed and unsettled, You Are Awake is the film for you. Pedro Martín-Calero’s storyline harnesses the fear of the unknown, in a bizarrely disquieting piece where all of the inhabitants of a small town mysteriously fall asleep and wake up not knowing where they are. The only thing that makes this all the more eerie is the fact that it’s based on a true story where everyone in a village in Kazakhstan mysteriously fell asleep for about three days in 2013 (but for real, look it up).

“a bizarrely disquieting piece”

Aside from the narrative itself, the short is gloriously shot in a whole range of locations. All of which are tastefully arranged and suitably off. It is very difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is. Perhaps everything is just that little bit off centre, or the colours are just a little bit too intense, or the slow-motion scenes are just a little bit too fast. Whatever it is, it only serves to further unsettle the audience. The rhythmical voice-over helps to move the story along, creating a pace that is mirrored by the images flashing from all of the different locations – of which there were many. The whole effect is not altogether a pleasant one, but one cannot deny that this highly stylised piece is expertly done, and real credit is due to the filmmaker for producing this disconcerting short.

Maddie Andrews


Image: Pedro Martin-Calero

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