MAY 2012 FIRST FRIDAY SHORTS (FFS) - GOLDEN GONGS YEAR-END SHOWDOWN.

I was afraid I wouldn’t get a seat at the First Friday Shorts’ (FFS) annual contest, so I arrived at 8:45pm.  The parking lot was almost full.  I met up with my Canadian friends, Ross and Carol, who were my buddies at the 2012 Arizona International Film Festival.  We were all honored as “super-fans” because we saw almost every single film at the fest.  My reviews will be coming out one by one.  My excuse for my lateness is slightly different this time.  I caught a sinus cold which turned into pink eye!!  (Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the U of A student film festivals, Magic Hour and I Dream in Widescreen or PCC student film fest) I’m back in the saddle now. 

As we entered the theater, I noticed that the theater was three-fourths full and slowly filling up.  I also met my friend and temporary roommate, Kathy and her boyfriend, Roger, who, by the way, laughed their butts off at all the shorts.  The theater filled to capacity.  I don’t know if anyone was turned away.

All the monthly winning shorts that were entered in the Golden Gong portion of the show were excellent.  It was refreshing to see such high quality in the Golden Gongs.  In past years, I’ve been quite bored at the Golden Gongs because of the low quality of shorts that won due to the filmmakers’ posses’ shouting the loudest and therefore sounding like the majority of the audience liked their entries.

Before the show started, the Loft took the opportunity to run as many trailers for their upcoming films as possible.  I’m especially looking forward to seeing, MARLEY, BOY , JUAN OF THE DEAD (which should have a lot of political sarcasm.), COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE, and especially Bob Goldthwait’s new film, GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Filler: (couldn’t find it.)

May 2011 FFS Winner: 9 TO FIRE by Tom Smith (See my previous review here.)

June 2011 FFS Winner: NICHE by Eva Julieta Alcazar (See my previous review here.)

July 2011 FFS Winner:  EPISODE X by Jonathan Dineyazhe (See my previous review here.)  Review Update: I found the link to Episode X!

August 2011 FFS Winner:  (Tie)

HYPNO WINK by Ray C. Merrill (See my previous review here.)

BLAMBLAMBLAM, ClickClickClick by Jaz Garewal (See my previous review here.) Review update: It was great seeing it a 2nd time; High production values and brilliant writing.  But I still don’t understand why the cops shot Jeremy Conrad when they offered him to the hostage taker.  Maybe I’ll find out when I start seeing the webisode this short introduces.  Best of luck on this webisode; it looks like it’s going to be really good.

September 2011 FFS Winner: WONDER BEE by Ari Grabb & Jackie Hitchinson (See my previous review here.)

October 2011 FFS Winner: HI-FI ALIBI by Everett Forbes (See my previous review here.)

November 2011 FFS Winner AND WINNER OF THE 2012 GOLDEN GONGS: WRONG PLACE by Josh Weisman & Mike O’Dea (See my previous review here.)

December 2011 FFS Winner: MY LIFE HAD STOOD – A LOADED GUN by Rio Finnegan (See my previous review here.)

January 2012 FFS Winner:  (Tie)

MANUSCRIPT by Dane Haiken (See my previous review here.)

WHIPSNAKE by Owen Rose (See my previous review here.)  Review Update: Turns out Owen Rose must have been in the bathroom during voting, because fortunately someone was there to receive the prize.

February 2012 FFS Winner: STRYREECHLINSTRAL & PANACEA by Owen Rose (See my previous review here.)

March 2012 FFS Winner: SHENANIGANS by Matt Sisson (See my previous review here.)

April 2012 FFS Winner: SEX, DRUGS AND JUMPSTYLE by Ari Grabb (See my previous review here.)

INTERMISSION (Couldn’t find any of the fillers.):

Filler: Vytautas Mineral Water

ARTIFICIAL, by Greg Mannino, (WINNER OF THE JUNE 2012 FFS) is a dramatic sci-fi short which looks like it could be an introduction to a feature or series.  High production values support this story of a scientist who seems to be creating or resurrecting his son by implanting metal parts into the fleshy body.  The gore effects were convincing. To complicate issues, a dept collector comes crashing through the door and shoots the scientist.  At this point, the audience started gonging the short which made me wonder this month’s audience was populated by sensitive souls.  More evidence of this came when the audience stopped gonging as the young man with the mechanical parts woke up.  It’s so hard to sink into a short when everyone is gonging it; but ultimately it was not officially gonged.  I was impressed and would like to see this again, especially any expansions or sequels. 

PANDEMICAL, by Owen Rose, is another well-made pseudo-infomercial about fictional drugs and their side-effects.  It’s a lot like his other fictional drug infomercials, but still gets a laugh.  When I woke up the next morning with pink eye, I remembered Pandemical’s side-effect, “giant eye maggots” and was not laughing very much.  Even though this was really funny; I feel it is ultimately serious.  All those side-effects like crotch coral, one really long tooth and other symptoms, that I don’t think apply to women, indicate a change in DNA caused by these kinds of drugs which could be true for real drugs! Great subdued acting by comedian, Noel Rhodes.

Filler: Lamb saying YEAH!

BOWSER & JUNIOR, by Ari Grabb, is the story of a son bullying his father because of his taste in cars and friends.  So many teens go through a stage where they are embarrassed by their parents because of their fashion sense or for just plain expressing themselves.  It makes me cringe when I think about how the younger generation tries to exert so much power over the self-expression of their parents and older generations.  Ultimately, these kids are succumbing to their own peer pressure to conform, resulting in a 2-D world, full of flat landscapes and restricted movements, exemplified by the arcade-videogame-type animation which characterizes this short.  On the other hand, Bowser, the Dad, caved into Junior’s demands to censor himself which didn’t set a good example for following your heart instead of the herd.  I had some trouble understanding Junior, but it was a very interesting yet disturbing experiment in Arcade game animation.

KNOWLEDGE PASS IT ON, by Jaz Garewal, is a set of 3 PSA’s made by Lt. Leo Darden, of BLAMBLAMBLAM, ClickClickClick .  High production values, very funny and great acting by Tony Eckstat!

Filler: Chop Chop

POWER VEGGIES, by John Rustate, is a PSA/commercial for Food Conspiracy Coop in Tucson.  Animated non-genetically modified fruits and veggies, agents of the Food Conspiracy Coop, save their brother, Pear, from becoming genetically modified (GMO) by the evil corporation, Mutanto.  This good intro to GMO foods, could have stated more powerful reasons for not eating GMO foods and eating organic foods provided by the Food Conspiracy Coop.  It’s amazing that people still don’t know why GMO foods are bad for you.  But having said that, it was a fun commercial for those who already know about GMO foods, but didn’t know about the Food Conspiracy Coop. Good 2-D animation!

Until Next time!

P.S. I'm looking for people to help me review local films.  There are so many, I get overwhelmed.  If interested, feel free to email me at spiritualmoviereviews@gmail.com