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“Ribbon”, the latest short from filmmaker Dean Leon Anderson, will premiere at the London Short Film Festival on January 11th.

Dean Leon Anderson

Dean Leon Anderson

A new film from versatile talent Dean Leon Anderson is set to premiere on January 11th at the London Short Film Festival at Hackney Picturehouse. Ribbon, selected as part of series of films about mothers, is an affecting short that raises interesting questions about parenthood and crime in urban London. Meaningful and emotional, the short will prove a memorable watch for LSFF viewers, and should continue to drive Anderson’s promising career.

Said career started when, after graduating from the University of Greenwich, Anderson was taken on by MTV Networks Europe to work in production on many of their channels, from MTV to VH1 to MTV Base. After MTV, Anderson founded his own production company, Velvet Gold Pictures to develop fiction films and content for the entertainment industry. Anderson also studied under Yann Demange, director of the acclaimed 2014 drama ’71, learning as a trainee director during the production of Channel 4 drama Top Boy

Ribbon is the third of three successful shorts Anderson has written, directed and produced since training with Demange, and the second to premiere at LSFF, after Grace (2014), a coming-of-age drama about a 17-year-old girl dealing with her first sexual encounter and falling in love with a middle-aged man. In between Grace and Ribbon, Anderson made the short Jasper (2015), which focused on a father’s attempts to salvage a failing relationship with his daughters. The film premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, where it was nominated for Best Narrative. 

Ribbon picture 1Now comes Anderson’s latest short, Ribbon (2016), inspired by an image from a newspaper from early 2014, an Evening Standard story about the death toll of knife crime in London, and an interview Anderson had with a woman grieving the loss of her son.

“The story of Ribbon came about through a few different ways. In 2012, I was hired to interview Sally Woodmansee, a mother who unfortunately lost her son in a car crash, and now claims to be communicating with him from beyond the grave.  Her grief and her story affected me in many ways. Two years later, I was reading the Evening Standard on the train, and it had a list of teenagers who lost their life to knife crime that year. One of the photos in the article was an image of a mother holding a bouquet of flowers with a large red ribbon around it. The image was stuck in my head for days, and I felt strongly that I wanted to tell a story that reflected a mother’s grief at losing her son, and her subsequent behaviour after this loss.” 

Ribbon stars Marian Keogh as a mother following a hoodie-clad boy (Emjay Elitus) around the local neighborhood, mistakenly believing him to be her dead son (Roberto Marrable). Following this mysterious youth around town of course leads to dire consequences, and the film serves as a harrowing (and at times, heartwarming) study of urban life. 

Written, directed and produced by Anderson, Ribbon is an important short, and will certainly give audiences something to think about going out of it. Going into too much detail about the plot would risk spoiling some of the surprises its seven-minute runtime provide, which alone make the short worth a watch for those who would like an affecting new perspective on London life. 

Anderson hopes the film will open audiences’ eyes to the problems affecting modern London. “It’s so easy to flip through pages of newspapers, and forget what you’ve read, but I do hope when audiences see the film, they’ll become more aware of what’s happening right now. The figures say it all, and a lot of families and communities are affected. It’s not something we can push under the carpet and ignore.”

Dean Leon Anderson continues to work in many roles on his own creative projects, and is currently developing the short Class 15 as part of the B3 TalentLab program. He’s also developing said film into a feature script. 

Tickets are available for Ribbon and other mother-centric shorts at the LSFF at this link. Follow Dean Leon Anderson on Twitter @mrdlanderson. Visit his website for more about his work. 

Cameron Johnson

Cameron Johnson is a writer and filmmaker born in England, based in Michigan, USA, and currently living in Enniscrone, Ireland. He writes about all things entertainment with a speciality in film criticism. He has been working on films ever since middle school, when his shorts "Moving Stateside" and "The Random News" competed in the West Branch Children's Film Festival. Since then he's written and directed a number of his own films and worked in many different crew jobs. Follow him on Twitter @GambasUK and look at his daily film diary at letterboxd.com/gambasUK.

Posted on Jan 5, 2016

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