The 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival Review - Shorts Program #4

"The Smallest River in Almirante" by Director: Joshua Rofe

The Smallest River in Almirante finds a father and son making a journey to a foreign land, through jungle and mountains to reach a very special destination. The journey is an emotional and spiritual reawakening for both men. And when the reason for their journey is reveal, it make it all the more endearing. This short is an inspiring opportunity to see jungle land not for its poverty nor its primitiveness, but rather for its richness in culture, tradition and it’s peoples’ connection with the land.

"I Have Seen the Future" by Director: Cam Christiansen

I Have Seen the Future is a silk screen-esque animated music video about a guy trying to play tennis with his Dad when three punks park themselves by the tennis court and begin to heckle them. Half spoken word, half sung, the music video is reminiscent of Baz Lurhman’s 1999 single Everybody’s Free ( To Wear Sunscreen), which ironically enough was adapted from a Mary Schmich essay that also rales retrospectively at the impertinence of youth. We know these kids, we were these kids. It was a very funny short. Thanks for the memories Cam Christiansen.

"City of Cranes" by Director: Eva Weber

City of Cranes is a fascinating look a the secret yet visible plane of artistry which resides between heaven and earth, in the ever-present silent giant cranes. This short is very much a piece of visual art. Impressive photography, certainly and A for originality. Check it out for yourself at:

"KJFG No. 5" by Director: Alexel Alexeev

KJFG No. 5 again gives us the best of abbreviated story with laughs that last long after. In a nut shell, a bear, a rabbit and a wolf have a jam session in the wood. Then a hunter happens along. This animated short was so good, you’ll want to go scour the internet to find the Nos. 1-4. (Actually, I think I will.)

"How to Save a Fish from Drowning" by Director: Kelly Neal

How to Save a Fish from Drowning is a gently told documentary of ice fishing and the slowly shrinking population of a town called Boulder. Three middle-aged gentlemen sit patiently in the fishhouse that they have hauled from someone’s home, onto the ice where they have drilled the latest hole in the frozen lake to drop a few lines and go fishing. And as they wait and wait and wait, they reflect on the factories hat have shutdown, the farms that have folded, the friends that have moved away and the perfectly formed snowdrift. The likeability of our fishermen is what kept me interested in this short doc, they each reminded me of my Granddad in a small way.

"Magnetic Movie" by Semiconductor: Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerha

Magnetic Movie was very weird and very cool, particularly for a short rooted in the visualizing scientific theories. And while I admit the science speak did lose me after a while, the animation in this piece was impressive. It left me wondering, “How did they do that?”

"Magic Paris" by Director: Alice Winocour

Magic Paris is the short story of Kate and the impossible chance meeting of the man of her dreams on a trip to Paris. They just connect emotionally, physically. And by a similar freakishly unfortunate happenstance, she losses him. It’s a perfectly condensed story of love and loss featuring an adorable dog and set to the soundtrack of Etta James. I really enjoyed this one, for the acting, the simple love story, the fanciful eyes through which we saw Paris, the blissfully balanced comic twist turned desperately tragic. I’m deeming this “troll-worthy”*.

"Terminus" by Director: Trevor Cawood

In this next short, a man is shadowed by an “ominous” stone figure until he completely losses it. Terminus is a fairly simple yet extremely powerful morality tale. I really love the implied question the audience is left with: If someone/something unlike yourself irrevocably enters your life, without causing you harm, what is the harm of gracing that person/thing with your accepting. Am I reading too much into it? I don’t think so. But the Visual Special Effects alone on this short make it absolutely troll-worthy.* Then you can decide for yourself: cautionary tale or concise, canny horror. Well done Trevor Cawood.

The 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival presented four unique shorts programs as pasrt of their celebration of films all over the Westwood Village until June 29th.

*Troll-worthy: a film so good, it’s worth spending several hours trolling through the endless annals of the internet to find the piece.

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