As Mills Lane or Marvin Gaye would say: “Let’s get it on!”
Current ^ ***1/2 ^ Directed by Brian Doyle ^ A weather advisory plays briefly while ticker tape floats all around a city, wrapping itself around poles and even hanging off buildings. As the ticker tape flies by and torn pieces of paper, whirl around in a heavy wind, the sounds of technology blare on the soundtrack, suggesting how we are inundated with so much technology and information in this day and age.
Ephemera ^ **1/2 ^ Directed by Tyler Kay ^ Kind of a draggy piece where a couple dances and the short is bathed in a nearly darkish blue and white. Not much to go on.
Winged Devices ^ **** ^ Directed by Damian Gregg ^ A bird hops around, dropping what appears to be a small rock of some sort and it suddenly turns into a very large tree. The bird’s eggs in the tree begin to hatch and that’s when it’s realized what we’re actually looking at: A mechanical bird and its mechanical tree. That can be seen because the eggs have hinges on them that gradually open up. It’s great animation helped along by 4 computer programs, including Adobe Photoshop.
C-12 Redux ^ *** ^ Directed by Rich Del Ross ^ Evolution in its various forms is the major hard-on in this quickie where we find such sights as a hand drawing various things against a wall full of computer symbols. Among the other sights, you can find a man sitting in a box with a laptop computer above him, an office floating in a crate through space and one sequence where words scroll across the top: “I lift a finger and the world starts.” What about a sluggish computer that becomes troublesome? Can the finger join the others, ball up into a fist, and give the computer a “talking to”?
Piñata ^ **1/2 ^ Directed by Shane Ryan ^ An orange-reddish tinge colors this piece which begins with a lit cigarette that leads to a shaky fellow, who seems to have not had his fix of some unnamed drug. Or maybe it’s just the cigarette that he hasn’t had in such a long time. A girl enters a batting cage and hits a few balls, each having a heavy pounding sound to it.
Girl Shoots 2 Boys Brawling ^ *** ^ Directed by Jason Jay Stevens and Leslie Raymond (a.k.a Potter-Belmar Labs) ^ It’s the fight you don’t have to pay $39.95 on Pay-Per-View for when a boy in a purple shirt and red pants tussles with a boy in a red shirt and yellow pants in an ever-changing background that goes from green to yellow to whatever.
Child Becomes A Father ^ ***1/2 ^ Directed by Juhani Koivumäki ^ A father walks in on his son, who’s staring blankly at the TV. He stands there for a moment, walks away, and the child begins to cry. Inside, the child experiences such frustration at his parents, and inside himself, he’s thrust into a dark, desolate place with branches everywhere. Later on, a Greek chorus-type group shouts at the parents, even going so far as to throw a rock at them. It shows the child’s life develops based on many factors, such as if the parents are actually there for the child, which in this case, they aren’t.
Convolute ^ **** ^ Directed by Peter Suchecki ^ A torus interacts with eight spheres, as the spheres go in and out of the doughnut-shaped circle and as the interaction speeds up, different shapes are formed briefly and it also gets to the point where the speed creates red zigzags between both elements.
Chorus of Breath ^ **1/2 ^ Directed by Zarin Gul ^ Heavy, almost monstrous breathing permeates this piece that according to the filmmaker, deals with the “pain of isolation”. Nothing major here.
Suffocation: “Confessions of a Piggly Wiggly Cashier” ^ **** ^
Directed by Skye Thorstenson ^ For a female cashier at the Piggly Wiggly, the day’s been pretty boring. Between scanning item after item, ringing up totals, and presenting receipts along with the correct change (if any), the monotony of the job really gets to her, that at one point, she just stops and starts daydreaming. Her thoughts, which include a few sexual acts, are presented and they’re so wild in contrast to her mundane job, that once we get back to her at the register, it’s a laugh-out-loud moment.
Image of a Family ^ ****1/2 ^ Directed by Jordan Lindblad ^ Yes, exactly! Life is NOT the perfection that commercials and TV shows in the ‘50s tried to present. This is the 21st century and Jordan Lindblad shows many contrasts. For example, there’s a scene where a mother is pouring orange juice for her two sons and right after that, we see a woman pouring vodka for herself. It’s a smart commentary that shows reality as it really is today.
Apophany ^ **** ^ Directed by Jennifer Leggett ^ A woman facing her inner demons currently occupies a room that looks discarded and is peeling all over. This includes bottles all over a wooden table and a rude interruption by a mannequin head and a sequence involving bumper cars. Jennifer Leggett really knows how to create a surreal environment, especially a computer-animated one.
Dreaming Awake ^ **** ^ Directed by John R. Killacky ^ John R. Killacky expresses his frustration at being in a wheelchair, while footage is shown of dancers bending, stretching, and performing so much else. It’s not been easy for him at all. Sure he’s been given acupuncture and tried so much else, but while improvements have been made in his condition, he firmly believes that “improvements are not cures”. It’s an incredibly insightful piece that others with the same kind of frustration will definitely spark to, and outside of that, it’s incredibly well-written and performed.
Inside FX: Otto Beingesser ^ ****1/2 ^ Directed by Nyeland Newel ^ “Inside FX” is a very clever mockumentary on a special effects artist named Otto Beingesser who created such characters as the Giant Cowboy and a walking hot dog named Frankenfurter. His work is analyzed by fans (One believes that the film “Giant Cowboy Attacks” was a metaphor for America’s growing superpower status) and his life is dissected by acquaintances and family members, such as his daughter who knew that her father wanted a son, but was hurt even more when this was made more apparent by a film he made called “Giant Daughter Attacks”. Nyeland Newel knows how to rack up the laughs in this one and it’s great fun!
Pentimento ^ *** ^ Directed by Pyun Sungman ^
In “Pentimento”, water rises up and suddenly starts spinning fast, while we travel through various cloud formations and totem poles line a forest. Masami Tomihisa’s music provides a underlying haunting quality to the work.