The Flyway Film Fest has all sorts of family programming and shorts presentations throughout the weekend. While I’m not going to be able to catch them all as they overlap with some of the feature length stuff that I want to see, it is pretty neat that almost all day long there are cool shorts running for both adults and kids and the whole family.
I managed to catch a smattering of shorts over the past couple of days. Here’s a little taste…
Henry’s Freedom Box
An animated story sort of reminiscent of old, educational, history lessons for kids on PBS, Henry’s Freedom Box does something that not too many short films these days do: inspire. This is the heartbreaking but redemptive story of a slave escaping captivity to freedom in a very unconventional manner. The animation is fairly traditional and not even motion animation. Rather, the film maker’s have chosen to use animated still shots and then pan and scan them. Sound effects and traditional music of the slaves is overlayed along with the acting voice talent and narration. In just over 10 minutes, quite the unusual story of redemption is told. A perfect movie to bring the young ones to; exposing them to the horrors of slavery in a way that they can relate.
Mr. Simard’s Halloween
Director: Philippe Lupien
An old man’s mobility issues dramatically end up changing the course of the night; not only for himself and the trick or treaters, but also for two would-be robbers. The use of very little dialogue here makes for just the slightest bit of slapstick style humor in this darker comedy. The use of tension and the building of frustration in the audience as Mr. Simard slowly gimps from one end of his house to the other, narrowly missing his goal each time by mere seconds. The creative editing and clever use of superb reaction shots from the other characters is priceless. Though few words are spoken, some of the French dialogue has some harsh language within the subtitles and there is some questionable moral behavior, so probably not for the kiddies. But still fun and entertaining to be sure! See more at Lupeth Films.
Director: Cedric Jouarie
A young couple must deal with the stress of losing a child. This short seemed a bit too dreary – which normally isn’t an issue with me, but here it just seemed like it wanted to be depressing for no other reason than to be depressing with little point. There is zero dialogue and the story is told over the period of what seems like years in mere minutes. Hence the editing is a little frenetic and the music bombastic and repetitive. While the imagery is quite nice to look at, the whole thing just got to be a little too much for me. It felt like a movie trailer that delivered the entire story.
Director: Chad Benton
One day while going about the usual household chores of a housewife, a woman discovers she has super powers and is promptly contacted by officials from some sort of super hero guild. She signs “the papers” as being one of the good guys and begins her life of crime fighting. Learning to juggle home life (a husband and a small son) and crime fighting turns out to be a lot more straining on her relationship than she thought. With some really interesting things done on screen to seamlessly juxtapose live action with comic book panes, I was surprised to find out how much I enjoyed this little short. The soundtrack is bumping with funk and soul and the energy level and humor factor soars. I’ve seen plenty of human to hero movies before and Women’s Work fits nicely within the genre; particularly for a movie barely hitting the 20-minute mark.
Colore Non Vedenti
Director: Jay Cheel
I suppose it prudent to mention that Jay and I have known each other for a couple of years now through the blog-o-sphere and we occasionally record a podcast together. I’ve seen a number of his short film works and was happy to see him coming down for Flyway. But I do not wear my personal bias on my sleeve. Colore Non Vedenti is the real deal. In the spirit of old “Outer Limits” television series, Cheel has taken the weird world of paranoia and amped it up with strange, practical effects and other-worldly lighting. While carefully juggling campy horror along with some quality humor, it isn’t fair to say that this is exactly a zombie film, but it is playing alongside a host of other zombie pictures screening all day at Flyway Film Fest. So suffice it to say that it still fits well within that sub-genre. Strange, mind altering jell-o molds, dubious looking characters and a creep factor turned to eleven – much like Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ psychological horror excels at; trust me, Colore Non Vedenti kicks all sorts of ass – particularly on the technical side of things. If you can’t make it to the screening at the fest, you can check out the whole thing over at the official site.