Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with a damn fine lineup of interesting films created and submitted by Ain't It Cool readers. When this column first started up - I knew we had some talented folks out there lurking, visionary creatives who might not be as talkative as the Talkbackers, but folks who nonetheless love movies and hearing rumors/seeing the latest trailers/reviews/etc... real film fans at heart. What I didn't count on was the sheer number of talented filmmakers in the audience, something I'm still happily baffled by today. While not just enjoying movies, I'm always interested in the folks behind the lens, the ones who created what I just saw - the understanding that the movie didn't just appear, but that a group of people busted their collective asses to bring whatever I'm watching to life. At its core, films (good/lukewarm/bad) are created by film-lovers. Sure, there's a business side of the entire industry that lives or dies on whether a film is profitable or not, but money's not the driving factor here. No sane person gets into film for the sole purpose of making money. There are far too many better ways to turn a buck than to make a movie - it requires a passion - even the films you out there might hate. That's the spirit of this column, to put that passion front and center, to display that lovely concept of a person having an imaginative idea, gathering all the necessary assets to make it, and actually executing it thus giving the world something it's not seen before. This week is filled with shorts that have grabbed my attention and while I'm certain my opinion and what I like might not (always) align with everyone out there, the one thing that's undeniable is the passion behind each and every film I'm able to screen here. Okay, you get the picture... enough preaching from me, let's just sit back and enjoy a few films we might not all have seen just yet.
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 off this week, we've got an exciting film from Director Luke Gilford and Writer David Largman Murray. I'm head over heels for this film. In my humble opinion, this is Pamela Anderson's JCVD, or what THE CONGRESS was to Robin Wright. "Jackie (Pamela Anderson) is a burnt-out AuraCycle instructor in the midst of a midlife crisis. She's obsessed with self-improvement podcasts (voiced by Jane Fonda), and is drawn to an advanced yet enigmatic wellness spa that promises to enhance her mind, body and soul. Guided by her effortless and nubile mentor, Luna (Dree Hemingway), Jackie will give up anything to feel "connected" -- to herself, to the future, and to a precarious sense of perfection." This film is something special and if you agree (or not!) then think about clicking over to the website of David Largman Murray and see what else he's cooking up.
TERRY AND BRENDA
Next up is a "whoa" of a film that goes to places I certainly wasn't expecting from director Jamie Hooper. I had the opportunity to screen Hooper's PLASTIC LOVE here back in 2014 and holy hell is he back with something cool. It's a dark comedy/horror short that is... dark indeed. "Spend an evening with Terry and Brenda, a couple with very dark and depraved secrets. Amidst drinking endless cuppas and watching RoboCop on the TV, Terry and Brenda enact their own twisted form of romance. Pull back the leopard print duvet and discover the horror beneath, just make sure you don’t talk to "The Visitors."" If this short tickles your twisted fancy, then fly over to the movie's website, and/or check out Hooper's for more info on the man!
Let's keep this vibe going with a film by Nate Wilson. Despite Wilson's age of 19, the guys got some damn fine talent running in his veins as evident with the film below. "Platonic room-mates Joseph and Ellie try to 'keep it casual' when they find themselves manipulated by an otherworldly force to begin having sex with each other." The film features some solid acting from its leads, Sharon Belle and Alex Plouffe, as well as some visuals that will certainly be difficult to get out of your head... Check out a few of Nate's other films over on his Vimeo Page! (Thanks to Peter Kuplowsky for directing me towards Nate's film!)
Gear shift time. Next up is Chuck Palahniuk story brought to life by Director/Editor Alex Grybauskas. To give you a hint of what you're in for (other than incredible writing) Grybauskas describes the short as "a hyper-stylized look at the way we fantasize about and pass judgement on strangers based on the briefest of physical clues." This just might be one of my favorite "not for profit fan films" I've seen in quite some time. Check out the original short story here, the film's website here, and dig a little into who Alex Grybauskas is here!
BIGHEAD WALKING DEAD PARODY
To play us out, Lowcarbcomedy.com's Zoran Gvojic has our last short of the week, with another fun poke at a beloved franchise. I'll admit, I could never really get into THE WALKING DEAD (I just don't know what's wrong with me...), but I can absolutely get behind Zoran's take on the whole idea of it! "I’ve always hated that zombie shows like the Walking Dead never use the actual term zombies. So I’ve channeled that rage into a parody that includes Fresca, Doom Zombies, and Carl finally losing his eye." As always, I definitely suggest you go hit up lowcarbcomedy.com if you're in the mood to laugh!
And boom goes the dynamite! That's it for this week, ladies and gents. Again - if you could see past the quasi-preachiness in my intro above and take a moment to give each of these films a view - I simply hope you had fun. Filmmaking is hard, at any level, and to accomplish something that makes an audience member laugh/smile/cry is something that's pretty cool. As always, feel more than free to click on any of the past articles below. I can't promise you'll love every single film, but hot damn have I lucked into screening some great stuff here - so chances are good that you'll find something great. Also, if you find any links to shorts that no longer work - well there could be a handful of reasons why, none of which have anything to do with myself or AICN, so just go into any of them with an optimistic click is all I ask. See you folks next week!
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?
BY THE WAY: If you've had a short featured here, that means that I personally am a fan of your work, so feel free to shoot me any kind of news on new projects/films/whatever. I can't say I'll be able to help or in what capacity, but I'm interested in your work and am always down to see more! (Keep making cool stuff, everyone!)
- Mike McCutchen