This Week's SATURDAY SHORTS: A Marathon of Fantastic Films!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with this week's lineup of unique, well-made, and over all just enjoyable films for your very own viewing pleasures. As you can imagine, filmmakers of all types submit their shorts to be screened for you guys and gals here. That said, I have an inbox full of everything you can imagine (primarily horror and comedy) and while that's great for the longevity of SATURDAY SHORTS, I can absolutely put myself in the shoes of those who've submitted, not seen their shorts posted within a few weeks, and thoguht "What the hell, Muldoon? Where's my kickass short?"
Fortunately I've only had 3 folks (out of roughly 1,000 films submitted since SS kicked off in January) who've actively felt burned and truly think I'm the biggest jerk in the world for not screening their stuff. That's not what SS is about; it's about enjoying some cool shit, and bam! today definitely delivers with heaping serving of films (twice the norm!). I'm hoping against the idea that since there are more shorts to be seen, some might fall to the wayside. They're all great and I highly suggest viewing them each in full screen if possible.
After this is posted, I'll find myself in the loving confines of the South Lamar Drafthouse for BNAT, so please if I happen to mispel a person's name or get a title wrong - my genuine apologies in advance. (Call them out in the TalkBacks or shoot me an email and I will fix it as soon as BNAT lets out!). So while a few lucky bastards down in Austin get to see movie after movie at an awesome venue, you get to enjoy this amazing spread of cinema in the comfort of your own home.
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:
To kick things off right, we have an Exclusive Online Premiere of John Roberts's short that's been touring the festival circuit, including winning the Grand Jury Prize at the inaugural R3D Festival. We're lucky enough to welcome THE WHEEL to the world wide web. "A whimsical, visually imaginative tale of a dutiful young man, fated to maintain the balance of the world - and his mischievous sister, determined to test the balance."
Next up we have a film from director Rocky Curby, a bonafide Disney artist by day and visual envelope pusher by night. Seriously, this short is nothing short of beautiful image after beautiful image - it's awesome. If you dig what you see, then be sure to hit up the film's Facebook page HERE.
STAY AT HOME DAD
Here we have a unique, if not life-scarring, film up next from New York Times bestselling author/editor-turned-filmmaker: John Skipp, along with his partner in crim: co-director, Andrew Kasch.
"An out-of-work father goes to extreme measures to raise his baby
daughter...with bizarre consequences. Winner of the Audience Award
(Bronze) at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2012.
Co-directed by John Skipp (The Light at the End, Rose: The Bizarro
Zombie Musical) and Andrew Kasch (Thirsty, Never Sleep Again: The Elm
St. Legacy). Written by Cody Goodfellow (All-Monster Action).
Starring Matthew Currie Holmes (Wrong Turn 2), Alisha Seaton (The
Fourth Kind), Trent Haaga (Terror Firmer), Richard Grove (Army of
Darkness), Diane Goldner (Feast I-III), and Kat Harris (Body of
Proof). Lensed by Buz "Danger" Wallick (Never Sleep Again: The Elm St.
Legacy). FX by Mark Shostrom (Evil Dead II) and his team, with visual
fx designer Phil Mucci (Opeth's The Devil's Orchard) and stop-motion
animator Michael Granberry (Robot Chicken)."
Our next short comes to us from a SATURDAY SHORTS alum Mike Roberts. (Check out RUMBLESEAT). I don't have too much info about it other than Mike created this as a pilot for a potential series. Sadly, I think we might have missed out on a damn cool show, but hey - at least we get this one! The visuals and animation style simply smack you in the face with every new "shot." More, Mike, keep creating these badass worlds.
And while we're on the topic of awesome animation styles, here's Hector Herrera's visual feast. Be sure to hit up the filmmakers' website: HERE.
"Typesetter Blues is a 3-minute animated short starring a likeable monster named Harold. In this melancholy love story, Harold falls for a new coworker, who unfortunately falls harder for someone else.
Voiced by Canadian legend Gordon Pinsent (Away From Her, Pillars Of The Earth) Typesetter Blues is written in the nonsense poetry tradition of Edward Lear and Shel Silverstein.
Produced in partnership with our awesome friends at Varipix, Typesetter Blues is the first “chapter” in the silly rhyme collection “Beastly Bards”. It’s a finalist in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards (Animation) and also screened at TAAFI (Toronto Animation Arts Festival International)."
Here we have Shahir Daud's film, which is a damn tight story done exceptionally well. Check out his website HERE. "Fifteen year old Rory carries a backpack filled with home made fireworks, a pocket knife and a polaroid camera. By the end of the day, he will use them all."
Bam! Here's Adrian Powers's rather intense short, SCRUPLES. "A young double agent struggles to keep his cover when he witnesses a horrifying crime. Are a few innocent lives worth sacrificing for the greater good?"
Last, but certainly not least is a fun little film from director Steve Peterson that I'm certain quite a few of you out there are sure to dig. "Star Trek original cast member Walter Koenig (Chekov) starts in this science fiction short as Dr. Joseph Griffin. An inventor who has created a device meant to allow people to relive their fondest memories. However, he uses it to relive his greatest regret."
So, what'd you guys and gals think? I dug them all, go figure, but really - how'd you like them? Shoot off below with your thoughts. JustMyLuck always gives his thoughts on each, but how about the rest of you fine folks? Got a question for the filmmakers? Ask away. At any rate, feel free to check out past SATURDAY SHORTS from 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. The more info you send my way, the more info there is to put with your short.
Please don’t feel the need to submit multiple times.
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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Dec. 8, 2012, 9:50 a.m. CST
Dec. 8, 2012, 9:52 a.m. CST
by Fart Magnus
.... for a month now!
Dec. 8, 2012, 9:54 a.m. CST
Dec. 8, 2012, 9:55 a.m. CST
Dec. 8, 2012, 10:33 a.m. CST
not enough greyhound bus traveling investigatind detective characters IMHO
Dec. 8, 2012, 10:57 a.m. CST
Stay at home Dad, didn't care for at all. Really liked the animation in Airship Dracula. Typesetter Blues was whimsical. Flashback was quite good. Hope you have a great time at BNAT Muldoon.
Dec. 8, 2012, 11:11 a.m. CST
Dec. 8, 2012, 11:34 a.m. CST
There's just something about these shorts that make me think about them when I think of the films I'm thinking of
Dec. 8, 2012, 11:53 a.m. CST
by Industrious Angel
Some very nice stuff - haven't watched everything yet but this week's theme (besides steampunk) seems to be "women getting men in trouble". "Dark Vessel": ok, nice story but I didn't like the design and animation that much. I didn't get why it took robots instead of humans to tell this story. "Airship Dracula" was cool; the face animations need a little more life but I liked the overall design and the 2D sprites fit perfectly into the 3D background. Good colours too. "Typesetter Blues" was charming and fun. "The Wheel" was my favourite from those I watched, very good quality, nice poem, original story ... the only thing detracting was this flimsy fretwork wheel - this film deserves a better center, no?. I didn't find "Flashback" very interesting and the music was uninspired. Design and technical quality were ok though.
Dec. 8, 2012, 1:10 p.m. CST
Both are perfectly acceptable.
Dec. 8, 2012, 5:15 p.m. CST
making me a "best of" list of SS sci-fi?
Dec. 8, 2012, 5:52 p.m. CST
Nice to see his hard work get some recognition.
Dec. 8, 2012, 6:06 p.m. CST
by mark howard
Nice that at least one staffer bothers to contribute on a saturday, keeps the site tumbleweed at bay.
Dec. 8, 2012, 11:47 p.m. CST
I want more articles by the "testicle-chinned goblin king!!!" Not his "never-ending legion of goblins..." [to quote Mr. Beaks]
by Timothy Marcione
Dec. 9, 2012, 4:33 a.m. CST
THE WHEEL Windmills, fairy tale house and elaborate clock-like device rings of Hans Christian Andersen's *The Most Incredible Thing*, with morality take and stanzas not unlike Goeth's *The Sorcerer's Apprentice*. Amber grade and soft box lighting hit the appropriate retro-future vibe (brought to life with elaborate miniatures and CG environments), and storybook landscape wisely not concerned with photorealism. Ultimately this is much ado about nothing (with a steampunk treatment), however attention to the craft side, costumes and art direction create a curious density of image, sound and metrical narration. DARK VESSEL Visual story well planned, exploiting look and concept of shadow play/puppetry throughout. Wild virtual camera moves and Dutch angles highly watchable, while vigilante robots a mix of FUTURAMA, and the primitively animated blue-collars from an early music video, *Money for Nothing* by Dire Straits. Tin can robots and bloody afterlife revenge — it's hip to be square. STAY AT HOME DAD Parental role change-up begins with a metaphor of the hormonal rollercoaster which is infertility treatment, then shifts to a home break-in farce, and finally a creature feature. Prosthetic makeup the spotlight, and in that department lead's faux manboobs were surprisingly resilient during transgendered erotic play and fight scenes, and IT'S ALIVE baby/mom an odd pairing of Kit Fisto (SW) & Davy Jones (PotC). Genre shifts notwithstanding, the Lynchian castration anxiety dream sequence was a highlight. AIRSHIP DRACULA Gothic/steampunk vampire stowaway situation played broadly, leaving potential creepiness factor untapped. Strong graphic illustration makes up for the 2D warp animation used for facial expressions which, like Roberts' RUMBLESEAT, remains off-putting. Watercolor textures and inky palette a good choice for what could have otherwise been boilerplate Jules Verne art direction. I would be surprised if this was voiced after animation, as name voice actors seem to be imitating standard cartoon fare. TYPESETTER BLUES Graceful combination of complementary colors, rubber stamp textures, halftone screen art and kinetic typography. The pared-down animation makes this look simplified, but a tremendous amount of work went into creating that simplicity (designer's KISS principle abounds here). A charmer. DOUBLE HAPPY Very surprised by this. Teen slice of life shows a knowing touch with no formal obstructions to character dynamics, and something of an autobiographical feel. Young adults don't feel rehearsed, while dialog never sounds improvised or veers even once into mumblecore territory. Natural lighting and relaxed camera icing on the cake. Fuzzy CG for runaway rocket only tech quibble. SCRUPLES Performances mostly pro and convincing, and overall direction shows a sure hand. Long lens selective focus, characters staring intensely and backseat observation of secretive discussions typical of the *internal affairs* genre, with ominous synth score laid on thick. Hence, this seems like something we've seen already, even though aspects of complicated production are tops (e.g. triangular dialog interaction during showdown with snitch). Distinct looks for each timeline keep narrative shuffling in check. FLASHBACK The tone of this was fine, but project seems very inspired by the sequence of a regretful Tom Cruise playing back his wife's hologram in MINORITY REPORT. Casting of STAR TREK alumnus adds a Holodeck to the proceedings. Cinematography, VFX and technical duties professional and modern, with the exception of the final pullback, which could have been dropped. Still, this felt like a sci-fi short story in the best sense. Overall this week = Taco Grande!
Dec. 9, 2012, 11:25 a.m. CST
Dec. 9, 2012, 2 p.m. CST
Dec. 9, 2012, 2:27 p.m. CST
Thanks for the review justmyluck - there's an interview I did over at shortoftheweek about the production and rehearsal process if you're interested: http://www.shortoftheweek.com/2011/05/31/qa-with-shahir-daud-of-double-happy/ And thanks Muldoon for running this section! Discovering a lot of inspiration for my next film! Shahir
Dec. 9, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST
Thanks for the thoughtful reviews, dude. The facial animation is probably the biggest hurdle for us based Airship Dracula's in a low budget. For the series - we were going to go with another technique as the budget would have been bigger. But the tone was very deliverate and was meant to be light AND dark. My biggest problem with "steam punk" is how earnest it is. The lack if sense of humor, or the insincere attempts at replicating the 19th century sense of humor, is really off-putting to me. I wanted Alan as specially to be funny and quippy as possible. As well, Paul came prepared with his best Bella Lagosi, and we loved it. In fact, the studio re-cast the captain because it was originally to dark and serious. With animation - people come with plenty of preconceived notions. I'm just lucky they let us try something so dark in this style.
Dec. 9, 2012, 4:09 p.m. CST
Oh man, I guess that joke totally fell flat... Sorry for the tpyos!
Dec. 9, 2012, 4:12 p.m. CST
"testicle-chinned goblin king" = Beaks hit that one right on the head.
Dec. 10, 2012, 2:18 a.m. CST
I guess it's personal taste. But no matter how well a short is made or acted any time a short is over 10mins running time, I find it lessens the experience. As if they over stay the welcome. I can't recall any short that I haven't felt this way about. Can any one point me to a short film that runs over 10mins and still works? They are best when they explore a theme or a clever concept in a simple efficient way. Without nessararily sticking to the 3 act structure. Or indulging in a slow pace for the sake of adding weight to the story. The wheel - loved the look and over all production, yet felt was too long. Same goes for Scruples which also suffers from a tired topic and slow pace. Although the shot selection and performances were good. Flashback was good. Minus the last pull out shot. Double happy was shot well and acted. Just wished it was shorter. Airship I couldn't get into although I loved their pervious entry (music video)
Dec. 10, 2012, 4:23 a.m. CST
This week was almost 90 minutes; practically a festival.
Dec. 10, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST
That was the point of this one. I typically try to keep it around an hour, but the truth is - I reached a spot where I needed to either show more this one week to catch up or simply just not show a few at all. I've got quite a few shorts that I expect to screen (and that queue is constantly growing) so it's a case of me not trying to string along a few filmmakers that have waited patiently enough. That, plus - it's BNAT weekend, so I had "marathon" fever and wanted to share that with the SATURDAY SHORTS folks. Next week, back to roughly 4-5 shorts.
Dec. 10, 2012, 8:06 a.m. CST
Really tight animation, and a fantastic look. Like a dayglow neon western horror. I'd love to see the director tackle a live-action film! The Wheel had some shakey CG (looked a bit like a 1990s CD-ROM game), which detracted a little bit, but I liked the general vibe of it. Too long though, as someone else said! Typesetter Blues was great. Nice animation and design. Charming and original.
Dec. 10, 2012, 11 a.m. CST
hey epicwish in regards to shorts length, it's always been a bit of a contentious issue of what constitutes a short film (ie. academy awards say anything less than 45 minutes, Cannes says anything less than 15 minutes). I'm of the opinion that short films are defined not by their duration, but by the fact that the story could only be told in that particular time frame, and not any longer. The contentious part is what "function" a short film has. A lot of people see shorts as a stepping stone to feature film careers, while other filmmakers regard them as a unique art form unto themselves (for example, people like Chris Marker, Michael Snow or more recently Spike Jonze). Increasingly, shorts are now being used as showreels for a potential feature film. I prefer shorts which tell a unique short story rather than showreels or director reels, because more often than not, those shorts tend to be essentially technical exercises, or based on one or two simple ideas (though there are some excellent examples of the 'showreel' or 'director reel' style of short) But in response to your question about longer shorts, these are a couple of my recent favorites: Andrea Arnold's Wasp: http://vimeo.com/27862959 Benh Zeitlin's Glory at Sea: http://vimeo.com/10066407 Steven Pasvolsky' Inja (Dog): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCE1UbLmGN4 There are many more I've seen at several short film festivals - they can be difficult to find online though. Shahir
Dec. 10, 2012, 8:16 p.m. CST
Thanks for sharing the shorts. But I have to say I found them a bit slow and long. I get it's a personal taste thing - since all three were well acted and made. I thought about it a bit and I realized that I have liked shorts that run longer then 10mins. The Love God and The Candidate (previous entry here) and Wish 143 come to mind. It's just, mostly I have noticed I'll check the time around 7 to 10min mark on most of those longer shorts. As if they lose me around there...it's just a "feel" thing.
Dec. 10, 2012, 9:59 p.m. CST
no problem - undoubtedly, the viewing venue makes a big difference too. Watching some of these in a cinema is really different to watching them online, where my personal attention span probably lasts about a minute!
Dec. 11, 2012, 10:07 a.m. CST
It's a story about a robot cowboy and a robot who's red and obviously supposed to be a native american. Why are they robots? No fucking reason. Stupid.
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