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Commonwealth Shorts is a capacity building scheme to give emerging writers/directors the opportunity to make a film which highlights issues affecting them and their communities on the theme of relationships. The initiative is a partnership between Commonwealth Writers, B3 Media and CBA Worldview. The documentary and four dramas explore migration, indigenous rights and same-sex relationships. The five film makers: Kareem Mortimer from Bahamas, Lisa Harewood from Barbados, Jules Koostachin from Canada, Wanjiru Kairu from Kenya and Oscar Kightley from New Zealand, were selected from hundreds of submissions from across the Commonwealth and underwent an intensive development process with the project partners to produce the films.

The most recent screening of the films was at The Soho Hotel, London in March and the films are now available online (see below).

These films premiered at the Bristol Encounters Film festival in the UK in September 2013. The five emerging film makers from across the Commonwealth first gathered in Auckland, New Zealand in February 2013 for the launch of the five short films. The screening took place at Academy Cinemas, in association with Documentary NZ Trust and with support from the New Zealand Film Commission. This followed a film production lab in Auckland for the five film makers with eight writers/directors from the Pacific region.

News of the next phase of Commonwealth Shorts will be coming soon.

For interviews with the filmmakers please click on their names below:


Jules Koostachin, Canada

Jules sets out to find a place for her Cree Nation traditional placenta ceremony.


Kareem Mortimer, Bahamas

A group of Haitian refugees are smuggled on a Bahamian fishing vessel from the Bahamas into North America.


Lisa Harewood, Barbados

Focuses on an often ignored side effect of migration – the disruption and heartache caused to the lives and relationships of the people left behind.


Wanjiru Kairu, Kenya

New Year’s Eve
A married man struggles to come out of a life of deceit, or risk losing true love.


Oscar Kightley

Oscar Kightley, New Zealand

Tom’s Dairy
A love song to a childhood in a changing suburb.


‘These five films are the culmination of many months’ work by emerging international film-makers. We’re excited to be here with our local partners: Documentary NZ Trust and the New Zealand Film Commission to give the films their first screening. It’s also been an opportunity for film makers from the wider Pacific region to benefit from a production lab and a chance for Commonwealth Writers to promote their work to a global audience.’  Lucy Hannah, Programme Manager, Commonwealth Foundation

‘CBA WorldView usually provides support for international factual films but as in the case of these short films, drama enables film makers to tell powerful and important stories that would otherwise remain untold.’ Sally-Ann Wilson, Secretary-General, CBA WorldView


‘Commonwealth Shorts is an exciting initiative which provides a needed platform for emerging film-makers from the Commonwealth.  It also provides a useful outlet for the next wave of gifted storytellers who are able to bring their stories to audiences locally and globally, from the big screen and beyond.’ Marc Boothe, Executive Producer, B3 Media

Some of the film makers line up for the screening in Auckland

Lisa Harewood, Kareem Mortimer, Marc Boothe (B3 Media), Oscar Kightley, Wanjiru Kairu, Jules Koostachin & Lucy Hannah (Commonwealth Writers)