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By Mark Bell | November 3, 2014

In this charming short comedy by Connecticut-based filmmaker Samuel B. Russell, the island of Zeno is threatened with destruction by a percolating volcano. While the mayor of the island’s sole village would prefer to accept a lava-shower fate by holding an end-of-the-world dance party, the plucky young heroine Gish sets off on her bicycle to try to talk the feminine volcano out of erupting.

Yes, you read that correctly – Gish is going to have a girl-to-girl talk with the volcano. And that is part of the charm in this delightfully goofy film, which intentionally plays up no-budget effects and cheesy green screen trickery while serving up characters including a wise mayfly with an absurdly short life span and a tree that allows itself to be chopped down (only to scream in horror with each blow of the axe). The result is the most wonderfully warped island non-paradise this side of “H.R. Pufnstuf.”

Russell even dares to break a cardinal rule with a twist conclusion – no spoilers here, but I can say that the denouement offers a fascinating consideration of what constitutes a happy ending.

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