Monday, October 1, 2012

Fantastic Fest 2012 Review: Fantastic Shorts

As always, I am the big fan of the shorts programming of most movie festivals that I attend to. This year's DIFF roster as really great, and I was very excited to see what my friends in the shorts programming panel would have in store for me. As I always like to do with shorts programs, I will only highlight five of my favorite segments. Check them out after the break.

DIALOGUE (Dir. Josh Johnson, 1 min., USA)
Full disclosure. I know the sexy man behind the camera. But that doesn't mean I can't love the 80 second short of a couple dealing with the fact that the guy finds a screaming vagina that grew on his arm.

BIO-COP (Dir. Steven Kotanski, 5 min., USA)
Brought to us by Astron 6, the guys behind last year's hilarious MANBORG, we have a long "trailer" for the upcoming movie BIO-COP. The design and feel to the story were very much along that cheesy 80's feel that MANBORG had. I really hope these guys do a 90 minute feature some day. (Edit: My friend Brian Kelley reminded me that Astron-6 has done the full length feature, FATHER'S DAY.)

RECORD/PLAY (Dir. Jesse Atlas, 11 min., USA)
This was one of the most beautifully shot shorts in the whole festival. Not only that, but it's the most tragic and heart warming story of the festival. It deals with a man able to somehow travel back in time through a tape of a former lover who as we gather, died while teaching abroad. It's got very little dialogue but what it lacks in spoken word, it speaks volumes in its visual storytelling.

OUT OF ERASERS (Dir. Erik Rosenlund, 15 min., Sweden)
This was the most stylized and could borderline as an animated short in my opinion. But I love the black and white, 1930's aesthetic. This story deals with a woman that finds an infection that turns people and objects into an eraser-looking shell of a person. The beautiful protagonist tries to outrun this infection. It can be repelled with erasers, but there's a coincidentally tragic eraser shortage in the town. It's haunting, frenetic and paranoid but it was a great treat to see.

THE TEA PARTY (Dir. Cameron McCulloch, 12 min., Australia)
 This one mixes a lot of funny things to come up with an ultimately freaky cautionary tale of sexually transmitted disease. There's a weird modern day Cinderella courting a "prince" at her home with a beautifully set dinner. There's the talking stuffed animals warning the prince to stay away. The humor is crude, the dialogue is hilarious, and the twist ending is enough of a crazy concept that it I loved it.

This was probably the most well varied of the shorts programs with a little of humor, tragedy and gore. The honorable mention goes out to VIENNA WAITS FOR YOU. It's a little on the longer side, but the story is so tragic and bizarre that it warranted mention. Once again, the short films end up being some of the most memorable films I see in a movie festival.

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