Shorts Program 1

Reviewed by Brittany Carriger

Anna (Dekel Berenson,2019)


Anna is a beautiful ode to women and the space they hold in the world. It asks difficult questions of all of us and challenges us to question what we believe about motherhood, and what is beautiful and perhaps even sexy??

Svetlana Barandich, perfectly depicts the difficult place all women and mothers happen to find themselves in. As she navigates the dating world and introduces herself to a “Date” party, apparently vey typical of the Ukraine where this film takes place.

Although it is not apparent, except from the picturesque landscapes and the language, this film is very Ukrainian. It’s choose to juxtapose conventional beautiful with the golden chthonian beauty of Anna. Berenson is insightful in his look on femininity, where a topic such as female sexuality is often explore with little taste, he does so with a delicate, and loving manner that as a woman caused me great joy and pride in my own body.

Liberty (Faren Humes, 2019)

(Milagres Gilbert and Alexandra Jackson as best friends in Liberty)

To say that this film is powerful, would be a gross understatement. There is so little diegetic sound, we find ourselves dangerously intimate in the lives of two women who live in the housing developments of Liberty Miami. This film is most certainly an ethnographic narrative.

Humes is the perfect reminder of why it is so important to be intentional about picturing black innocence in narrative film. Milagres Gilbert and Alexandra Jackson, pictured left in the heat of a dance battle, play best friends, their real live friendship is the baseline for their characters, as Humes explained she allowed their personal experiences to inform the shape of the film.

The films is a garish look into how beaucratic systems forget about the humanity they affect. Humes does a very good job and reminding us all that we come from somewhere, and to never forget that even when we have to move forward.

Monstruo Dios (Agustina San Martin,2019)

The Synopsis of this film reads ” God is now a power plant.”

Though the film was beautiful pictured, and the use of religious iconography was very impactful, the narrative was lost on me. I fell that in the context of the program, this short would have fit in with a more experimental roster.

It was very poetic, and I am very sure that the director and writer San Martin, was very intentional with every element, however It was not strong enough to stand contest with all of it’s contemporaries in the program, and any attempt at a genuine impact was lost on myself.

Alien (Jegwang Yeon, 2019)

Jiwon Han in Alien

I am so grateful to have been able to see this short. It’s a powerful window into an issue that is not only happening here in the states but all around the world.

The story chronicles the sudden loss of a young factory worker’s roommate after an immigration raid. The film maker certainly explores the harsh treatment of individuals who do not hold legal status in the country they desire to work in, and have even built a full life in with genuine deep relationships. In the blink of an eye, all of the things that we as humans find foundational are challenged by the characters in this world. Cinematography is used in the most impressive way, with shots timed to use natural light that all DP’s are jealous for.  Quite an accomplishment.

Story (Jolanta Bankowska,2019)

Clocking in at only 3 minutes long this was easily one of the cleverest uses of the short story format in the entire festival. This is an animated minimalistic, incredibly graphic, in terms of design, critique on they was we now consume all media in this digital age. The timing makes it apparent that it was made for the digital format – as most short form content does not clock in over 5 minutes. I felt both judged as seduced by its satirical tone, as only stare might. Wonderful!

The Clinic(Elivia Shaw, 2019)

Dr. Marc Lasher

The only documentary in the lineup, and somehow just as powerful narratively speaking as anything mentioned above. Dr. Marc Lasher featured left, is the operator and heart and soul of a clinic in the central California area.  He treats individuals who have been affected by drug and alcohol and are walking out of or are in active addiction.

My bias should be apparent in the fact that I was sobbing within 60 seconds of this film. Shaw’s use of extreme close ups, not shying away from the distress of the afflicted is well placed. WE are aware of both Dr. Lasher and Shaw’s care of the patients. We are asked to care. The empathy drawn from me in this film reminds me, even if one may not agree, that there is capital “L” and it exists and its working.

The Minors (Robert Machoian, 2019)

Arri Graham, Bruce Graham, and Jonah Graham as The Minors

Three tiny faces pressed to one big, aged face snoring rather loudly. The littlest one squeaks ” is he dead?” He is Grandpa, the three little ones are his Grandsons and they have rock band practice.

This small essay on the love of music, family and sharing is such a Californian dream. It was love and magic and took the truth of family and wrapped it in the familiar mythology of summer band practice.

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