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Short films for fun and profit


by Manuel Mendoza 18 Apr 2008

Gustav Braustache and the Auto-Debilitator The next big movie thing is short films for cell phones, SXSW Film Festival producer Matt Dentler opined during a panel at AFI-Dallas. Afterward, I asked Dallas Video Festival director Bart Weiss what he thought, and he agreed. (Bart is coincidentally part of a North Texas project that’s making video […]

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Gustav Braustache and the Auto-Debilitator

The next big movie thing is short films for cell phones, SXSW Film Festival producer Matt Dentler opined during a panel at AFI-Dallas. Afterward, I asked Dallas Video Festival director Bart Weiss what he thought, and he agreed. (Bart is coincidentally part of a North Texas project that’s making video art with cell phones.) We live in a world of impulse purchases, Bart went on, and people will be easily persuaded to hit a button for a brief burst of entertainment that’ll end up costing a couple of bucks on their phone bill.

This is a roundabout way of saying I saw some great short films last night.

simulacra_02.jpg
Simulacra

I’m in Tampa, Fla., at the Ybor Festival of the Moving Image, which opened Thursday with a lecture on Dali and film and ended with a program of delightful shorts, one of which is available in full on that there Internet and another you can buy on Amazon or elsewhere. Roll tape:

1. Simulacra by Tatchapon Lertwirojkul. One of the joys of 21st century filmmaking is watching the latest technology used to tell good, old-fashioned stories — doubly cool in this case because it’s a tale about technology itself.

2. Gustav Braustache and the Auto-Debilitator by Rob Cunningham and Tony Mullen. Right now, in the glow of the morning after, this is one of the greatest films of all-time. The black-and-white, near-silent comedy concerns an inventor of ridiculous devices and his lazy landlord. It too employs beautifully rendered special effects. I was literally on the edge of my seat as human nature and its accompanying foibles played out on the screen.

3. I also enjoyed the self-conscious man-child rant Anti-Narrative Number 4 by Jeremy Kruse and the subtly suggestive American Triptych by Ryan Silveira.

4. Back home in Tejas, two recently screened shorts caught my eye: David Lowery’s poetic nature-meets-sci-fi A Catalog of Anticipations, which won honorable mention at AFI-Dallas, and the noir-feed-bag Key Lime Pie by Trevor Jimenez, winner of the animated-short prize.

5. Have I whet your appetite? Your next chance to catch a program of shorts is April 26 at the USA Film Festival.

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