Monday, September 17, 2007

Microcinema Fest 2007: Saturday Highlights

The Saturday screenings started with a blast with HOW MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR DISCOVERED LIFE ON MARS, a near-perfect slice of life short that sent chills down my spine. A boy fantasizes about traveling into space, and an elderly neighbor watching out a window helps him on his journey. Beautifully shot, flawless sound design, just highly imaginative work. Australian director Austin Andrews put it all together here.

Next was a pleasant little short from Todd Tinkham called SADIE TURNS SEVEN, a cute look at a little girl's birthday by the seashore.

More family fare next with LETTING GO, Dan Masucci's pleasantly shot, and passingly pleasant, short story of a boy and his blanket going their different ways.

I have said before that fimmaker Matt Meindl is one of the more creative rising talents in microcinema, with his wholly unique perspectives and his deft use of mixed media. His short LOLLY GAGGER may be one of his most accomplished yet, both in terms of production design and storytelling.

Nashville filmmaker Chase Kuertz brought an earthy, downhome feel to his family tale THE JOURNEY, a short about two brothers and their ailing father. Kuertz showed nice tools in production and also in his performance. His work is really growing stronger.

In the closing evening, AESOP'S DINER led the charge with the second short of the day to send chills down my spine. Cara Maria O'Shea's pitch-perfect urban fable about the dissolution of a rising band features great performances, solid production values, and a knockout soundtrack that my brother and I listened to driving home the next day. In my top three favorite projects in the Fest.

Steve Gelder's easygoing short comedy ARC played next, where two slackers go on a voyage of discovery (of sorts), and you can read what I first thought of it here.

Next was Bill Sebastian's big Texas drama MIDLOTHIA, which snagged a handful of Awards Sunday and was much admired at the Fest for its good performances, honest script, and solid production work. I think MIDLOTHIA has great crossover potential from micro to mainstream, and Sebastian's cast and crew deserve wider recognition for their work. This one snagged Best of Fest and others.

PETER'S PRICE is a crackling noir where a rising exec is robbed by somebody who turns out to be an old friend, and where their conversation leads is the suprising core of this crisp short. You can read more of my original take on it here.

New Zealand filmmaker Amit Tripuraneni's FIVE finished out the Fest on a strong note. Of course, loyal readers of this blog know I am working on a project with Amit, but setting that aside I enjoyed this work on its own merits. Tripuraneni coached naturalistic, almost improvised-seeming performances from his leads, coupling that with energetic visuals and a crisp pace in his "Twilight Zone"-flavored tale of camping friends and the revelations a long weekend at a remote cabin reveals.

And that's MCF 07! Some of these first-impression reviews will be turning into full-length reviews in the days and weeks and months ahead at Microcinema Scene.

Until then, give me a yell at

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