Thursday, 21 June 2007
Worldwide Short Film Festival
The winners of this year's Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto were announced this past Monday. Unfortunately I only caught two screenings from this year's festival, but one of those contained an award winner - the rather astonishing Madame Tutli-Putli snagged Best Animated Short (a short trailer follows below).
It's Nightmare Before Christmas meets early Tool videos - and the most amazing eyes you'll ever see. After the screening, one of the filmmakers spent a good 3-4 minutes trying to explain how they created the effect. He lost me, but it didn't matter...There were times during the film that I actually wondered if maybe the woman was an actual woman and not some stop motion creation. Simply because the eyes looked so incredible...
The film itself is a dark tale of a train ride and some unexpected visitors. It's creepy, funny and ends with a beautiful if slightly puzzling image. With this award, the film becomes eligible for next year's Oscars.
The rest of that evening's films were decent to middling affairs and not quite what I expected from a Scene Of The Crime theme for that session. However, Sunday night's set of 8 films met my expectations wonderfully and hit the Sci-Fi: Out There theme spot on. Not a bad one in the bunch:
Dark vision of a future dystopia with washed out colours, strange beasts and a band of "heroes"...It's not an overly original premise, but the animation is sharp and there are some really creative creatures and scenarios developed. Here's the entire 9 minute film:
Live action but wordless tale of a man who is not only tired of his day job (as a test sniffer for deodorants), but also with the fact that humans don't seem affected by gravity anymore. Belts are used at night to prevent waking up on the ceiling and everyone wears heavy metal boots to remain fixed to the ground. He comes to a realization and makes a decision...Odd, funny and very well shot.
Our third wordless film in a row (not a single line of dialog uttered so far) is a simply animated, but very amusing story of a lone astronaut and the strange contraption he finds deep in space. After being sucked into the thing and spat back out, more and more replicants of himself and his spaceship turn up. Closes with a nice final twist.
Isabelle And Stuart
OK, so they weren't all winners...Finally some dialog, but perhaps this should have remained silent as well. The overly stiff acting and line readings remove most of the humour from this 4 minute short of a young man's time machine and the girl who is breaking up with him. Ah well, it was quick.
D.I.M. - Deus In Machina
This centrepiece half hour trip through yet another dystopic vision of the future (with dark streets and muted colours) was equally as good as any major sci-fi picture I've seen in years (well maybe not The Fountain, but it's hard to be that glorious). Superbly rendered special effects and cinematography lend some serious weight to the trouble our hero is in. He's losing his social status due to low social points and has little hope of crawling back up. His only recourse to avoid hell on earth is to risk hell in virtual prison. And if you are a movie lover, the ending is so absolutely perfect...
Wookie At Work
What if Chewbacca was an office temp? That's the premise and storyline of this mostly amusing mix of Star Wars and The Office. Some obvious gags, some subtle and some that miss the mark.
Just awesome looking film showing two snail like android creatures meeting and, um, getting to know each other - at least until an unwanted guest arrives. It put me in mind of a Chris Cunningham video, but even better. The full length 7 minute video below won't do the images justice, but it's really worth a look.
Terror On The 3918
The funniest and probably most original concept of the evening. The spaceship of the future seems to resemble the inside of a run-of-the mill apartment. Hurtling between planets, tea cups are used as control knobs, books on shelves as switches for engines and the ships fuel is milk and toast. Oh, and the big garbage pail is the escape pod. The laughs come from the absurdity of the ship, the very effective use of sound effects to make the everyday objects seem to be controlling things and the actors playing the whole thing straight. A great way to end the evening and my first short film festival...