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AICN's Cinematic Shrimp #2: Rape By ManWolf, Cool Aerial Warfare, Uberpsychos, And Something That's Just Plain Beautiful!!

Cinematic Shrimp hopes to turn you onto some great short films, talented filmmakers, and helpful moviemaking tips. In addition to in-depth interviews and articles, we bring you a few choice Shrimp for your viewing pleasure...

GLEN ("Merrick")

—>Follow Glen/"Merrick" on Twitter HERE!

BIG BAD WOLVES Written & Directed by RAJNEEL SINGH Produced by CRAIG PARKES Adapted from the sketch by CHRIS KERR Cinematography by MARC MATEO Art Direction by ANNAMARIE CONNORS Costumes by CHANTELLE GERRARD Edited by JASON PENGELLY & ANDY MCGRATH
First of all, you should know that this is (decidedly) NSFW. This said, there are many qualities to this film I really admire - most notably, its complex assembly and its ambition. This a short that doesn't take the easy way out in terms of concept, design, or execution. The film making here is self-assured, and the assembly of the film is well-considered and propulsive. My friend Jett, an actor/filmmaker himself, said he never totally believed in the guys sitting around the table. I can see his point to an extent, but would also argue that the purpose of this film isn't necessarily to believe in those guys - I think this functions are a far higher conceptual level. BUt the discussion being had by those men around that table? As OTT as it may seem to some folks, I've heard plenty of conversations just like that (looking at you, Harry). The film is described thusly by its director: "Big Bad Wolves" is a 13-minute, multi-award-winning and hilarious short film from New Zealand, released in 2006. Five mobsters sit in a diner and pass the time between jobs by talking about the ways of the world. One of them suddenly suggests that the story of "Little Red Riding Hood" is actually a morality tale about sex-education. When the others don't believe him, he retells the story as it was meant to be told. Tarantino-mashes-up-with-Brothers-Grimm in this dark and intensely funny fantasy/comedy that will change the way you look at fairytales forever! Winner of "Best Director" at the 2006 Big Mountain Ohakune Short Film Festival, "Best Upcoming Filmmaker" at the 2006 Magma Rotorua Film Festival and "Best Short Film" at the 2009 Donetsk Ukraine Short Film Festival. Enjoy...

BIG BAD WOLVES from Rajneel Singh on Vimeo.

BLANK SPACES Here's another short by Ranjeel Singh - it's called BLANK SPACES. At 3 minutes, it's lot shorter than BIG BAD WOLVES (and this one is suitable for work). It looks great, sounds great, and has a fun premise introduced/explored/executed in an astonishingly short period of time. The film's Vimeo page offers this context:
It was one of 5 scripts selected out of over a thousand entries and then produced at the price of $100,000NZ per film. The rules were that the films had to be shootable in Queenstown, New Zealand with 5 days of preproduction, 2 days filming and 7 days of post-production at Peter Jackson's Park Road Post facility in Miramar, Wellington. The scripts were supposed to reflect, embody or celebrate Tourism New Zealand's then current campaign: 100% Pure New Zealand - The Youngest Country On Earth. The scripts were selected by a panel made up of Academy-Award winning producer Barrie Osborne, Academy Award winning visual effects director Christian Rivers, notable film editor David Coulson and New Zealand film producer Philippa Campbell.

BLANK SPACES from Rajneel Singh on Vimeo.

Diggin' Ranjeel's work. He may well be one to watch...


Explosions? Did I read that some talkbackers wanted to see "stuff that goes boom"? Then let's start with a minute and a half of supersonic fighter jets, testosterone, and mushroom clouds, shall we? (This is an oldie but a goodie...) STORMBIRDS

Stormbirds from Phil Shoebottom on Vimeo.

As you can tell, "Stormbirds" is not a narrative, but a cinematic concept produced by RealtimeUK to show how awesome their CG work is. And pretty much everything about it is awesome -- the cinematography, the particle work, the combat choreography, and the killer sound design.
If you're like me and spaceships and battlemechs are more your thing, check out this brand new teaser trailer for Project London, an independently-produced, no-budget sci-fi flick chock full of sweet effects... PROJECT LONDON: MULTIPLY TEASER

Project London: Multiply Teaser from Phil McCoy on Vimeo.

Finally, here's a film that you can tell everyone involved is having fun with the material. It's called "Take-Out", a horror comedy that played several film festivals last year. There are some good laughs here -- particularly from the elderly couple as they toy with their dinner guest (and Chris Lamont's script). Read my interview with director Joe Russo after you watch the short below... TAKE-OUT

Take-Out from Joe Russo on Vimeo.


NAR: A lot of us low-budget filmmakers write gory, violent situations into a script, then realize we have to figure out a way to do it convincingly with no money. I've seen guys eat raw hamburger to sell a shot! What did you use for the bloody raw "snack" the couple ate at the end of the film? It looked surprisingly... good. JOE: For Steve’s “meat” we used strip steak. We filmed ‘Take-Out’ in a weekend on an incredibly low budget, but that effect is a HUGE part of the movie, so lots of prep went into making sure it worked. The meat coming out of his leg was raw, but we had to make it edible for our actor’s close-ups, so we did have some cooked meat dipped in mint flavored “blood” for when the actors were chowing down!
NAR: Mmm... mint flavored blood -- it's like menthol for cannibals. The elderly couple was delightfully creepy. Was it a long casting process? JOE: Bob Rue, who played the part of Robert, is a major Phoenix actor and voice talent that we really wanted, but weren’t sure he’d go for the material. After all he does commercial spots for everything from local universities to the Catholic Diocese! But, he read the script, dug it, and the rest is history. Debra Watt came through casting sessions with local actors and she was an absolute blessing. Sorry about the bad joke, but she killed it in auditions. When I saw the tape, there was no question; she was Doris. Debra had never played a villainess’ role before, but she loved it. Bob and Debra wound up having a lot of quirky chemistry together. For inspiration I had them watch the eighties black comedy ‘Eating Raoul’. They both got what I was looking for right away and the results were a lot of fun! Sophie, the victim at the beginning of the movie, was the easiest to cast since she was played by my wife, Crystal Lubahn. She did a nice job selling Steve as our evil serial killer, which was important to set the stakes for the rest of the film. And I’ll admit it was a little fun watching her get tortured on camera, but don't tell her that. I had worked under Dean Ronalds on a movie he produced a few months prior to shooting ‘Take-Out’. We became friends and thought it would be fun to have him act in our short as the serial killer, Steve. And I will also admit that I enjoyed torturing him as well. It’s what every PA on a set dreams about!
NAR: Are you working on another film now? JOE: I have a very exciting script that I co-wrote, ‘Containment’, that I’m looking to direct. It’s a suspense/thriller that does some fantastic things to turn the horror genre on its head. We found a great angle that let’s us put real characters in a realistic, horrific situation. Not just gratuitous sex and violence, but don’t worry, we’ve got some of that too! It’s a fun genre piece that does a nice job balancing my favorite horror archetypes with a story that is timely and powerful. We’ve been getting a lot of great buzz about the script and some exciting opportunities are starting to present themselves!
—> Follow Nar on Twitter HERE! Watch Nar's web show, "Fanboy Funhouse" HERE!


I've got two very different pieces for you this week THE THIRD & THE SEVENTH Now probably a good few of you out there have seen this already, but I believe that the artistry involved here should be seen by the widest possible audience. This is very different from a lot of the stuff that going to be posted here. It's more of a mood piece, a collision of of the arts of Architecture & Photography ( and yeah, in this case I do think they deserve the capitals). This piece is even more remarkable when you consider it was all modeled, textured, animated, lit, rendered & comped by one guy, Spanish artist Jorge Seva ( working under the alias Alex Roman), he even did the music. Tech wise- if you're interested...modelled in max, rendered in V-ray, comped in AfterFx & cut in Premiere. 16 months work, evenings & weekends. The embed's below, but I do recommend you check out the HD version on Vimeo itself

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

I noticed in the Talkbacks that some of you were bemoaning the lack of geek fare last week. It comes down to one thing, most of the stuff we get just ain't that good.The majority of submissions look like your standard youtube background noise. So when something pops up that shows promise even in just one area, we'll latch onto it. I'll come back to this in a bit.
THE GROVE Straight off let me just say that a lot of effort appears to have gone into this. Emile Smith, the Writer/Director of this piece, is a visual effects artist, currently at ILM, who's worked on a bunch of stuff like ST: Voyager, Firefly & Galactica. He apparently shot this in two days, on 35mm, for a budget of "under $30k" and then did all the fx work himself. Now that figure might seem enormous to a lot of you working on shorts out there, but in LA, if you're trying to do a good-looking, film-originated piece with a bunch of FX in, that ain't going to stretch too far. All the technical elements are pretty good here, the creative however has...some problems. The script veers very close to self-parody at points and there's a few - I'm sure unintentional, laughs, along with some genuine WTFWTT? moments. It has to be applauded for scope though, I've seen very few shorts that even tried to attempt this much stuff, successfully or not.

The Grove from Emile Smith on Vimeo.

Now if you'll excuse me, I wanna go off on a little rant.....I might be on my own on this one, I dunno how the other guys feel about the general quality of stuff were seeing, but here goes. Y'know, at some point I gotta wonder if the DV revolution and the 'democratization of filmmaking' is really a good thing. Here's where I show my age. The whole idea of packaging up your precious 50ft Super-8 reels in those big yellow pre-addressed envelopes( thinking about it now, a curious forerunner to netflix packaging). Sending them out to another town -another state!...and basically doing the need-to-piss two-step for a couple of weeks waiting for that Kodak ( or Canon or Fuji) logo to appear in your mailbox, tearing open said package, threading up the projector and sitting in your never-quite-dark-enough bedroom. Watching as bits of your latest epic paraded their way across the wall, to the accompaniment of the smell of hot dust from the lamp and the baby-machine-gun clatter of the sprocket claws. Only then finding out if the stuff you shot two weeks ago was gonna be in any way usable, 'specially if you'd tried something new. Learning the little stuff as you went along...Editing in your head first, to save on feet of wasted celluloid ( and bucks of wasted allowance)...Finding out that just having one of those hideously fragile 1K lamps pointing straight at your subject does not in fact, qualify as lighting your shots...Trying to figure out why your dialogue sequences look muddled, when you'd never heard of the phrase 'crossing the line'...And of course, the eternal search for something that passed for a good, wet, impossibly huge bullet hit. Now you might feel that I'm painting the difficulties in a needlessly golden nostalgic glow, but no. The reality was that, even at the time, all this stuff felt strange and magical. When you replace the majority of what I've just written to the process of hitting the 'Play' button on top of your camcorder, 2 seconds after you've just yelled 'cut', and I cant help the feeling that something's been lost. It strikes me that when the process was harder it weeded out those who weren't serious about the craft of filmmaking. You REALLY had to love what you were doing just to have the stamina to wade through the process and come out the other side with anything even vaguely presentable. If you ever met anyone that had made a 10 or 20 minute short on Super-8, you KNEW that, on at least some level, they got it. I'm no celluloid snob. I was one of the first few guys to shell out on a RED back when they were just a 3 page web site. I've shot on pretty much every available format of video there is...and I think what it comes down to is one simple fact. It shouldn't be easy. If your latest piece was an absolute breeze to make, go back and look at it again, you've probably done something wrong. If the sheer technical process is easier nowadays, then look at whats IN FRONT of the camera. Spend the time on the littler things. Wardrobe shouldn't just be what anyone happened to have on that day...Lighting shouldn't just be of the 'is it bright enough?' variety....and performances shouldn't just be 'did they get the lines right?' There's a reason film crews are of a certain size...It's someone job to CARE about each of the individual little things. If you cant get a crew large enough to divvy up that responsibility then its down to YOU to care even harder. Looking at the submissions so far it's very easy to see the difference between the ones that care and the one who are just frankly, fucking around in front of a camera. What you can be sure of is that WE care, so the stuff you'll be seeing here will have something. It might not always be technically perfect...the scripts might not always ring quite right...some performances might be off. But there'll be a spark, there'll be something we've seen in your work that shows you care about what you've done. To the ones that care....we need to see more from you guys.

E-MAIL US!!! submit your short films via link or embed code, or to contact any member of the Shrimp Team!!!


Glen Oliver / Aint It Cool News 4301 W. William Cannon Dr. Suite B-150 Box # 243 Austin, TX 78749 Phone = (512) 981-5897

Previous Cinematic Shrimp!!! February 16, 2010 (announcement) March 22, 2010

Readers Talkback
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  • March 29, 2010, 10:35 a.m. CST

    I'm loving this...

    by Johnny T Williams

    as far as I'm concerned, the single greatest idea AICN ever had. Fantastic, guys! Keep 'em coming!

  • March 29, 2010, 10:40 a.m. CST

    So we're showing FX reels now?

    by D.Vader

    I thought that kinda defeats the point of what this column was supposed to be doing? Championing short films and indie filmmakers? <p> The FX reel by RealTimeUK was pretty kickass but... at the end of the day, its a showreel to attract business, not a short film made by a starving filmmaker.

  • March 29, 2010, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Great idea

    by TheIceJ

    As a filmmaker myself, its really exciting to have such a huge platform out there and my submission is on its way. Well done guys.

  • March 29, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    This feature is growing on me

    by umbral_shadow_

    I was skeptical about Cinematic Shrimp at first, but it's definitely gaining momentum. And in the words of Palpatine to the young Anakin in PM, I shall be watching your career with great interest, Rajneel Singh.

  • March 29, 2010, 10:58 a.m. CST


    by PeanutButterSlut

    Why u bashing the grove, that was good for 30k you fuck! Let's see you do better! Lol.......

  • March 29, 2010, 11:01 a.m. CST


    by Thor490

    i hate to admit this but take out was prob better than about 90% of horror movies that get released every year by big studios...

  • March 29, 2010, 11:01 a.m. CST


    by Merrick

    I didn't even mention THE GROVE. That was MR BLAYLOCK.

  • March 29, 2010, 11:34 a.m. CST

    FX Reels/Trailers/Fan Films

    by Hellstrom

    I have to agree with D.Vader, by all means show them, but either give them their own category or lump them together as fun eye candy at the end.

  • March 29, 2010, 11:39 a.m. CST

    I looked the FX reels...

    by MainMan2001

    ...but why the long iphone commercial. That wasn't a short film but a commercial.

  • March 29, 2010, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Speaking of Shrimp, where the heck is "Robogeisha"?

    by MisterE

  • March 29, 2010, 12:05 p.m. CST

    ... No idea

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    ...What this is about... i thought tbers were gonna submit their stuff but all i see is a bunch of words...

  • March 29, 2010, 12:15 p.m. CST


    by JoeRussoFilm

    Thor, thanks so much for the positive feedback! As a long time AICN reader it's a thrill to see my stuff on here!

  • March 29, 2010, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Mr. Blaylock: YES!!! THANK YOU!!!

    by mrgray

    This has been my biggest complaint and worry about the whole Youtube generation and cheap videomaking tech. Just because you *can* doesn't mean you *should* and too often those who *shouldn't* are the ones who *do*. It's one of the problems of art, particularly mass-consumed art: subjectivism leads to the notion that because one has an opinion and/or an aesthetic taste, that makes one versed in that art. Which leads to the notion that "hey, I can do that!" It's frustrating because only in the arts are you allowed to do that. I've taken a few physics classes in college and read about the hedron collider. Should I then build my own hedron collider and start smashing atoms? Fuck no! <p> What's funny/depressing is that the small-scale problem is kinda the same as the large-scale. People with no sense of story put in charge of creating a film (ie: Jo Schmo with a cheap cam AND/OR studio executives).

  • March 29, 2010, 12:46 p.m. CST


    by PeanutButterSlut

    My bad glen. I misread how you formatted it. Lol. Maybe YOU should write clearer, j/k

  • March 29, 2010, 2:19 p.m. CST

    The Narrator in Big Bad Wolves

    by gotilk

    seriously looks like a Ferengi! Great films, guys. Really liking this feature.

  • March 29, 2010, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Martin Kove exists in this dojo.

    by Skraggo

    Where the hell's Cobra--Kai when you need him?

  • March 29, 2010, 3:01 p.m. CST

    The Grove

    by Skraggo

    The Grove makes any given SyFy original look like high cinematic art. TERRIBLE. The dialogue was excruciating. The acting was pitiful. (Twizzlers do not exist in THIS dojo.) The "cinematography".... [sigh] Jesus Christ. I've come to accept that "shaky-cam" is here to stay. I even got used to it in Galactica and begrudgingly admitted that it might even be effective for certain things. But THIS shit in The Grove... Get a load of the laughable scene in the hallway where the skyjocks are arguing. Was a chimpanzee operating the camera? AWFUL.

  • March 29, 2010, 3:06 p.m. CST


    by Skraggo

    I liked this one. Love the bit with the finger and the celery. I actually jumped. I thought the acting was a little iffy with the married couple, but all in all it works. It was fun. It's a cool concept that reminds me of Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Well done, Mr. Russo.

  • March 29, 2010, 3:13 p.m. CST


    by Skraggo

    So what if it's just an FX reel? It was fucking cooooooool. I love good cinema as much as the next filmgeek, but I also like the occasional 90 seconds of shit blowing up real good. This one was an example of hand-held "cinematography" used effectively, in the vein of BSG.

  • March 29, 2010, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Blank Spaces

    by Skraggo

    Yeah, it felt like a Super Bowl commercial for iPhone, but I still dug it.

  • March 29, 2010, 3:43 p.m. CST

    RE: Take-Out

    by JoeRussoFilm

    Skraggo - Glad you liked it! That was exactly the concept and feel we were going for!

  • March 29, 2010, 4 p.m. CST

    The Company of Wolves...

    by DrManhattansUnit

    ...has already been made, RIGHT?

  • March 29, 2010, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Shouldn't be easy

    by Ollegs

    I think any technological advancements that make realizing the filmmaker's vision easier are a good thing. If that technology makes it easier for idiots to make films, then that's a good thing to because it just shows that there's more to it than equipment.

  • March 29, 2010, 4:32 p.m. CST

    Take out

    by kurtfilm22

    Great work by a gifted up and coming filmmaker! A must see!

  • March 29, 2010, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Have your work judged by the B-team at AICN!

    by Toilet_Terror

    Sorry, but it sort of looks that way so far since Harry and Quint aren't writing pieces. Maybe that isn't enough incentive for people to submit better films. A more prominent placement for this feature on the front page might help get more eyeballs, and better submissions. Maybe a link in the top navigation-bar?

  • March 29, 2010, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Ollegs: agree and disagree

    by mrgray

    I'm also in favor of making it cheaper for burgeoning filmmakers to start out. I'm in even MORE favor of getting low-cost tech to universities with film/tv departments. Anyone who has ever gone to college for film/tv knows that "lab fees", "equipment fees", etc. are a bitch on the pocketbook. <p> As for "it just shows that there's more to it than equipment", I have to disagree. One of the implications of Mr. Blaylock's comments is that a large number of talkbackers are sending in volumes of stuff and the majority isn't terribly good. When you say "it just shows", who does it show? The talkbackers, most of whom are contributing the tripe? I agree that the lack of quality proves that there's more to decent filmmaking than just the tech, but my complaint/worry is that fewer and fewer of us give a shit about that quality because hey, if you don't like Youtube video 10294847 you can always move on to 10294848. Or better yet, you and your buddies can grab a camera and make Youtube video 10294849 in a wonderful cycle of self-gratification! It's numbing.

  • March 29, 2010, 7:41 p.m. CST

    In the last Cinematic Shrimp talkback...

    by CountryBoy

    ... someone mentioned THE INCREDIBLY SLOW MURDERER WITH THE HORRIBLY INEFFICIENT WEAPON. It sounded funny, so I watched it the other day at the library. I had my earphones on so no one would be disturbed.<p>So about halfway through it, this old guy walks up and starts waving his newspaper at me. I looked at him, baffled; and he pointed at my laptop and said, "That's loud." I realized to my horror that I'd plugged my earphones into the microphone jack by accident -- so I was playing the sound on the speakers for all to hear! I must have looked idiotic, sitting there with earphones on while blasting this whacko profanity-laced movie in the middle of the library...<p>Just thought some of you might enjoy that.

  • March 29, 2010, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Speaking of

    by ME_M

  • March 29, 2010, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Speaking of Ferengi...

    by ME_M

    The best fairy tale revision was on ST: DS9, when Garek told Dr. Bashir the true moral behind "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

  • March 29, 2010, 8:28 p.m. CST

    The "too easy" debate --

    by Skraggo

    The ubiquity of affordable filmmaking equipment and editing/FX software these days, combined with the use of the internet as a distribution outlet is truly a double-edged sword. As an amateur filmmaker myself who has found some measure of minimal, fleeting internet notoriety in recent years for a semi-well-known Star Wars parody, as well as a YouTube vid that actually made me several thousand dollars from a big name office supply chain that licensed it for an (unused) advertising campaign, I am absolutely all for this new paradigm. The notion that you can produce a short film, upload it to the web, and have a potential audience of millions of people is really mindblowing for some of us middle aged bastards who remember life before cellphones, the internet, or even VCR's. "Going viral" is an exhilarating thing, despite the fact that "viral" in no way necessarily equates to "good." And that's the other edge of the sword. In a world where anybody with a computer can upload anything, the internet has become the sound of a million voices all screaming "Look at me!" all at once. And like mrgray said, it can be a little numbing. There's no quality control. No filter to sort the wheat from the chaff. So, while I'm all for it and have benefitted from it, I also find that my Old Codger Syndrome starts kicking in more and more when I think about how truly spoiled everyone has gotten at the ease of getting this stuff out there. You no longer have to produce a quality product in order for it to have a chance at being seen by a mass audience. Case in point, a couple of the films on this very page. Hell they even went through a panel of site editors to get here. I wouldn't give you two red cents for "The Grove." But, I guess in the end everything's subjective. ....maybe. In an ideal world, the cream should rise to the top. But the internet paradigm has changed all that. And it's not just the internet. The advent of reality TV and the general dumbing down of our Idiocracy has gone a long way toward turning our entertainment media into some kind of soupy gruel in which whatever cream there might be gets easily lost.

  • March 29, 2010, 10:03 p.m. CST

    Blank Spaces

    by BadMrWonka

    would have been better if the technician was the guy's girlfriend and the words were a marriage proposal!<p>okay, that might have been a little cheesy, but you know...

  • March 30, 2010, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Blank Spaces - Your Big Break

    by Fineus Fog

    if you guys like Blank Spaces you check out the other entries