We are getting close to the end here. Another day of just one block. 9 short films this time, 8 narratives and 1 documentary. An interesting collection to be sure. And now, my favorites:
5. "The Face Shop" by Noella Borie
An animated film about a man who takes his faceless friend to a face shop in hopes of having him pick out his face. The animation for this film was unbelievable! More interestingly, not only does Noella Borie utilize computer animation, but alternates with stop motion and claymation, all to tremendous results. It is hilarious and charming, with interesting characters. Bories stated during the Q&A that she was working to make a series and potentially feature on these characters. Watch it below, and enjoy it.
4. "Dottie's Thanksgiving Pickle" by Sean Gannet
Starring Nancy Opel and Olympia Dukakis, yep the same one that you're thinking about, this comedy tells the tale of a woman preparing Thanksgiving dinner hoping to finally impress not only her husband, but her mother-in-law. Throughout the film Dottie, played splendidly by Nancy Opel, converses with her food. This proves to be a smart move as the food essentially becomes another character in the film (and an interesting one at that). The conclusion sets aside the comedy (briefly) for a satisfying moment for both Dottie and the audience.
3. "Fireworks" by Michael Mayer
A subtle drama about two people who come together after the loss of their loved one. The brother of the deceased and the girlfriend of the deceased travel together to the funeral in which they reconnect and realize they could potentially provide the ultimate comfort for each other. The "fireworks" that the title suggests are never fully realized, but the film builds strong sexual/emotional tension between the two leads that surely anticipates this payoff after the movie has ended. The performances are strong and the cinematography is beautiful to behold.
2. "Cleaning House" by Catherine Giarusso
Another moving, perfectly shot drama about a mother and daughter who come together after the grandmother's funeral to settle their differences. The performances are pitch perfect. During a 5 minute monologue in which one the characters reveals harsh information about her past, Giarusso makes a gutsy decision and it pay off in spades. The camera stays static in a two shot, enabling the actor the opportunity to connect the audience to her story. No flashbacks, no cutaways, etc. Giarusso clearly trusts her actor to tell the story and it makes the moment all the more memorable because not only does the audience believe the performances, but he/she also feels that the director respects the viewers's sensitivity.
"Cleaning House" Trailer from Catherine Giarrusso on Vimeo.
1. "The Price" by James St. Vincent and Zeke Pinheiro
Just so you know, this film will be playing at Comic-con. A western about two bandits escape from a town in which they are the most sought-after delinquents, this film moves at an unrelenting pace. It has drama, it has comedy, it has pretty good action. And the opening, with diegetic sound creating the score is the most inspiring moment of the film. The film stars Carlos Gallardo from "El Mariachi" and Solomon Trimble from "Twilight." The cinematography is drop-dead gorgeous (arguably the best in the festival that I have seen). I would like to add that film did leave me wanting a bit more from the story-line, but the directors stated that a feature version of the story is in the works, which should only enhance this promising work.