Tuesday, April 5, 2011

DIFF Review Documentary Shorts - He Said

In the last few weeks, my partner and I have become very big fans of shorts.  Between doing preliminary screenings of shorts in this year’s USA Film Festival, and watching the Oscar nominated ones, I made myself make sure that I could check out as many of the shorts competitions as I could.  With that said here are my impressions of this year’s Documentary Shorts Competition. Even thought it won’t be screened again as of today, it doesn’t harm to look up the directors and their work.

Directed by: Jonas Odell

This short tells the story of the ex-girlfriend of a West German terrorist Norbert Krocher as she meets, dates and is eventually arrested because of her connection with the terrorist.  It is stylishly animated which made it very entertaining, and the story becomes a very well known tale of an abusive relationship, and how you can’t let go of the most destructive person in the world due to love.  Unfortunately, the last few minutes of the movie shift to a more preachy tone, it sort of killed the interesting momentum the movie had going for it. It was still one of the more enjoyable shorts.

Directed by: Chihiro Amemiya

This was the big reason as to why I was watching this particular block of movies.  Twitter’s own ZOMBIEFREAK talked to me about it in the weeks prior to the show. The story follows a 75-year old porn star that has been acting since 1993, and yet his family doesn't knows.  What is unfortunate is that once you get past the premise of it, the novelty wore off, and I realized there was very little to tell of this story.  The subject is barely likable, there’s no real reason for him to be in this situation, and it just becomes tedious to watch.  Finally the short has no sense of direction.   Most disappointing indeed. 

Directed by: Evan Mather

I hated this one.  I get that it was trying to tell something or the other about a family’s trip to Florida, but between the spastic editing, the super fast narration, and random interludes of scenes that make no sense, made this a great chore to get through. Add the pretentious Swedish lettering for no real reason, it was really the worst short I've seen this whole festival. 

Directed by: Matt Mamula, Jason Kovascev

Probably the funniest of the shorts; this movie follows a few professional celebrity impersonators during an annual convention.  While I don’t care for the subject matter (I find them a little sad), it was really entertaining and had a very funny consistent tone through the whole thing.  Very recommended.

Directed by: Teddy Smith

This was a rather moving short with no dialogue and a haunting score.  It its 7 minutes of seeing the Six Flags in New Orleans, which never opened after Hurricane Katrina, and the deterioration it experienced.  Something about the fact that the place looks so torn, and desolate and yet it hasn’t’ been torn down moved quite a bit.  The final shots of the short deliver more emotion than I’ve seen in most mainstream movies this year.

Directed by: Trevor Anderson

A hilarious history of Edmonton’s High Level Bridge, which apparently has a knack for making people want to jump over it.  The narrator Trevor is hilarious in depicting such a somber topic such as a mass suicide spot.  He finishes the film by throwing the camera over the bridge in memory of those that died.  Very well written and some of the shots of the bridge are really interesting.  


  1. I agreed with your take on all of these! I love the shorts. Shorts 2 was my favorite though

  2. I think this year's programs of shorts were really strong. What other ones did you see? I caught up with the Midnight Shorts and Narrative Shorts Program 1