The final screening I attended during last week's Worldwide Short Film Festival was the Sci-Fi session entitled Out There. It certainly was nice to finally get a thematically consistent set of films in one grouping, but that seems to be an easier task with the Sci-Fi submissions. This year's batch wasn't quite as consistently entertaining as last year's set, but it still provided some great moments and one of my favourite films of the fest.
- Homework - A man appears trapped in a strange room with no chance of escape. Things get even more odd when a cat is suddenly thrust into the room as well. The two must fight it out for the food that's been dumped in with them until we find out why they've both been imprisoned. Though the twist wasn't overly surprising by the end, it was still pretty satisfying and there was enough humour in the story to keep it entertaining throughout.
- Primitive Technology - A small band of outcasts rebel against modern technology by stealing people's cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices before smashing them to bits. They recruit a new member who not only buys into their ideas, but becomes reinvigorated after having settled into a rather dull existence. Along with destroying modern technology, they also try to build their own machines out of scrap without the use of electricity - to varying degrees of success. The film has a great deal of energy, so if one gag doesn't quite work another picks up the slack shortly thereafter.
- Rocket Science - Imagine an animated 50s Sci-Fi film populated with film noir characters who perhaps weren't quite the sharpest tacks in the box. Aliens have landed and it's up to the local police and a visiting scientist to decide what to do. Once you get into the flow of the script, the great lines keep on coming - two of my fave examples: "Don't think Billy. Thinking is for Liberals." and "Some things a man needs to see with his own eyes. Like his new born son or anything that goes into his mouth." The biggest laughs of the fest.
- Ascension - It seems that all of my choices from the Sci-Fi section this year were comedies. That's not to say that the rest of the set weren't interesting, but none quite grabbed my attention as much as the funny ones. Case in point: "Ascension" follows an innocent neighbourhood guy who stumbles across an alien worshipping cadre hidden in his own building. Their plans require a sacrifice in order that they may be saved before the entire Earth is destroyed. Funny thing is, they may actually be right...
Award winners have been announced (unfortunately I only saw two of them). Both "Manon On The Ashphalt" (Best Live Action Short) and "Boar Attack" (Best Animated Short) are now eligible for Academy Award nominations.
Other award winners:
- Audience Award - "Getting Out"
- Best Canadian Short - "Can You Wave Bye-Bye"
- Best Canadian Emerging Filmmaker - Audrey Cummings for "Burgeon and Fade"
- Best Cinematography in a Canadian Short - Brendan Steacy for "The Answer Key"
- Best Documentary - "Zietek"
- Best Experimental Short - "Roastbeef"
- Best Performance in a Live Action Short - "Death of Shula" by Yusef Corman-Korman
- Special Jury Prize for Comedy - "Aquarium"