The sparkling Short Cinema Part 2
By midlandsmovies, Aug 28 2016 10:13AM
After some quick refreshments and brief chat about the films from the first half, the second part of The Short Cinema kicked off with Saiyan Armour directed by Daryl Grizzle. This strange but amusing film was set on a council estate where three youths discuss their summer break. Amongst all the “bruvs” and teen bravado the film actually showcases one of them attempting to convince his friends that he spent his holidays on Planet Vegeta (a Dragonball Z reference). Confused? Well it brilliantly subverts expectations ending on a t-shirt reveal that is as surprising as it was satisfying. A curious but comical gem.
Sophie Black’s impressive Night Owls was previously reviewed by us a few months ago but this rewatch confirmed all our admiration for the film from the first viewing. A subtle drama shot in Victorian browns, the short covers a drama set on one wet night as two opposites are attracted in strange circumstances as characters bond over loneliness and being outsiders.
Keeping Shop directed by Raj Pathak was another film set in a late night shop and showed the conflicted relationship between a father and son during a botched (and often comedic) robbery. This failed hold-up opens old and unresolved family wounds and the film’s good gags sit with a sad undercurrent that were both balanced well.
Transcended was shown before our Star Wars screening and the sci-fi short shows a human being infected and becoming a dangerous ‘bomb’ in a remote setting. Great cinematography by director Christopher Bevan, the film combines horror and drama which sit together well. Alongside this is a remarkable cast comprising of A.J Stevenson (Cal), Michael Muyunda (Alix) and Julia Quayle (Bren).
Rajnish Sharma directed dark apocalyptic drama Ascension showing the struggle of a solitary man surviving in a bunker from scary and unknown aggressors. The ambiguous tone and nervy camera work helped create a sense of unease along with the protagonist which lifted the film above some of the clichés of a crackling radio voiceover and disturbed loner.
Congratulations must go to Best of Festival winner Dolls by Leicester filmmaker Keith Allott. We reviewed the film earlier in the year and the film’s discomforting atmosphere was a joy to experience again. The effective horror short used creepy toys and great sound (from Kris Tearse) to deliver possibly the moment of the night. Having seen it before I knew the use of a shocking jump cut would have the crowd screaming and it delivered in spectacular fashion as the scary jolt was broken with an embarrassed audience getting their breath back.
The penultimate film was James Hissett’s Art Film #1: The Struggle. With a title like that it was only going to go one way in the funniest film of the night. Parodying every awful arthouse/student film cliché the film was shot appropriately in black and white with all the pretentiousness you would expect. Hilarious scenes included a montage of sequences shot in reverse as well a stop-motion chair on a lonely factory floor. These were brilliantly undermined by a comedy voiceover from the fictional filmmaker who struggles to get out of bed, watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer and discusses his favourite cereal - the true callings of a 'conflicted' artist.
There were signs of incredibly happy faces at the show’s conclusion as On the Fence by Thaxnay Kapdee arrived in the form of a gloriously animated Pixar-esque short. This sweet CGI cartoon followed a love-struck boy’s attempts in wooing a girl from over the fence using kites. A radiant idea well-executed, this lovely film had exceptional warmth from a gifted animator with shining talent.
And with that, the festival ended on such a high there was nothing but congratulations and well-wishes to be shared by the audience and filmmakers alike. A spectacular event encapsulating not just the talent from the region but the encouragement, cooperation and support the film-making community in the area gives each other. Special thanks should go to the festival’s organiser Alexzandra Jackson who again has created the festival highlight of the year for Leicester and long may it continue for another 10 years.
Midlands Movies Mike