International Competition


Matt Houghton
Screening time  
23.02. / Tuesday, 22:00 - 00:00 Theatre 5  
24.02. / Wednesday, 13:00 - 15:00 Theatre 1  
25.02. / Thursday, 18:00 - 20:00 Theatre 2  
This film is like a puzzle itself – the solution is gradually revealed.

Under the name “Araucaria”, John Graham had been creating cryptic crosswords for the UK’s Guardian newspaper for over 50 years when he was told that he had an incurable form of cancer. He started placing little clues in his puzzles, telling his fans about his illness and how it was progressing. English filmmaker Matt Houghton was fascinated by this story and decided to make a film about Graham, filming him regularly during the months leading up to his death. The result is a poignant, charming short documentary in which we hear only Graham’s voice. He reads aloud letters from fans, who tell him they feel a personal connection to him, and he talks about how he puts his puzzles together. We see him working or looking out across the broad English landscape. In combination with these poetic images, Graham’s calm voice makes Dear Araucaria feel like a puzzle itself – the solution is gradually revealed.


Matt Houghton

Matt Houghton is a director with an eye for crafting stories with a bold, cinematic aesthetic. He has had short films screened at the London Short Film Festival, Sheffield Doc Fest, Rushes Soho Shorts and the East End Film Festival. His short film Inheritance also recently won Best Comedy at The Smalls. Matt’s latest film is Dear Araucaria.

General sponsor


Great Britain
2014, 9' 17''

Directed by:
Matt Houghton

Screenplay by:
Matt Houghton

John Craine

Edited by:
Matt Houghton

Noah Wood

Francesca Boyce, Alistair Payne-James, Nicole Jackson

Produced by:
Pulse Films, The Guardian

Festivals & Awards:

IDFA 2015, Hot Docs 2015, AFI Docs, International Short Film Festival Clermont-Ferrand 2016, London Short Film Festival 2016, Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2015