Category Archives: Shorts

SATURDAY SHORT: RED HOT DROPS

Today’s Saturday Short is a music video made by Chad Vangaalen.   Chad is a musician and artist from Canada who rarely leaves his basement, where he is constantly working.  Besides his passion for music and the visual arts, Chad also has a passion for skateboarding.

In the video you’ll see that Chad’s music style is a combination of indie, folk, pop, and experimental.   He has created a few stop motion videos to advertise his latest album, “Soft Airplane,” but in his other videos he uses computer animation.

Originally, I wanted to use the music video to “Molten Light.”  I find the animation as well as the music to be much better, but this video is a little too graphic for our site.  There are sequences of strong comic violence and nudity throughout.  If that content doesn’t bother you click here.

If you enjoy the music be sure to look up Chad’s alias, “Black Mold,” as well.  He just released an album under the name.

SATURDAY SHORT: NACHTMAHR GEISTERGANG

This week’s short, Nachtmahr: Geistergang, (Nightmare: Ghost Trail) was written by another fan of ours, Kacper Radecki.   This is visually and aurally one of the stranger shorts I’ve come across.  Each scene is quite unique. There’s a creature (which took an entire week to make the costume for) dancing in the forest, a series of ruins, a pipe scene, and a bug trying to escape a jar. All of which, along with the whispers and screams in the background, make it true to it’s title; a nightmare.

Kacper is a self-taught photographer and director who plans to study film in the United States in 2010. Our best wishes go out to him in furthering his passion for film.

For a look at Kacper’s photography visit this link.

366 EXCLUSIVE: “9″

We are pleased to debut Alfred Eaker and Robbin Panet’s short film film “9” on the web.  This is the movie they made for the 2009 48 Hour Film Festival.  The rules of the contest festival are simple: every team has only 48 hours to complete the film, and each must incorporate three elements given by the festival : a character name, a line of dialogue, and a prop.  Look for a character named “Professor Sherman Kane,” a ball, and the line “I’m not talking to you.”

Rather than making a straightforward short that looked like everyone else, “9” takes an experimental approach, becoming a sepia-hued exploration of domestic abuse through the generations, in a Western setting.  The bizarre free-association poetry of John M. Bennet replaces traditional narration.  It runs approximately seven and a half minutes.

Alfred’s description of the making of the film can be read in his Reflections on the 48 Hour Film Festival and the “9” Diary.

9

[Our license to display “9” has expired.  We will inform you if this film is released, on DVD or otherwise, in the future.]

At the producers’ request, this film will not be released to YouTube or other video hosting sites, and will be available here for one month only.  UPDATE: Because this film was reviewed and linked from Rogue Cinema, we are leaving the film up for another week, until October 12, 2009.

SATURDAY SHORT: BETTY BOOP IN SNOW-WHITE (1933)

Firstly, I’d like to thank Ayla (of Twisted Celluloid) for the idea of this week’s short, “Betty Boop in Snow-White”.  The change over the past seventy-five years has been a big one, and it is very evident in this cartoon.  In this short you will find some very out of the ordinary dancing and singing (featuring Cab Calloway), a brief mention of alcohol, and no morals to end on. Enjoy!

SATURDAY SHORT: “ONE PILL” 8/29

Our second Saturday Short installment is from a fan of our site, Sean McHenry, director and editor of Deep Blue Edit. Unlike my last post, “One Pill” is much more what you’d expect a short film to be; quiet, yet profound.  I believe Sean’s caption says it best:

“If One Pill could repair a broken memory…
No matter how tragic and painful…
Would you take it?”

Much more from Sean is available at his site Deep Blue Edit (look for the blue navigation box to the left.)  One brief tour was all it took, and I was completely ensnared.  If you like what you see, be sure to message him.  He’ll be glad to know his work is well appreciated.

Filmmakers: if you have a short you’d like to see featured in this space, please contact us using the contact form.

SATURDAY SHORT: “CROOKED (ORCUS) ROT”

“Saturday Short” (suggestions on a better title are welcome) is a new feature where we’ll be featuring a new (to us), full-length, weird short every Saturday.  Shorts are selected by our new “shorts editor” Cameron Jorgensen.

This stop-motion animation by David Firth is just over a year old.  David found a lot of the props he uses in this animation in his own backyard.  Beware, most of his shorts are very creepy, and “Crooked (Orcus) Rot” is no exception.  A lot of his work can be defined as dark humor while this would better fit under experimental.  Musical score written by Marcus Fjellstrom.

For more of Firth’s work be sure to visit his site:  http://www.fat-pie.com/

Filmmakers: if you have a short you’d like to see featured in this space, please contact us using the contact form.

MAYA DEREN: AT LAND (1944)

Maya Deren’s At Land (1944) opens with a scene of fearsome waves crashing against a desolate shore.  It could almost be described as Debussian, save for the unsettling dead and total silence that continues, unabated, throughout the film.

Maya Deren's At LandThe exotic Deren appears, emerging from a sleep, like a mermaid spit ashore from the crashing waves.

Deren begins slowly climbing a massive, twisted, dead tree trunk; the figure of Deren/Eros embarking on her great existential journey.

The nymph (her face adorned with child-like innocence) slithers on her stomach across a dining room table, populated with faceless corporates.  They do not take notice of her, preoccupied with idle chatter and many cigarettes.  Her eyes focus on a solitary figure, playing chess at the table’s end.  By the time she reaches that end (there are brief, repeated, struggled, exploratory diversions through a mass of shrubbery) she finds the player has just left and, as she gazes at the board, the rest of the room’s occupants are also leaving.

Telekinetically, she moves the chess pieces, until the pawn (one of eight) falls through a hole in the table.  She attempts to retrieve it and finds herself  back on the shore, then on a country road, walking and talking with a young man (represented by five different men).

She cannot keep up with the man and he leaves her behind as he disappears into a cabin, shutting the foreboding door behind him.

Determined not to be abandoned, she crawls under the log cabin but emerges in a contemporary, nearly abandoned home, laden with furniture, covered in white sheets.

It is not the young man she finds, but an older, bedridden man (figure number six), under a white bed sheet.  They silently stare at each other, identify Continue reading MAYA DEREN: AT LAND (1944)

SHORT: THE THREATENED ONE (1999)

threehalfstar

DIRECTED BY:  Signe Baumane

PLOT: An impressionistic interpretation of a Jorge Luis Borges poem featurning a bunny rabbit, a fox, a man and a woman.

The Threatened One: Rated PG-13 for cartoon bosoms and symbolic sex


WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD:  The dreamlike imagery, especially the flower that ejaculates flowers.

COMMENTS:  Baumane worked with Bill Plympton (who gets a thank you shout in The Threatened One‘s credits) on I Married a Strange Person! The two animators seem to be kindred spirits: they share a “squiggly” style of animation, where even the still frames move and breathe, as well as an absurd sense of visual humor.  The Threatened One adopts a drawing style reminiscent of a children’s book (only with a sea of blood and topless scenes) to illustrate Borge’s bittersweet poem about the consuming power of love.  Love is depicted as a predator, a toothy fox, but having your fleshed ripped by it’s fangs doesn’t seem like such a horrible fate in the end. The short is witty and whimsical, and David Rovin’s music punctuates the atmosphere perfectly. The only slight complaint is that the narrator’s reading, while competent, isn’t as inspired as the rest of the production.

The Threatened One is available on the collection Ten Animated Films by Signe Baumane. More information can be found on Signe Baumane’s website.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“For Borges and Baumane, love triggers the death of the individual.”-Chris Robinson, Unsung Heroes of Animation

ROSCOE ARBUCKLE’S “HE DID AND HE DIDN’T” (1916)

Hidden deep in the recesses of early cinema lies a rarely seen, obscure gem that might be described as something resembling a Max Beckman Moving Picture.

he_did_and_he_didntRoscoe Arbuckle’s 1916 He Did and He Didn’t is a humorous, expressionistic nightmare which not only calls to mind the texture and atmosphere of Max Beckman expressionist paintings, but also, in heroine Mabel Normand, evokes Edvard Munch as well.

Arbuckle had been shifting away from the frantic style of the Mack Sennett factory towards more character driven comedy, and had taken over writing and directing his own films and making features long before Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd followed suit.

He Did and He Didn’t uniquely stands out even among the later Arbuckle films, which is saying quite a bit as Arbuckle was innovative both as a performer and director.  His perfectionism was well known and he might very well have earned the crown for king of multiple takes, although the gracefulness he displayed on both sides of the camera never even remotely hints at such perfectionist standards.

Arbuckle has been widely credited for influencing such artists as Charlie Chaplin,  Buster Keaton, Oliver Hardy and Curly Howard.  His distinct on-screen persona was normally that of a country bumpkin and ladies man.

Naturally, every great screen personality needs an equally distinct nemesis.  Chaplin had Eric Campbell, Langdon had Vernon Dent, Arbuckle had his Al St. John.  The two appeared together in numerous films and, later, Arbuckle directed St. John in Curses (1925) and Bridge Wives (1932).  Lanky, bad teeth, bad hair and bad clothes, St. John was Arbuckle’s perfect country bumpkin foil in The Waiter’s Ball (1916), Coney Island (1917) and the recently restored Love (1919), in which Arbuckle donned drag, as he frequently did (Good Night Nurse, an imaginative nightmare fantasy with Keaton, St. John and Arbuckle Continue reading ROSCOE ARBUCKLE’S “HE DID AND HE DIDN’T” (1916)

SHORT: GREEN PORNO – FLY (2008)

Recommended(episode & 1st season series)

DIRECTED BY: Isabella Rossellini & Jody Shapiro

FEATURING: Isabella Rossellini

PLOT: A fly bides its time explaining to us how it escapes being swatted by humans, lands upside down on the ceiling, and spits into its food to dissolve it, until it sees a female and rushes to mate.

Complete short film, Green Porno: Fly.  (Requires Adobe flash player).

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD:  The reproductive processes of insects are strange and sometimes gruesome, but Rossellini describes them in deadpan fashion with a sly and detached wit that accentuates their alien-ness even further.

COMMENTS:  The first “Green Porno” series of eight short films ran as bumpers on the Sundance Channel in 2008.  Each approximately two minute film describes the morphology and exotic mating habits of a different bug—spiders, flies, earthworms, snails, bees, praying mantises, dragonflies, and fireflies.  Rossellini wrote, performed and co-directed the entire series.  Fly is one of the better episodes, although they are all similar in quality.  Although the films ostensibly have a documentary bent, the elegant, often childishly simple sets, costumes and art direction reveal that the series is inspired as much (if not more) by the theater as the classroom.  Rossellini’s performances can be subtly hilarious: note the big smile she flashes while copulating, and the abruptly disconcerting way she ends this episode with the image of her severed head accompanied by her proud fatherly proclamation, “Our babies grow up in cadavers.  They are called—maggots!”   She also seems to recognize that seeing a former sex symbol turned grandmotherly matron of the arts gleefully humping a model fly is going to look a little weird, and takes to the task with relish.  Although the films are meticulously clinical and entomological, depictions of insect beheadings, penetrations and S&M rituals among snails can be unnerving.

The entire series can be viewed on The Sundance Channel website.  A second season, covering sea creatures like the barnacle, starfish and limpet is airing currently on the channel and can also be viewed at the website.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“…defying all existing categories previously known to any species Rossellini has embarked on an affectionate, raw when not surreal, often tongue in cheek and intermittently lusty exploration of creature erotic appetites.”–Prairie Miller, Newsblaze