Scarlet; The dance…

By Jo Phillips

Night Dancing is an intriguing short from award-winning director Barney Cokeliss.

That Dancing moniker might lead you to think you’ll be stepping into the realm of ballet. Not exactly, here it is more like dance enters our world. An unnamed Man is seeing images, images of a dancer, a woman moving ethereally in the street outside of his window, dressed as if she simply stopped on her way. The silent Woman is ever so graceful, and unaware of his gaze. The Man looks fascinated, yet stricken, almost penitent. To confirm that these visions are only inside his head, he does what any of us might do – he seeks the opinion of his therapist.

Who is she, and what does she represent?

The film stars Jason Thorpe, in a bit of a departure from his work in Fast and Furious 6, and dancer, or perhaps better described as dance-actress, Louise Tanoto of the Tom Dale Company, who memorably brought the Virginia Woolf short story “Lappin and Lapinova” to life on the London stage in 2014. They are mesmerizing.

‘Night Dancing’ trailer from Barney Cokeliss on Vimeo.

Night Dancing sets a mood and sticks with it. A short film doesn’t have time or space to mess around; you need to be engaged from the start, and London-based producer/director Barney Cokeliss knows what he is doing. A multi-award winning commercials and shorts director, he shot these in Bucharest, and has called in international collaborators like the Finnish composer Anné Kulonen (The Foundling), whose elegant score draws you right in. The experienced cinematographer Philippe Kress may be more known from his feature work in Denmark, but trained at the National Film and Television School and was Director of Photography for the recent BBC production of “King Charles III”. Kress makes these six minutes look lush.

This short was selected to world premiere at the prestigious TIFF and will have its UK premiere at the forthcoming 2018 British Short Film Festival. Lots of other prestigious festivals are paying attention, and based on the uniformly positive reviews, the producers are hoping for a nod from the upcoming Academy Awards.

You can see the Night Dancing trailer here

Martina O’Boyle is a writer and former US broadcaster now working in television in London. She co-edits the website