Thursday, October 12, 2006

Local Produce: Local Shorts

Local Produce: Local Shorts
Saturday, October 14, 12:00pm
Harvard Exit
Local Shorts 3.jpg
Still from To Be A Heart

This 92-minute program of shorts features the queer related works of Pacific Northwest filmmakers. The films vary greatly in genre, format, subject matter, production value and overall quality. If you want to see what local directors are up to and view a couple of really good films while wading through some mediocre, and some down right bad, films this is the program for you. If you want to see shorts of a more consistent quality then check out some of the other short programs at the festival like The Young and The Breathless.

Several films had either strong production values but weak stories or strong stories with weak production values. To Be A Heart had a great premise- it's a clever meditation on gender- but the acting and production design were a letdown. Another worthwhile entry was the four-minute short Bedfellows, which had a clever premise and a great amusing script. Drafting Dimensions had an interesting sci-fi/metaphysical concept, some great art design, but the second-rate cinematography and special effects along with wooden acting undercut the big ideas in the script.
The first film that stands out in this program is The Sisterhood of the Night. It's not a perfect film, the pacing drags a bit and the story was a rehash of The Crucible with a modern Buffy/The Craft/Ginger Snaps view of teenage female sexuality. However the narrative structure, the acting and the visual style of the film are first rate.
The best of the lot by far was Free Parking. The story is simple, two sisters are sent out to pick blackberries, but the complexity of their relationship is conveyed in a brilliantly naunced script and two realistically complicated performances by the young actresses playing the sisters. Frankly, I felt it was worth the whole program to see this short. It'll be interesting to see where the director, Laura Jean Cronin goes as a filmmaker.

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