CO-VID Film Awards - Small Axe 2020

The COVID19 coronavirus pandemic is as a paradigm shifting event. It is hard to think of an area of life that will not be affected by it.

For filmmakers there are huge practical issues to overcome in attempting to tell stories in or around the pandemic. This requires radical approaches to film form and the collection or creation of media.

There are amazing stories to tell of community mobilisation and collective action. The realisation that we rely on our local communities while being intimately connected on a global scale. There are political stories, spiritual stories, scientific stories, and very personal stories to tell.

As a species we have had pandemics before, but never in a world where every human is so connected. Whatever your interest or focus it must now be seen through a lens tinted by the knowledge of this unprecedented event.

Small Axe 2020 will be a CO-VID film festival.

Small Axe 2020 will be Online.

Due to the restrictions caused by COVID 19 the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival has been cancelled. This is not a huge surprise and we already have a plan in place for this. The Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival will take place online this year.

Small Axe is a film competition for films with something to say.

• No film can be too political
• We accept everything - from direct polemic, to experimental film, from original fiction to observational documentary.
• We want opinion, analysis, personal stories, ideology, vision and fresh perspectives.
• Challenge, explore, celebrate, discuss…

In short, any film that you feel is radical is welcome. As long as it is short (under 30 minutes).

The Small Axe awards are given at the Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival.

The festival takes place alongside the Tolpuddle Martyr's festival in the village of Tolpuddle in Dorset, U.K. This commemorates the foundation of the union movement, and is a major national event for left-wing groups in the U.K. Films are screened to a select audience in the only remaining 1960's ministry of technology Mobile Cinema truck.

The festival runs over three days (from Friday to Sunday) showing a selection of feature films and competition shorts. On Sunday morning there is a full programme of shorts, followed by the announcement of the Small Axe awards and another screening of the winning films.

There is a charge to attend the full weekend, but there is free entry on the Sunday.

Our Patrons and supporters include Paul Watson and Ken Loach. In previous years the Smallaxe Jury has included Leila Sansour, Jeremy Hardy and Fran Higson. Award winners are invited to participate in the Jury for future years.

Films made by established activists and film-makers:

Best Factual Film
Best Fiction Film

Films made by Students and first time filmmakers:

Best Fiction Film
Best Factual Film

Best film by a filmmaker under 18 years old

As the 2020 festival will be online we must ask you to agree to this additional condition:

That film may be screened online during the festival.

We anticipate using a combination of Vimeo and Zoom to create a private screening experience and to make films available during the festival. We reserve the right to change the specific technology used, but will ensure that the copyright of films is protected as much as possible.

If you have specific concerns or questions about this please contact

Overall Rating
  • I very much appreciate the festival giving my short drama ‘A Viable Candidate’ a platform. It was a great opportunity to screen the film to an audience who empathized with some of the more politically challenging themes.

    September 2020
    Small axe 200
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Orson, we very much appreciate you submitting the film - and more to the point we appreciate you making it.

  • David Archibald

    Thanks to Small Axe for including our film in the festival. And well done on managing to move the festival online. Hopefully, you'll be back in the normal space for next year.



    July 2020
  • reza masoudi

    I'm glad to be at your festival.
    We wish the best for you...

    July 2020
  • Julian Liby

    I’m a first time filmmaker, and I loved my experience with Small Axe. Their communication was great, and I just really appreciate them giving me the opportunity to screen a film I produced during lockdown this year.

    It’s been a great experience!

    July 2020
  • Niki Borger

    Great Festival! Highly recommend it!

    July 2020