Homeless Joe - Linda Niksic
This is a short film about how we look away, how easy it is to 'unsee' people, especially the homeless. Joe only wants to be seen, and we're shown his life in a brief series of vignettes.
The stop-motion animation is a bit rough at points, but the lovely crocheted dolls, and the really smart set designs combine with a story that is both thoughtful and sweet, and that more than makes up for it. Linda Niksic handles her material very well as director and animator, and I'm excited to see where she goes next. Homeless Joe is a film that actually had me thinking well after it's 5 1/2 minute run-time.
Mining Moon - Brian Morelan
Science fiction stories can go in a number of directions, both positive and negative. In Mining Moon, we are given a dark and gritty mining colony and an Agent who is to report on arms dealings. It becomes more than just a job, and that's where the short takes off.
While Mining Moon has some glitches within the delivery from some of the actors, the effects are spectacular, and somehow, they feel natural at the same time. The setting made me buying into the idea that slavery and arms trading were certainly a part of daily life. The costume and make-up designs are top-notch, far better than I'd expect from a micro-budget short, and I seriously enjoyed the viewing.
Dynamic Pizza - The Unseemly Exchange
The tradition of the Pizza boy who is called to the house only to service a lonely housewife is as old as Porn, but in the case of Dynamic Pizza - The Unseemly Exchange it's done so well. At first, it seems a bit pat, but the ending adds a nice little twist, and one that made me both smile and wish I could get a little more of this well-made, and intelligent short which I understand is a part of a series. https://www.facebook.com/dynamicpizza
Icons of Fear - Alex Hernández
The idea of making a snuff film is an old one, but we also don't think its been done, or at least not with any sort of regularity. On the other hand, films ABOUT making snuff happen from time to time, and they are usually tedious. Icons of Fear is about as far from tedious as you can get. It's a beautifully made, lo-fi horror film that combines a smart script with strong acting and a brutality that makes this a horror piece that is worth seeking out.
Corral Shell - Justin Bowers
If you are going to play off the legendary slacker workplace ethos espoused by films like Clerks, you better be able to back it up with a great script and strong ideas. Corral Shell is the story of a convenience store and it's employees, plus a weird guy who visits, and a dumpster that is a magical place. It's all done in felt-tip marker on Post-it Notes, but the script is smart, the delivery very cool, and the overall impression is one of lo-fi exceptionalism.
The Magnificent Mr. Chim - Daniel Boulos
I like monkeys, and the lesser and Great Apes. The Magnificient Mr. Chim is actually a science fiction story (animals genetically engineered for the entertainment industry!) and a commentary on the world of the Media (Mr. Chim has risen through the ranks to become the top producer in Hollywood!). There are a lot of lovely surrealistic, and just plain fun, touches. The structure, and the visual styling, all add up to a wonderful animated short.