The Golden Star Shorts Fest - A Night of Three Winning Shorts


'Our mission is to help the filmmakers.", says Serge Polakoff, president of Very Short Movies, at ML in Hollywood, last Wednesday night. Serge and Very Short Movies, hosted screenings of three winning short films, Cruel Logic, Day of the Grackle, and That Night. All in which were different in genres and differed from each other.

The first short, titled, Cruel Logic, is about a university professor of sociobiology, that is captured by a brilliant serial killer, who debates with the professor about his own theory of the biological origins of crime. If the professor wins the debate he will be let go. If he does not, well I think you know what happens. Tony Hale, who stars in the television show, Arrested Development, plays the not so calm professor, along side Robert Pierce, known only as the serial killer who debates with the professor. This eight minute long short, had great lighting, which gave an eerie feeling like I was right there in the dungeon with the killer and his victimThe only thing is that I wish there was more of a debate. But, for the length of time of the film, overall, director and writer, Brian Godawa, did an excellent job in proving that the killer definitely has full control.

Festival Founder Serge Polakoff with filmmaker Brian Godawa of the short Cruel Logic

The second short, The Day of the Grackle, is a comedy about a large bird known only as the Grackle, which torments a man's life. The man, played by Michael Butler Murray, is pushed by his wife to find out whom or what has eaten her cherry pies that she has made. When he finds out that it is a bird that has eaten the pies, it is already too late for the man.The bird takes vengeance on the manfor throwing its nest away, by swarming fiercely around disrupting the mans life. The man then concocts a lethal dose of house hold chemicals in his wife's cherry pie to kill the bird. But the bird is not affected by the man's devious plan. Both of their actions escalate into full on war, changing the man's life forever. This fifteen minute short directed by Michael Berry, made me laugh until it hurt. What was so great about this film was that there wasn't any dialogue, just mumbling from each of the characters. Producer Rod Webber said, 'There is a bird in everyone in this story.' 'The man being the mud hen, the nurse, who is the man's love interest, a nightingale, the wife, a chicken due to the cackling noises she made, and of course the Grackle being, well, the Grackle. The end of this short reveals the death of the wife and the Grackle, almost like killing two birds with one stone. For more information on this short, visit

Filmmakers Michael Butler Murray and Rod Weber discuss their comedy short Day of the Grackle

The third and final short of the evening, was the twenty-nine minute, Steven Gordon drama, That Night, about two lovers, who meet at a Brooklyn loft party and disappear off into the night to explore each other. That Night tells the story of Thomas and Annie, a struggling photographer and aspiring writer, and how they first meet.  The film also tells us all that every night can be filled with the promise of the unknown. This short, which was shot in Brooklyn and was the only film of the night that was filmed on 35 mm film, had excellent color, great cinematography, and a soundtrack that had me tapping my fingers to the beat. What was so great about the lighting was when they were at the party, they used an excessive amount of bright colors, and when they were together at home, the light seemed to be very warm, which was inviting. Steve Gordon did an excellent job on this film, which he has a script for a feature of the same story. This visually engaging film, gave hope to falling in love at first sight.

The Event Divison's Brandi with Very Short Movies founder Serge Polakoff

Each quarter, filmmakers submit films that are reviewed by a screening committee. The winners from the quarterly competitions become finalists to be screened in the annual film festival, competing for the prestigious Golden Star Award. The main event will take place March first through the fourth, next year, at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, where they will feature the very best in short films. The event offers a mix of competitive programs, retrospectives, and galas while aiming to showcase the special art of making short films. For more information, visit

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