The AFI Shorts Program Review - Big things come in small packages

The Shorts Program at the AFI Fest included many films from all over the world that leading filmmakers created.  It was held on Monday, November 2 at the Mann Chinese 6.

With a total of about 9 shorts, these films were very interesting to watch.  There was definitely a range in the types of films showcased.  The shorts program lasted a total of 88 minutes.

Attending this section of the AFI Fest was a split for many that attended the viewing of the Shorts Program.  Some seemed to enjoy the films and some called it a waste of time.  I enjoyed watching the films and I think that there was a mixture of great films with a few less exciting.  However, it was nice to see a wide range chosen for the selection of films shown.

Dick Cheney in a Cold, Dark Cell is directed by Jim Finn.  This short is a popular film that many attendees were looking forward to seeing.  Finn, an experimental collage artist has previously taken part in the AFI Fest.  In this film, he brought in his reflections on our former Vice President.

The History of Aviation is about a family that is on holiday at a seaside getaway.  Their little girl decides to wander off and ends up finding wonder and danger of an early airborne flight.  This film was directed by Balint Kenyeres.

I Am So Proud of You was recently awarded the Grand Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival, Best Picture and Best Screenplay from the Fargo Film Festival, the Yoram Gross Award for Animation from Flickerfest in Australia, and the Golden Starfish from the Hamptons International Film Festival.  Directed by Don Hertzfeldt, it is a continuation on a previous film titled Everything Will Be OK.  The character in the story, Bill, has some trouble coming back to normal terms as he deals with family issues.  This film captured the attention of the viewer wondering what the dialogue in the next scene would be. 

I Am So Proud of You c)2008 Don Hertzfeldt

I Am So Proud of You c)2008 Don Hertzfeldt

John Wayne Hated Horses deals with a father and son who are having trouble agreeing about masculinity, boredom and the proper way to play with army toys.  It is directed by Andrew T. Betzer.

Todd Luoto directed Oil Change, a story of a couple who does not depend on the finer things in life to live and share a life together.  However, as they begin to get to know deeper levels of each other, it is now a questionable relationship.   Will it work out?  This film stars Pat Healy, Michelle Lawrence, Corey Brill and Zeenath Shareef.

Oil Change

Oil Change

Oil Change

S/T was a very, very short film, lasting only one minute.  Director Lisandro Alonso made an owl the star of this film.  This short was very interesting and short, however it kept the attention of the viewer through the sound of intense music and the sight of an owl that is sitting in one spot and blinking.

Send Me To The ‘Lectric Chair is directed by Guy Maddin and Isabella RosselliniMaddin straps his muse Rossellini to an electric chair, plunging the viewer into a feverish world of death wishes and heroic acts.

Short Term 12 was one of the longer shorts of the program and one of the best.  It was very well put together.  The director, Destin Daniel Cretton, shows the lives of many characters that are living and working in a residential facility for at-risk teens.  This film stars Brad William Henke, Tania Verafield, Lakeith Stanfield, Phoenix Henke, Adam Shapiro, Katelin Chesna Henke and James Hansen.  This film makes you think about the way people react and how different situations affect their lives. 

Short Term 12

Brad William Henke plays the character of Denim, the supervisor of the facility.  Through the struggles of the kids, Denim realizes that his life is not perfect either.  The make-up in the film was mastered by Make-Up Artist Jennifer Kwon.  It was very realistic and the acting was nothing short of wonderful.  Short Term 12 was a winner of the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as well as many other awards.

Short Term 12

The Citizens/Lead/The Simple Antennae is a trio of films directed by Kevin Jerome Everson.  It shows the experiences of African-Americans’ in America.  The Citizens features a young Muhammad Ali.  Lead and The Simple Antennae compliment the trio well to make it complete.

Overall, AFI did a great job in presenting the Shorts Program.  There are always going to be films that are seen differently from the viewer on the sense of liking or disliking it.  However, it is the creativity of the director and the success of completion that makes films enjoyable to watch.

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