Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shorts 2011

This year the Shorts film festival was held in Norwood Town Hall. Last time it was at the old Queens Theatre in Playhouse Lane and C-Coffee was a sponsor. This year, 1645 Coffee were providing the coffees and hot chocolates. This is a new company who roast their own coffee at 30 Sunbeam Road, Glynde. The hot chocolate did not benefit from being in a paper cup but it was rich and creamy enough. It cost $3.00.

As I attempted to turn film critic last time, I'll summarise this year's Friday night screenings:

This was a well-made animated movie with some serious themes about prejudice. The animated string dolls were expressive and poignant. The narration was smooth and probably intentionally paternalistic.

Daddy Daddy
This was story about a little girl Emily, looking for her father who she believes is in Texas. She lives near a recognisable Adelaide railway track and sets off on her pushbike for Texas. The stars of the show are Emily, Adelaide suburbia and a homeless man that Emily encounters on her adventure.

There had Better be Blood
Part of the theme of the night was about teenage struggles. Anyone with two children who bicker in the back of the car would relate to this story. There story is a bit implausible but finishes with a shocking twist.

Ronan's Escape
This story about bullying was predictable but nonetheless disturbing. The shot of the country school bus travelling over a brown land with a huge blue sky is amazing and is featured in the trailer for the Short Festival.

This is Not an Art Film
This was a discussion between a filmmaker and producer that was played for laughs. It was an amusing idea and no doubt had resonance with the filmmakers at the evening.

Minnie Loves Junior
This was my favourite for the night about a young girl trying to attract the attention of an even younger boy. The faces of the indigenous children are expressive and charming with little need of dialogue. The seaside setting provides scenic backdrop for the story.

This was interesting study of the difficulties of a Sudanese boy in multicultural Sydney. The plot was not of much consequence. The series of incidents helped build a picture of an unfamiliar life through the eyes of the lead character.

A Moment of Grace
This was a more experimental South Australian film by Dimitrios Pouliotis. Effective use was made of high speed cameras to slow the action to standstill at points. The main character contemplates life, the universe and everything in a split second.

This film supported the theme of teenage struggles by depicting the release that skateboarding brings to the main character. The film had an edginess as if something momentous was about to happen. In the end it was more a film to stir emotions than to depict any particular events.

The Foal
This is an exploration of how a young girl deals with death as she tries to care for a dead foal. Olivia Quinn puts in remarkable performance as Chloe.

It's Just Gary
The evening finished on a whimsical note with the story of a nobody called Gary who takes steps to increase his public profile with amusing consequences. On the way the film makes some pertinent points about our celebrity culture. This was an upbeat film with a big cast of characters and plenty of action.

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