JULY 2011 FIRST FRIDAY SHORTS (FFS)
Sorry to be getting this review out so late, but then again I found more of the shorts online.
It was a gonging kind of audience this time. For a refresher of the rules of this event, go here. Being a summer holiday weekend and horribly hot, I was surprised the theater was as full as it was; approximately 2/3 to ¾ full. I flagrantly schmoozed with the “Artists” (as Max Cannon is now calling them), Diana Stapleton and Joke Harmonica before, during intermission and afterwards. Max calls them “THE Artists” because they forgo any sense of plot and go straight for the art. Month after month they sacrifice themselves in the FFS coliseum, like Christians being fed to the lions and graciously give up their video art to insensitive blood-thirsty FFS’s audiences.
Michael Sterner, Max Cannon’s previously silent side-kick and co-host, spoke up quite a lot and gave comments to just about every short. I like that. he comes up with real gems.
POOL BITCH, Julie Etheridge, Producer & Jackie Hutchinson, Director. I loved this short about two tween girls relaxing in a skuzzy backyard. One is smoking a cigarette, wearing gobs of eye makeup and sitting on a lawn chair. The other is sitting in a kiddie pool enjoying the clean water. The one smoking a cigarette drops her butt in the pool. The tween in the pool gets up and slugs her. Not much of a plot, but the camera shots, and color filter gave the video a quality reminiscent of Jane Campion’s earlier films, like Sweetie. Nicely shot. Highly recommended and really short.
MEXICAN PENIS, by Elise Hicks is a very short documentary or travel log of what looks like a day trip, shopping in Nogales. The documentarians ask a very charming, agreeable Nogales resident where they can score some drugs and sex. He shares his expert knowledge on the subject. They also ask him to show his penis which he sort of does. Then the man shows them a store where there is lesbian sexual glassware. The shop owner is a riot. Nicely shot, great audio. It’s one of those films that is shockingly funny. A special slice of life. WARNING: Not for sensitive viewers.
BILL written by Chris Keaton is the story of Bill, who inherits a strange disk-shaped thing from his recently departed uncle. The whole film takes place in Bill’s room from the point of view of his Web Cam. When Bill turns a dial on the disk he pops in and out of parallel universes. At first he returns having had wonderful experiences, and then the more he pops in and out, the worse his experiences become. This sci-fi short turned into a horror flick. Nice writing, nice editing and very clever. Too bad this was gonged. What an impatient, audience. You must all have ADD! But thankfully, I can see it online at the link above and now I know what happened at the end. Did I like the end? Hmmm.
FAIR TRADE by Mike Nunoz is a black and white film noir short about a hitman who falls in love with the woman he was hired to kill. The woman, played by Crystal Valenzuela, wore a dress that was colored red which stood out from the black and white video. Well shot, nicely edited, nice acting and great film noir style. It had a leisurely pace which inspired the audience to gong it, although it was not officially gonged. Max intervened and let the short run for his own self-interest.
Filler Short - Story from North America (I loved this. Max compared it to the works of Joke Harmonica.)
CLICHÉ by Alexander Pawlak of Fight in the Eye Productions
told the story of an FBI agent delivering a prisoner. The phrase, “Shit rolls downhill.” was said
often in this video. It was officially
gonged, so I was not able to see it to the end. It’s really hard to focus on a film when
people are screaming, “Gong, gong!” I just found it online and now I can properly review it. Since I was able to view this short from the comfort of my own computer, I saw that the FFS audience couldn't sit through the entire 9+ minutes; they can't sit through anything much over 3 minutes. The acting was good, the cinematography was great and so was the editing. The outdoor scenes were well lit, but the indoor scenes could have better lighting. But all in all, I liked this story of betrayal which had a hint of dark comedy thrown in. It had a similar feel to Mob Rules which I reviewed in the August edition of the FFS.
69 BIRD by Adam Ray and Taxman Entertainment. Boys and their toys can be really cute sometimes. This is a stop-motion animation of a matchbox ’69 T-Bird. It’s so short, it only shows the car pulling out of the cardboard garage, peeling rubber and going back into the garage to park. Interesting special visual effects and bad-but-cute sound-effects which were organically created out of the mouths of the filmmakers.
End of intermission
MANIFESTO OF AN ART MODEL, by Diana Stapleton, is an art video that consists of a video within a video. The larger video consists of Diana chopping vegetables. The camera angle reveals that she is topless, but we cannot see her head or enough of her breasts to be absolutely sure. Imbedded in the lower right hand corner of this video is a close-up of Diana (face only) reciting an essay she wrote about the value of women. The essay started out describing sexual predators in cars which led up to a discussion about what makes women attractive ending in the value of the feminine. During this recitation, subtitles above the cutting board of the major video expresses typical put downs for women, like “lose some weight” or “put on some make-up,” giving this video the same quality of dichotomy that runs throughout her video art work with an added poignancy. The audience was too spellbound to shout gong and gave it heartfelt applause. Max publically complimented the video. I didn’t know FFS audiences had this kind of sensitivity or appreciation of the feminine. Maybe they don’t really.
TEDDYBEAR ZOMBIE THUMBNAILS by Joke Harmonica is a stop-motion animation of 2-D drawings on lined paper in 16 episodes wherein most of the episodes a zombie teddy bear appears. It’s worth viewing more than once to get the deeper meaning. The drawings seem very crude at first glance, but very expressive. I dare say, Joke could do storyboards for feature films. This is the first signs of plot I have seen from Joke. Sixteen little plots range from Zombie bear coming to get you, to a PSA about watching your kids, to the evil BOA and other big banks in Tucson. Interesting voice-over and soundtrack too. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly gonged.
Filler short – BREAK DANCING GORRILLA AT THE CALGARY ZOO
TOKIN’ WITH THE BROS by Kyle Schraggtoso is a rap music video about having a dope-filled guy’s all-nighter without the girlfriends. The lyrics and visuals are very suggestive of unbridled man-love, but it makes you wonder. Good shots, editing and acting. Offensively funny and shockingly interesting.
HIDDEN CLAW by Mario Silvas is a short about action short stories broadcast on a PBS-type station. The short stories consisted of a gunfight with masked guys and others. Nice beginning and great credit titles. I need to see it again. I couldn't find it online.
FOR YOU by Grant Hunker is the story of a woman whose boyfriend creates a trail of notes for her to find, which give her clues to find him. Shot in NY, this was nicely filmed and seemed at times a romantic travel log of the city. Nice acting and cute story idea.
STAR WARS EPISODE X by Jonathon Dinease - WINNER OF THE JUNE 2011 FFS! This parody of Star Wars met with wild applause and almost a standing ovation. I haven’t yet found it online and would like to see it again. I missed a lot of the jokes, but the audience thought it was hilarious. In the beginning animated spaceships fly through space but encounter those terrible intersection traffic cameras. The traditional Star Wars scrolling text collided with Earth and there was an abundance of other jokes. The highlight was near the end when the death ray shoots all the way through the screen into the Loft and ruins the film. Very clever. Please post so I can see again.
TRUE LOVE by Tad Sallee of Hossguy Pictures is a very short story of a young couple having dinner. The guy farts which gives the girl the courage to fart and then the guy says…. You can see the rest online. Nice editing, lighting, acting and great audio. This short was really silly, but also really profound in that it showed total acceptance in a relationship.
WEAK DAYS WITH EARNIE by Sid Fero is the insensitive
story of two young guys who watch a homeless man kill himself. They then
blissfully go home and watch the movie, Weekend with Bernie, which is about two
guys who try to make people think that their friend Bernie is really still
alive by dragging him around. The two
young guys think that is a great idea and go find the dead homeless guy and act
out the movie with him. This was gonged
immediately and officially. From what
little I saw, I can’t recommend this short. When I find it online, I'll give it a second look.
See you at FFS next month!
Tags: july 2011 first friday shorts tucson