Thursday, July 15, 2004

MCF: Thursday

Yesterday I mentioned that I spent the first two days out in South Dakota teaching a Film Camp with Jason Santo of, at the lovely Dahl Arts Center. On Thursday the film fest started in earnest, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time to fill in as a judge, as the praise from those who enjoyed our film classes was still echoing from the Black Hills. I saw 18 features and shorts over the next three days, and will try to give a brief account of them over the next few entries.

CHARLIE CHARLIE: The first short of the festival, a whimsical story, kinetically shot, about a girl's active daydreaming life. Nicely done, and I was eager to see it, as its director (Shogo) is DPing SEX MACHINE from Christopher Sharpe that I recently did a rewrite over.

NUMBO: Caustic Aussie comedy short has hyper guy finding out his lady love is moving to the trailer down the road with a new beau (I forget what they call trailer parks there, but it's a trailer park), with attempted homicide and a few dance numbers ensuing.

ABOMINATION: Two cops find a couple of kids parking in an empty lot, but aren't too pleased with who they find, in this powerful short. Tyler Wilson snagged "best drama short" with this one, and rightfully so; it was excellently shot and presented in a sophisticated manner, with lots of energy. I was especially surprised as Tyler (who roomed next door to me in the dorms) seemed to need at least twelve hours of sleep a day, and couldn't stay awake more than a few hours at a stretch. But he must be full-bore on the movie set.

BREAKFAST WITH THE COLONEL: Rough-hewn but gut-busting feature tells of an Orwellian future as seen through the eyes of one slacker who basically ends up joining the rebellion because he's too lazy to get up and go to work. Lots of funny moments and a fully-realized worldview, although the ending cheats a bit.

TERRARIUM: A throwback to old-school sci-fi, done with a lamentably straight face, has a batch of astronauts getting picked off one by one by some rubber-suited monsters after crash-landing on an inhospitable planet. Done with a lot of heart and a lot of effort, but earned a lot of catcalls from the audience.

RED COCKROACHES: I knew this one was going to be big when I saw it a while back, but the audience was stunned by this totally original tale of incest and matricide in an acid rain-soaked future Earth. It is a $2,000 movie that looks like a two million dollar movie. The director, Miguel Coyula, was a very nice guy, despite his choice of subject matter, so I will bear him no hard feelings when he rockets to superstardom. He was one of my roommates during the festival, and I told him on the last day to remember who had shared his bed all week when he became famous. Okay, so it was a bunk bed, but I was grasping at straws.

The next day I watched (gulp)ten movies. More tomorrow. Until then, give me a shout at

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