Saturday, January 28, 2017

Vancouver Short Film Festival: January 27th--Synopsis of Shorts with Reviews

I have been fortunate once again to be able to attend the Vancouver Short Film Festival at Vancity Theater January 27 & 28th, 2017.I am also a media partner this year with the festival.This is my third year covering the festival.
The first night listings follow below. I am also once again very fortunate as the Festival's Co-Director Kristyn Stilling just this evening has sent me the links for all of the 30 shorts playing at this years event.
The listings below are from the festivals own website this is their writing and in the next few days I will have Saturday's events as well as the reviews of the shorts.
OLD MAN is an existential journey into the mind of a man who has lived his entire life in fear. As the titular character summons the strength to face his fear of the ocean, he finds himself embarking on an unexpected journey. Arresting visuals and a haunting score make for an unforgettable cinematic experience.

I found this film very interesting visually, had a certain idea of what the story was about,a man a fear of drowning in the ocean.
Even though I got all that I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped.
BLOOM OF YOUTH | Director: Hanching Howard Zheng | Run Time: 17 min
A young man returns home after graduating from college to propose to his sweetheart and open a school to better their small Chinese village. However, a mother’s dreams and senseless violence create obstacles that love must overcome.

I thought this film was beautifully shot and the acting was good , it's a story of  love gone wrong or loving the wrong person according to others. The performances were good however familiar the story.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH IT’S KILLING THEM | Director: Joel Ashton McCarthy | Run Time: 14.5 min
A pitch-black comedy about Vivian, a lonely serial killer whose three loves in life are math, accounting, and killing random people. This all changes when she meets the handsome Alex, a colleague at the insurance company where she works. Now Vivian has a new lease on life and a new reason to commit her gruesome acts.

I was able to view this great short last year when Paul Armstrong gave the DVD to me of the films that had won the Crazy 8's Film Festival awards. This is one of my favorite's of both festivals and am thankful to have seen it yet again.
ASLEEP IN VALHALLA | Director: Max Train | Run Time: 13.5 min
A young woman travels to Copenhagen to be with her sister who has fallen into a coma. While living in her sister’s (now vacant) apartment and living a routine lifestyle, she begins to suspect she is falling into the same pattern that inspired her sister to take her own life. Through the use of experimental narrative, music, and practical effects we get a visual / audio scrapbook of theme and expression.

I enjoy the visual experience of a film and underlying subjects of what the filmmaker is looking to do. This film has a message and it is about depression and suicide. Although for the first bit of the film I thought the way the words were spoken as a memory and for the most part were interesting, I just felt sort of lost in it all , almost too much of the same shots. I would have the opening of the lead words into the short at the end for the audience to not get an idea of what this is trying to be, but instead allowing them the chance to get what is happening on screen.
ROADSIDE DEADGUYS | Director: Christopher Lorenz | Run Time: 6 min
Robbie and Patrick are two unfortunate spirits stuck on the side of a lonely road for the rest of time. To get by, the pair must learn to stave off the boredom of eternity. Or at least how to get along with one another.

This was a original and fun short to watch. They are bored and  call out random cars that pass them as they sit outside of their roadside graves. The dry humor was good and the acting helped this short move along well.
BEFORE SHE’S GONE | Director: Arun Fryer | Run Time: 19 min
A documentary love story about a sixty-seven year marriage and the husband’s role as caretaker after his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s fifteen years ago. With 8mm footage from 1955 to GoPro video from 2015, ‘Before She’s Gone...’ is a tender tale for the ages and a celebration of hope amidst everyday adversity.

Easily the best short of the evening , without question. This was a beautifully told story of love of someone you have spent so many years with. The man's undying love for his wife is not only inspirational but I told him after the evening was over that he could teach others how to love others unconditionally. He thanked me for the words , very humble in his mannerisms and speaking to others as well.

THE FLOATERS | Director: Nick Wilson | Run Time: 10 min
Romantic entanglements, broken toilets and expired pregnancy tests threaten to turn what was supposed to be a fun cottage weekend into a confusing nightmare. It all comes to a head when the mushrooms kick in and the truth comes out.
This film generated the biggest laughter of the evening, quite comical and strong writing and acting as well.
The scenes of the pregnancy test were fantastic --I did not know what they were dringking miday through the film, I was told later it was magic mushroom tea, which did end up with some very funny scenes.
Thank you for reading this
Anthony Nadeau

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