• Country: United Kingdom
  • Initial release: April 24, 2013
  • Film Director: James W. Griffiths
  • Running Time: 7 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: 7.8

In the realm of short films, few have captured the imagination and earned critical acclaim quite like “Room 8.” Directed by James W. Griffiths, this 2013 science fiction masterpiece took the world by storm and went on to win the prestigious 2014 BAFTA for Best Short Film. With its mind-bending narrative and stunning visuals, “Room 8” delivers a captivating and thought-provoking experience that leaves viewers spellbound.

Unveiling the Plot

Set in a Russian prison cell during the 1970s, “Room 8” introduces us to an Englishman who finds himself thrust into a world of mystery and intrigue. Upon entering his cell, he encounters a fellow countryman and a peculiar red box. The cellmate warns him against opening the box, but curiosity gets the better of our protagonist, and he succumbs to temptation. Little does he know, this fateful decision sets in motion a series of extraordinary and surreal events that will forever alter his destiny.

The Genesis of “Room 8”

“Room 8” is the brainchild of James W. Griffiths, a talented director who has proven his mettle through previous successful shorts such as “Splitscreen: A Love Story” and “We Were Wanderers on a Prehistoric Earth.” When presented with the opportunity to participate in the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series, Griffiths was immediately drawn to the unique nature of the competition. Unlike other online film competitions, this one allowed filmmakers to pitch their ideas first and receive the necessary resources, including a substantial budget, to bring their vision to life.

Reflecting on his attraction to the competition, Griffiths shared, “Opportunities of getting good budgets for short films are few and far between at the moment, so I wanted to grab hold of this one with both hands.” This collaborative endeavor between Bombay Sapphire and Geoffrey Fletcher, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Precious,” provided Griffiths with the platform to showcase his talent and push his creative boundaries.

From Script to Screen

To breathe life into Geoffrey Fletcher’s stark script, Griffiths delved deep into its essence and began shaping the narrative. The initial spark came from the idea of a fascinating and visually striking object within the box. Griffiths envisioned the box opening to reveal a room identical to the one the protagonist was already in, offering a visually captivating and narratively intriguing concept. The decision to set the story in a prison cell stemmed from the need to give the protagonist a reason to escape, leading to the ingenious idea of him shrinking himself to slip under the door.

As Griffiths embarked on this ambitious project, he found himself venturing into uncharted territory. Compared to his previous low-budget productions, “Room 8” presented an opportunity to work with a renowned production company, Independent, and collaborate with a talented cast and crew. The result was a visually stunning and technically impressive short film that showcased Griffiths’ growth as a director.

The Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series

“Room 8” is not just a standalone masterpiece but also part of the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series. This annual competition invites filmmakers to take an original script, devoid of any specific directions, and inject their own genre, locations, characters, and imagination to bring it to life. The best pitches are chosen, and the selected filmmakers are provided with the resources and support needed to realize their vision. The series has become a platform for emerging talents to showcase their creativity and push the boundaries of storytelling.

Critical Acclaim and Recognition

Upon its release, “Room 8” quickly garnered praise and captured the attention of audiences worldwide. The film’s unique blend of fantasy, science fiction, and horror elements drew comparisons to iconic shows like “The Twilight Zone,” solidifying its status as a genre-defying masterpiece. Critics hailed its captivating narrative, impressive visual effects, and the ability to convey a complete story within a concise seven-minute runtime.

The recognition for “Room 8” culminated in the film winning the prestigious 2014 BAFTA for Best Short Film. This accolade not only solidified James W. Griffiths’ talent as a director but also brought well-deserved attention to the power and creativity of short films as a medium.

The Legacy of “Room 8”

“Room 8” continues to resonate with audiences long after its release, leaving a lasting impact on those who experience its mind-bending journey. The film’s success serves as a testament to the power of storytelling and the limitless possibilities that the world of short films offers. Its innovative concept, coupled with Griffiths’ visionary direction, has inspired filmmakers and audiences alike to explore the boundaries of imagination and push the limits of what can be achieved within a short film format.

As the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series continues to discover and nurture emerging talents, one can only anticipate the creative and groundbreaking works that will captivate audiences in the years to come.


In the realm of short films, “Room 8” stands tall as a shining example of the power of imagination, storytelling, and the boundless potential of the medium. James W. Griffiths’ vision and talent brought Geoffrey Fletcher’s script to life, creating a captivating and thought-provoking experience that continues to captivate audiences. With its BAFTA win and critical acclaim, “Room 8” has left an indelible mark on the world of short films and serves as a testament to the creativity and innovation that can be achieved within a concise runtime.

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