Night Owls (2016)
Set over the course of a single night, Night Owls is the story of two lost souls coming together. When teenage runaway Mari (newcomer Holly Rushbrooke) breaks into the house of reclusive thirty-something Kent (Jonny McPherson, Emmerdale), they discover that they have a mutual disdain for their lives, and build the type of unlikely friendship they both sorely needed. We were delighted to collaborate with Lauren Parker of Kato Pictures (formerly Team Chameleon) and Sophia Ramcharan of Stella Vision Films to bring this project to life.
Originally intended as a pilot for our feature film 'Night Owls & Early Birds', Night Owls the short had an incredible life of its own, premiering at LSFF in 2016 before going on to win 17 awards at festivals around the world. Full list of awards and reviews at the bottom of this page.
"The world seems to focus like a perfect moment in time... Delightful acoustic soundtrack and intimate framing... It shows masterful craftwork by filmmaker Sophie Black.... The enduring themes and picturesque aesthetic make it a beautiful film to behold."
(Chris Olson, UK Film Review)
"A long-to-be-remembered treasure of independent cinema... This tale of companionship and discovery will chime true in the hearts and minds of many people. "
(Mike Rhodes, Daft Films Blog)
"Contrasting feelings of gain and loss filter through every shot, every angle... There is a quiet power at play here that is so rare to find, and that is a testament to the filmmaker’s ability to tell a good story."
(Theo Alexander, Unsung Films)
"Age, time and the contrast of young and old are motifs that appear throughout. McPherson deftly plays a character unsure of his place... A well thought-out short, the film’s themes are its greatest asset. I’d recommend catching this great short on its inevitable successful festival run. Black’s elegant style and nods to bygone eras make this a charm to watch."
(Mike Sales, Midlands Movies)
"[Rushbrooke] plays off the subtleties of McPherson’s accomplished performance beautifully, doing more than justice to a very good script. Black’s direction too is subtly effective, utilising the strengths of both actors, as well as a stunning location."
(Ashley Carter, Leftlion Magazine)
"Beautiful soundtrack from a variety of sources, with original music aplenty... Black knows the language of cinema, and Night Owls looks great... very solid performances from both actors, who are without question professionals in every sense of the word."
(Nicholas la Salla, Forest City Short Film Review)
"...Showcases a commitment to craft and character. A film soaked in loneliness and coaxed-out emotional intimacy, there is a tenderness to the actors which draws the audience in... A sharp eye for framing and an admirable devotion to a low-stakes scenario..."
(Review one, Largo Film Awards)
"The two leads are exceptional and their connection is tangible... The rich colours and clever lighting provide a dark yet warm atmosphere which mirrors the subtext of the film... Despite its humour there is a very real emotion within its core that holds the audience. Well structured and put together, Night Owls is a delightful little film that goes deeper than you would expect."
(Review two, Largo Film Awards)
"The choices for set dressing, hair styling and costuming is absolutely perfect, and adds a lot to the type of people they are surrounding. Beautifully made, lighting and music help get the atmosphere right..."
(Review three, Largo Film Awards)
Winner - Best Actor, Jonny Mcpherson (LA Film Awards 2016)
Honourable Mention - Drama (LA Film Awards 2016)
Winner - Best Cinematography, Neil Oseman (Festigious 2016)
Winner - Best Actor in Drama, Jonny McPherson (Actors Awards 2017)
Winner - Best Actress in a Drama, Holly Rushbrooke (Actors Awards 2017)
Winner - Award of Excellence, Film Short (The IndieFEST Film Awards 2017)
Winner - Award of Excellence, Leading Actor, Jonny McPherson (The IndieFEST Film Awards 2017)
Winner - Actor in a Lead Role (Jonny McPherson), Original Screenplay, Hair & Makeup (Midlands Movies Awards 2017)
Winner - Three Counties/MMBF Rising Star Award (Beeston Film Festival 2017)
Winner - Award of Excellence, Lead Actor, Jonny McPherson & Exceptional Merit (Depth of Field International Film Festival)
Winner - Audience Award: Actress in an Indie Film, Holly Rushbrooke (Top Shorts 2017)
Winner - Best Actor, Jonny McPherson (London Independent Film Awards 2017)
Winner - Judges' Award & Best Midlands Filmmaker (Out of the Can Film Festival 2017)
Nominated - Performance of the Festival, Jonny McPherson (Actors Awards 2017)
Nominated - Best Picture (Short), Costume Design, Music (Original Song), Production Design (Midlands Movies Awards 2017)
Nominated - Best Drama, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Three Counties Long (Beeston Film Festival 2017)
Nominated - Best Cinematography (The Largo Film Awards 2017)
Nominated - Best Short, Best Actress, Best Female Director, Best Poster (Out of the Can Film Festival 2017)
Nominated - Best Actor in a Short Film, Jonny McPherson (The Short Film Awards 2017)