TFF 2013: My Top 6 Shorts
I have always been a fan of short films but never really liked attending shorts programs at festivals because there are usually only 1 or 2 good films sandwiched between 4 or 5 terrible ones. That is one of the reasons why I absolutely love the online press screening room that the Tribeca Film Festival gives us access to every year. Rather than have to watch the films in blocks, you can pick and choose which films to watch and potentially review. Throughout the week I watched (or attempted to watch) well over 25 TFF shorts. I say attempt because there were quite a few misfires that I didn’t think deserved to be in this festival. Of course there were also some I wanted to see that just were not available, which I believe is a huge mistake made by some of the filmmakers. But there were quite a few that were pretty fantastic. I didn’t just like these films but want to share them with fellow filmlovers which is why I would like to publicly invite these filmmakers to submit these shorts to the Orlando Film Festival this year. For everyone else, keep an eye on these shorts because they are well worth checking out given the opportunity.
FEAR OF FLYING
This stop-motion short absolutely blew me away. It tells the story of a bird afraid to fly south and how he deals with the winter. The technique is flawless, the voice acting is spot on and the film itself is brilliant. I expect big things from Conor Finnegan who wrote, directed and edited this little masterpiece.
This short directed by Cody Blue Snider (son of Dee Snider) took me completely by surprise. The premise is quite genius, a 3rd grade class accidentally kills their teacher on April Fool’s Day and must hide the body before their D.A.R.E officer comes in for his weekly visit. The execution (no pun intended) is equally genius with some excellent moments of dark humor. Just because you see the ending coming a mile away does not make it any less entertaining.
Where FOOL’S DAY was a complete story, AB- feels more like the opening to a feature film. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I found myself really wanting to know where this story will go. High production values and an intriguing concept made me really appreciate this short bit of horror. I had the pleasure of meeting screenwriter/director Daniel Klein at one of the TFF parties. He told me to check out his film and send him a little email after letting him know what I think. Hopefully he likes this public pat on the back better. Well done sir.
ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Going to the dentist is never fun and in this slice of 50s suburbia setting, it is downright hell. Ryan Spindell expertly combines wonderful visuals, excellent production design and some dark humor into a fantastic little short of whimsical horror. A greatly look forward to his next short and hopefully a transition into feature filmmaking.
GRANDMA’S NOT A TOASTER
Grandma is in bad shape but her 3 grandchildren are left out of the will. On a stormy night, they are looking to change that and granny isn’t too happy about this. A darkly funny story by itself, this short gets more fascinating because of the manner it is presented to us. The film jumps from each person’s perspective, retelling some of the same moments through the point of view of each character. Although the ending did feel a little abrupt, this truly was a perfect story and technique for the short film format.
What happens when a shy waitress & a unique customer connect at a Chinese restaurant? This charming little simply short kept my interest at first but completely won me over by the end. I’m not quite sure if I will look at fortune cookies the same way again.