Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Worldwide Short Film Festival 2011: SciFi Out There and Midnight Mania

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Images from: Pixels, Umbra and Yuri Lennon's Landing on Alpha 46

Sci Fi: OUT THERE

The Sci Fi: OUT THERE is one I always look forward to at the Worldwide Short Film Festival, and this years selections deliver yet again. From the humorous to the haunting, it's a great array of interesting ideas from the playful to the painful. Here's a look at several of the shorts in the program.

Pixels
Dir: Patrick Jean
France, 3 minutes

Awesome animation homage to old school Atari & arcade games transpixelled on city streets. Well crafted, funny and nostalgic all in one, I adored it!

Dissonance
Dir: Anne Leclercq
Cast: Anne-Cécile Vandalem
Belgium, 17 minutes

Wow. This one freaked me out. I love how it can tell it's highly conceptual scifi story with very little verbal language relayed, and how ironic that is considering our protagonist specializes in language. Haunting, lonely and resonate, Dissonance left me unnerved with it's beauty.

Peaceforce
Dir: Peter Gornstein
Cast: Cyron Melville, Henning Jensen, Anders Hoyt
Denmark, 19 minutes

Morally complex and easy-to-access this short film is set in 2032 Copenhagen and adeptly explores the greater complications of human nature and societies. Showing a hard and fast 'protective' agency and the people they are apparently 'protecting' is shows how little is 'clear' for anyone.

Umbra
Dir: Malcolm Sutherland
Canada, 6 minutes

Cute little creature that's doing it's best to figure out where it is and what it's doing. Short, stompy and to the point, this animated film is a mind trip and feels like a moments where it clearly shows how ideas in it of themselves can be truly scary. And, um... really cute. Loved it.

Yuri Lennon's Landing on Alpha 46
Dir: Anthony Vouardoux
Switzerland/Germany, 15 minutes

Yuri Lennon's Landing on Alpha 46 is really short filmmaking at it's best, using a great idea with limited points of view to explore a grander issue. Love that. The ideas fit the format, and in this case a space launch and investigation of a transmission. Brilliant short film.

SCI FI: Out There program screens at Worldwide Short Film Festival on Wednesday June 1, 2011 at 9:15PM at the ROM.

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Images from The Legend of Beaver Dam and Ninjas

Midnight Mania - Creepy and Freaky Programs
Ready to stay up late and get all freaked out? You are in luck because with these programs you will!

Here's a look at several of the shorts in theMidnight Mania Creepy program:

The Legend of Beaver Dam
Dir: Jerome Sable
Canada, 12 minutes

Hilarious and totally messed up take on a camp fire/ghost story gone wrong. The Legend of Beaver Dam had me in stitches. It doesn't hold back on any level, pushing all the buttons and delivers equal portions of horror and humour. Really got a kick out of it! Actually, it would kick you if it could. Maybe it can!

Ella
Dir: Dan Gitsham
Cast: Anthony Head
UK, 9 minutes

Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Merlin) star in Ella and we follow throughout as we try to piece together the mystery, and the horror, of not only the story but also his characters involvement and actions. Haunting and unsettling, Ella kept me on edge.

Adder's Bite
Dir: Firas Momani
Canada, 10 minutes

I can't honestly say that I understand all (or any) of the story of (or if there was one) in Adder's Bite, but I can say that I was completely absorbed by the film and curiously looking in and around and all over the screen. Bizarre movements and unnerving tone provided a completely visceral viewing experience. Can't wait to see more from filmmaker Firas Momani.

Ninjas
Dir: Dennison Ramalho
Brazil, 22 minutes

Following the torment of a man whose wrestling with the pain of wrong doing, Ninja takes this premise and pushes it to further pain and torment with every step and without reprieve. Long, harsh and brutal, Ninjas is one of the few films that was so disturbing I wish I hadn't see it. Effective, yes but the disturbing imagery & ideas it contains was too brutal for me.

Midnight Mania Creepy screens at Worldwide Short Film Festival on Friday June 3, 2011 at 11:59PM at the Bloor.

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Images from Martyris and Parasitoid

And now for a selection of shorts in the Midnight Mania Freaky program:

Martyris
Dir: Luis Felipe Hernández Alanís
Mexico, 8 minutes

Fascinating animated film that has a strong nightmare like feel following a wild collection of restrained creatures that are painfully unhappy and destructive. High creep factor but absolutely beautifully done.

Parasitoid
Dir: Martin Lotherington
Norway, 10 minutes

Great idea and nice execution as we see a parasite in search of and attempting to connect with it's host. Really engaging and great use of non verbal storytelling, Parasitoid really caught me.

Sticky Ends
Dir: Osman Cerfon
France, 6 minutes

Great comedy of errors and resilience as the bizarre fishlike man blows hovering bubbles that oddly protect people at the worst of times. Very clever and funny, even when you think you shouldn't be laugh it's hard not to!

Turning
Dir: Karni +Saul
UK, 10 minutes

Bizarre and birdy birthday party that for young Robert who has one heck of an imagination while accepting visitors of from three chatty old ladies. I loved how this one was fantastical and bizarre as well as being oddly comforting. Quite a treat.

Umshini Wam / Bring Me My Machine Gun
Dir: Harmony Korine
USA, 16 minutes

I'm a little at a loss of what to say about this one but I couldn't stop watching these wheelchair riding, ganster & ninja talking, hot-dog roasting duo. This short literally left me speechless & dumbfounded.

Midnight Mania Freaky screens at Worldwide Short Film Festival on Saturday June 4, 2011 at 11:59PM at the ROM.

The Worldwide Short Film Festival runs from May 31 - June 5, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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