This Week's SATURDAY SHORTS is a Genre-Fest of Fun!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with your very own weekly film fest nestled safely in the confines of SATURDAY SHORTS. This week we're going to mix it up a bit with a few horror, a few thrillers, a drama (which is nothing short of amazing), and perhaps a sci-fi or two. If you've been following SATURDAY SHORTS at all, you've probably noticed I tend to feature a lovely amount of comedy and horror - and the occasional sci/fi or drama cluster. Ever so often I like to mix it up with a bit of variety, so you're constantly getting to cleanse your palate with each short you click on.
If it's here, it's because I personally think it's a cool/interesting/unique film that needs to be seen. I more than hope you guys and gals dig them too, but hey - feel free to shoot your thoughts out in the TalkBacks below. There's always filmmakers in the audience and occasionally they'll respond, so if you're like "Why the hell did they pick that song for that scene?" or "Holy hell, how did they pull that shot off?" - ask! That said, this is a No-Troll-Zone and unlike any other TalkBack on AICN, if you're dying to say something hateful or be a dick, go do that in another article por favor - or better yet, don't.
Go grab yourself some popcorn, lock your kids in a closet, kill the lights, relax and check out this little weekly film fest we've got ourselves here:
First up for this week is Martin Stirling's high concept, well executed, and simple story done right. It's got a TWILIGHT ZONE vibe mixed with a rather musty color palette. "With Automate, you don't need to date" Ann, a lonely career woman, struggles to connect with a robot companion designed to love her. If you dig the short, you ought to give Martin's site a tiny bit of your time, HERE.
BLOOD ON MY HANDS
Up next we have a short from master editor Stef Hrycyk (seriously, check out the guy's website, he's a beast). BLOOD ON MY HANDS is an interesting short in that it almost goes out of its way to play with your expectations. In his own words, "[It's a] short film playing on people's perception of character." It's like solving a puzzle almost - short and instantly hooks you in.
(Sci/Fi - Action)
Here we are with another high concept short done well. The production design is pretty cool, again simple, but done well. The film was directed, written, produced, and edited by Shawn Costa and I really dig it. "A cyborg named Abel escapes a top-secret facility. A detective named Cain is hired to track it down and in process, Cain discovers the shocking truth about himself."
I don't think I've ever heard of "magical realism" before, but Andrew Griffin's short is something else. It's an incredibly beautiful film jam packed with performances that don't let down. It's "a tale of a troubled couple, visited by an ominous stork bearing both hope and tragedy."
(Horror - Animation)
So here we have a cool little Halloween-vibe type short that's pretty cool. Average moviegoers, and not so average moviegoers are becoming more and more accustomed to Pixar and Dreamworks style 3D animation and if that's what you're looking for here, you're in the wrong place. This short incorporates a few different styles of animation to tell the story.
Billy, his sister Lisa, and her boyfriend Mike spend Halloween at the drive-in after trick or treating. When Billy threatens to walk home through an dark cornfield, Mike tells him a legend of Old Farmer Blood, who is said to have seeded his field with the blood of murder victims. When Billy disbelieves, Mike leads the trio into a nightmare of unrelenting terror.
RAVEN'S HOLLOW is a short film co-written, directed and animated by Colin Clarke, made entirely on home computers using off the shelf software. Clarke's previous credits include "Frankenstein vs the Wolfman in 3D", and the Gothic superhero short films "Raven" and "Raven 2".
That's all for this week folks, see you next week!
Thanks for reading/watching. If you feel like checking out more SATURDAY SHORTS, click any of the links below:
If you have a short and think it belongs here or are on the fence about whether to send it in, please do send it in - I'd love to see what you've put together. I've already seen hundreds of fresh new filmmakers' shorts and like any good addict, I need more!
Shoot me an email at "Mike@aintitcool.com"
In the subject line include:
“SHORTS” + “Your film’s name” + “The film’s genre”
Then, in the body of the email, please include a synopsis of the film and any contact information you might think I need or would want published.
Please don’t feel the need to submit multiple times. I swear to each of you I truly check every email I get, and sending the same short a few times just makes it a bit messier.
Remember, the filmmakers might still be in the audience, so feel free to share your thoughts in Talkbacks below. (JUST DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE). I picked them, so you know I think highly of all of these, but how about you fine folks? How'd you like 'em?
- Mike McCutchen
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Oct. 20, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST
Oct. 20, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST
That's been a way to classify or describe a film in festival processes (both on entry forms and in the festival critiques of incoming entries) for a while now. I wonder if "Amelie" started the trend...
Oct. 20, 2012, 10:56 a.m. CST
Oct. 20, 2012, 11:14 a.m. CST
any chance of having a music video sat?! It would be really cool to see some stuff out there, right?
Oct. 20, 2012, 12:36 p.m. CST
You either UFOClub1977? Seriously? That's been a phrase used to describe stories for a very long time. Spielberg movies can often be described as having "magical realism" bc of his blend of real life and the fantastical (E.T. the biggest example of this). Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_realism
Oct. 20, 2012, 12:56 p.m. CST
Of course I've heard of the term. But it never seemed a pop culture term until the last decade or so. I never grew up hearing kid or teen or undergrad filmmakers describe their own movie or a popular movie by that term. And it only appeared as genre category in film festival categorization in the last decade or so from what I've experienced. In fact, the wiki entry even mentions "Amelie". I suspect that the popularity of "Amelie" pushed the term out from literary use into indie cinema / festival jargon. (It's almost a cliche for talented young indie filmmakers form the last decade to have an "Amelie" poster on their wall.)
Oct. 20, 2012, 1:25 p.m. CST
I thought maybe you meant just in reference to film festival genre designation.
Oct. 20, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST
Also beautifully shot and acted. I also dig the editing style of this one. The Gift easily wins best picture for this round of Saturday Shorts. The first one, Automate, was nicely shot but felt like it was trying too hard to be minimalist. As Muldoon said, it had a Twilight Zone feel to the concept. I think it would have been better served actually emulating the black and white look and acting style of an actual 60's era Twilight Zone episode. That would have actually set it apart more from the average short film out there. I did like the twist though. Not a bad effort at all though. The others didn't really do anything for me. Initiative #435 felt like a couple scenes from a longer piece slapped together. The whole thing is basically exposition and then a quick action scene with cliche Hollywood action music and no story besides the guy hunting the cyborg is also a cyborg. Too bad anyone will have already guessed that little twist by reading the logline. Either way, we might as well have been transported by magic to the chase/fight scene. There was no story progression or rising tension at all that took us from the briefing scene to the final confrontation. Also, the Cain and Abel symbolism was really cheesy.
Oct. 20, 2012, 3:46 p.m. CST
It didn't ring a bell at the time I wrote this. Now that you've spelled it out - I do remember the term. Not ashamed to say "Nope, didn't sound familiar."
Oct. 20, 2012, 3:46 p.m. CST
That's a great idea.
Oct. 20, 2012, 3:47 p.m. CST
I did not watch all the credits for Initiative #435, but did he give any credit to Blade Runner. After reading the synopsis, I think EVERYONE knew where it was going to go with the story.
Oct. 20, 2012, 6:52 p.m. CST
by Bill C.
...though, yes, it was a bit Twilight Zone-ish. And Ann was cute. And while this isn't mine, I'm going to recommend another short I discovered a few weeks ago in a lighter but somewhat similar vein: 'Monica Electronica.' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lkuk2W6FZZU
Oct. 21, 2012, 2:17 a.m. CST
AUTOMATE Hysteria (housewife stereotype) reversal, and fitting companion piece to Martin Stirling's FUTURE INC., posted here in July. These projects seem to address satisfaction of romantic needs through the virtual or synthetic, and emergent convolutions. Performances right on target, and duration the proper length. Light use of CG augmentation places narrative into future without being distracting. No quibbles. BLOOD ON MY HANDS Two-act storyline leaves a *waiting for the other shoe to drop* feeling, or need of some exposition or twist as to why the man didn't wash his hands before sitting in plain view. On the nose title card aims for irony, but *Blood on HIS hands* would be less subjective. BG score of dissonant strings and police pursuit kicks this off well — perhaps too well considering the anticlimactic flashback. Consider a brief sequence showing the man trying not to touch anything in the train station (like a ticket dispenser) for fear of being tracked by bloody fingerprints; thus it becomes his undoing. INITIATIVE #435 Patriarch Abraham, son Abel and brother Cain get THE TERMINATOR treatment. Look, sound and music accomplished, esp. dolly/Steadicam and fight blocking. Too one-note for sure, but unapologetically ballsy enough to strike the intended chord. THE GIFT Framing really strong here, showing off great location — just point and shoot. Editing skips things along wonderfully and CG, color grades & sky replacements fine. One of those shorts that obviously knew exactly what was required of actors in advance, leaving results underplayed and letting the somber score fill in a great deal. Assured craft saves this from appearing contrived for its theme of storks defending nest/mother's maternal instinct, which is ultimately style over substance. Nonetheless, moody and evocative. RAVEN'S HOLLOW Hat's off to anyone who can complete something like this basically on their own. Limited resources leaves animation feeling stiff/robotic, but stylish virtual camera moves for 3D segments help greatly. Model of boy seems to lose makeup texture map after entering the barn. Keep at this and *See you next Wednesday* ;-) . Overall this week = Va-va-vooom!
Oct. 21, 2012, 2:21 p.m. CST
Gift - created a great sense of place and had the right tone. Automate - though have seen similar shorts covering this topic. Actors and lighting kept my interest. The others were okay.
Oct. 21, 2012, 3:56 p.m. CST
by Industrious Angel
"Automate" was very minimalistic end effective in depicting its theme, the lens is just observing (reminds me of Lem short-stories). Might be expanded a bit if we get to know the first female character (she's an automate too I hope?) "Blood on My Hands" had a nice, lively camera moving with and around the protagonist, and good light. Dialogue was not necessary. It felt as if there was a deeper story waiting to be told here. "Initiative #435" was a bit like a pun that gets explained while you tell it. Should get a 2nd story interwoven, and the droids should definitely Not be named Cain and Abel :) - ok from the technical POV. "The Gift" was professional material; very confident filmmaking, no false tones at all. Best film this week. "Magical Realism" btw hails from painting and (maybe more to the point) literature, with writers like Calvino or Bulgakov or, more contemporary, Marquez, Allende and Rushdie. "Raven's Hollow" is good but I didn't get why it was animated to start with. I guess it's a kind of showreel but neither story nor set asked for animated fare - this would be creepier with live actors and bodies. Reminds me strongly of Joe R. Lansdale btw :)
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