JULY 7, 2012
Along with Among Friends, which I already saw (but didn’t review – too many pals involved with its production), the Viscera Film Festival put together a pretty damn fine collection of short films this Saturday, and I thought I’d tell you about a few that I really enjoyed and should thus be sought out. In keeping with Viscera’s “rule”, all of the shorts were directed by women, so I feel it evened out with HMAD Short Watching Day, in which every entry was from a male – good to know that there are a lot of ladies out there making some kick ass short films!
BABY FACE (dir: Kate Shenton)
Possibly inspired by the look of the killer from Hills Run Red (named, er, Babyface), this creepy short was effective and even a bit sad, as the title character clearly wanted to be left alone with his coloring books and building blocks, and will lash out at anyone who bothered him. And Hills déjà vu or no, the mask was fucking awesome.
BARBIE GIRLS (dir: Vinciane Millereau)
The (rightful) Best Film winner, this knocked me on my ass. Concerning three gal pals who head off to an isolated cabin for a weekend getaway, it unfolds quite unexpectedly, taking as many twists as I can recall in a single short. And it’s hilarious; the first half is full of great non sequitur dialogue, the second is pitch black gore comedy. If Millereau can apply this sort of inspired storytelling and mix of humor in a feature, I guarantee it would be one of my favorite films of that year.
ESCAPE FROM HELLVIEW (dir: Hadas Brandes)
Last year’s fest had a few animated pieces, but sadly this was the only one this time around. Luckily it was a great one, depicting a child’s journey to/escape from a terrifying carnival world filled with killer clowns and other assorted nightmares. The animation style kicked ass too, and I love that it was apparently based on a CKY song, of all things. More animation in 2013, please!
JUMP! (dir: Louisa Fielden)
I wouldn’t dare dream of spoiling this one. A guy tries to save a girl from jumping off a building. That’s all I’ll tell you. A wicked and wonderful SHORT short (it was only like 3 minutes long; most were in the 10 minute range).
SYBLING RIVALRY (dir: Tara-Nicole Azarian)
Ms. Azarian is only like 14 or something, so what minor quibbles I had with the movie are irrelevant – how kickass is it that someone that young is not only making a short, but making a short involving fratricide and cannibalism? A mean-spirited highlight; I sincerely hope she will continue to indulge her filmmaking career.
THE DUMP (dir: Rebekah McKendry)
It went on a bit long but I loved the premise behind this piece, in which two serial killers inadvertently meet while dumping the bodies of their latest victims. The two discuss who has rights to the spot, coach each other on catchphrases… it’s pretty damn hilarious, and recalled one of last year’s highlights (12-15-1996). There’s something about two murderers arguing that just amuses me, I guess.
THE HALLOWEEN KID (dir: Axelle Carolyn)
This one was sort of like a filmed adaptation of a children’s book about a kid who loved Halloween, and was thus very sweet and the rare (only!) film in the bunch that would be OK to show a young kid. As someone who had the privilege of seeing R rated fare when I was younger when many friends did not (and thus I had few friends to talk horror with until high school), I think it’s important to make “all ages” horror fare for kids whose parents aren’t awesome enough to show them the gory stuff just yet. You don’t want to be deprived of an entire genre until you’re a teenager!
THE MORNING AFTER (dir: Jen Moss)
Another one where it’s hard to talk about without spoiling the twist, I enjoyed this one’s commitment to an unusual (but amusing) idea, and I liked how casual the big reveal was (rather early on, but still, I’d prefer not to spoil it). Also, lead actress Kate Nash is actually a platinum selling recording artist, so kudos to the team for nabbing her – turns out she’s a pretty good actress as well.
Now, again, these are just the ones that really stuck out for one reason or another. A couple I had seen before, and even the ones I didn’t like much were well made and ambitious, which is all I ask for (but not TOO ambitious, because then you’re just botching a good idea if you don’t have the means to do it justice). Presentation was also top notch, it seems folks are finally getting the hang of exporting festival-ready formats for their films, thus making me less likely to have my eyes assaulted by blown up clips that look like they were recompressed from Youtube. There were also a couple of trailers, but I’m not sure if they were for features or shorts. Add in some free booze and weird finger foods (watermelon and cheese?) and you have an eclectic day at the Egyptian that was (to my eyes) much more organized and enjoyable than last year’s, which was at a different venue. Grats to the filmmakers and organizers, see you next year!
What say you?