Sam, a refuse collector, decides in an apparent existential crisis that his job is beneath him. After being cursed by a raccoon, he finds himself rendered, quite literally, a garbage man. A brilliantly scripted and acted comic short, perhaps also a cautionary tale about complaining.
In the words of the director himself “I’d rather let the audience make up their own minds as to what a story is about. But… depression. It’s about depression. Probably. I don’t know. Maybe it’s about raccoons. They’re kind of dicks. I just know that, however silly this movie might seem, it’s very close to my heart. I grew up idolizing the garbage man. I wanted to ride the back of the truck, and heave around smelly things, and be adored by kids like myself. So far my life’s gone in a different direction, but I wanted to pay tribute in a small way to the people that keep our lives running and don’t get nearly enough credit. Many people, myself often included, feel trapped by the circumstances of their lives. The impulse behind telling this weird little story is to see what happens when you take the accumulated mental garbage that threatens to bury us all, and make it literal. ”
Directed by Alan Miller
Written by David Haskell and Alan Miller
Starring Kalvin Olafson, Daniel Jacobsen and Luke Roessler
Written and directed by Samuel Supple
The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 saw millions of young British men (over 8 million in total) fight what proved to be a very bloody war. The troops left the UK via the coastal town of Folkestone in Kent. This documentary, made a century later, explores some of the themes of WWI with a group of young people taking part in reconstructions and method acting workshops.
Scenes recreated include the execution of a solider by firing squad for desertion and a tearful mother saying a final goodbye to her son at a train station as an officer reassures her. The method workshops recreate the ‘white feather’ shaming whereby young women pinned white feathers onto men who were not enlisted to fight, labeling them as cowards.
Time Bleeds is all the more poignant when we reflect that several of the actors in the workshops and dramatic reconstructions are no younger than millions of young men who died barely into adulthood. With some fitting quotes from war poet Wilfred Owen, Time Bleeds is an imaginative piece of film-making that brings the past alive. Looking back today, it serves to remind us not only of some of the prevailing attitudes of the time, but of the enormous sacrifice made by a generation, the huge loss of life, and the pain suffered by their loved ones.
Created by Chris Lavis & Maciek Szczerbowski (Clyde Henry Productions).
Madame Tutli-Putli is a 17-minute stop-motion animated short film about a woman taking a train journey. We don’t know where she’s going or why, but she has a fantastical and often terrifying ride, encountering all types of outlandish and menacing characters along the way. The film has a truly hallucinatory quality. We don’t know whether to take Madame Tutli-Putli’s experiences as real or a product of her feverish mind, perhaps her darkest nightmares. Even the train seems to be from another world, a steampunk mass of hurtling metal with a propeller on the front. Surreal and dark visions punctuate the whole journey – chess-playing stowaways, mud-covered monsters intent on robbing everyone, people hanging limply from the electrical cables overhead.
This film took four years to make, showing what dedication, hard work and patience can achieve. The film uses ground-breaking techniques to add realism to the characters. Madame Tutli-Putli’s eyes look so expressive and human because they are – footage of human eyes was merged onto the stop-motion puppet and the effect is astounding. This film is an incredible experience, a hugely immersive visual treat, and a magnificent accomplishment.
Written by Geoff Thompson
Directed by Michael Baig Clifford
Produced by Natasha Carlish
Brown Paper Bag follows Reggie, an alcoholic man who, despite attending an alcoholics’ support group, is in denial. While the other members of the group bare their souls, he refuses to admit he has a problem. “I’ve earned a drink”, is his justification to himself. A working man, he feels his habit amounts to little more than a well-deserved outlet to unwind.
We finally learn that behind his drinking is the legacy of his painful childhood, a childhood as dysfunctional as his present relationship with a woman who seems to have a bigger booze problem than he does, coupled with a violent, jealous temper. It’s a toxic combination, and in one particularly horrific scene, we see the havoc and long-lasting consequences of fuelling these psychological issues with alcohol.
This BAFTA winning film was written by Geoff Thompson, martial artist turned bouncer turned writer. It is based on a subject close to his heart – his own brother’s struggle with alcohol abuse.
Geoff Thompson’s other writing and film projects can be read about here: http://www.geoffthompsonwriter.com/
Written and directed by Peter Szewczyk
In association with BBC Film Network and BBC HD
Produced by Light + Mathematics
ColourBleed is set in Krakow, Poland, but the dialogue is in English. A young girl, a graffiti artist, tries to bring colour into the ineffably monochrome world around her. Even the way she dresses reflects this – her colourful, alternative style seems to be an act of personal rebellion against the greyness and uniformity of the bleak-looking cityscape. She encounters two opposite entities – a brightly coloured hummingbird, and an elderly woman, a bureaucrat gifted with the sinister power to quite literally drain the colour from people.
The film is beautifully shot with state-of-the-art CGI. Powerful metaphors are brought to life before our eyes. The conflict and contrast is essentially between two opposing forces – the hummingbird, a force for creativity, freedom of expression and spirit – and the malevolent official, who represents everything that is antithetical to art – bureaucracy, repression and control.
ColourBleed won Special Jury Prize at the Sitges International Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Fantasporto Film Festival, and Best International Short at the Hollyshorts Film Festival.
Created by animator Joaquin Baldwin
Music by Nick Fevola
Sebastien’s Voodoo is the brief tale of one courageous voodoo doll in a collection, who decides to save his other imprisoned friends from the gruesome fate which awaits them at the hands of their (human?) tormentor. A dark, dark story with a bright ending, this superbly executed animation has it all; a great story, tension, a protagonist we root for. One look at the overwhelming list of screenings and awards Sebastian’s Voodoo got shows the film, unsurprisingly, made a big impression on judging panels and viewers across the world. It was created at the UCLA Animation Workshop
Joaquin Baldwin was born in Paraguay but now lives in Los Angeles, California and works for the Walt Disney studios.
More of Joaquin’s work can be seen here: http://www.pixelnitrate.com.
Written and directed by Aćim Vasić
Produced by Turbulence Films
Starring Nicky Naudé, Guillaume Tavi
Music by Stribor Kusturica
8 is an award-winning short film by Serbian director Aćim Vasić, centered around two soliders in a setting resembling something like a Siberian forest. One is a downed pilot, the other a soldier from the opposing side who takes the stricken pilot captive. The story follows the two men in what ultimately becomes a game of wits, and a guessing game for the audience. Although the subject matter appears anything but light-hearted, and the film certainly has a brutal gravity to it, it isn’t without humour. Produced by Swiss production company Turbulence Films, 8 won best short at the 2010 Monfilmfest in Italy, and has screened at many film festivals and received many nominations.
Directed by Jonas Cuaron
Aningaaq is a short film directed by Jonas Cuaron, son of Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron (father and son co-wrote the Gravity screenplay). Filmed on a budget of $100,000, Aningaaq is set in a Greenland fjord.
Aningaaq was originally intended as a spinoff and extra for the Blu-ray DVD of Gravity. It shows us the other end of a radio communication from a scene in Gravity – Sandra Bullock’s character Doctor Ryan Stone calling for help from her stricken capsule in space. However, the film is thriving in its own right, has done very well on the short film festival circuit and may soon be up for an Oscar nomination.
Leading actor Sandra Bullock described Aningaaq as an “absolutely beautiful piece of loneliness. … I get goose bumps thinking about it.”
A very short film about a man chasing an unidentified pest through his apartment, the plotline of Doodlebug strongly recalls Kafka.
Doodlebug is a fine example of an early, experimental piece of work by now-famous London-born director Christopher Nolan, writer and director of hit Hollywood films Memento (2000) Batman Begins (2005) The Prestige (2006) and most recently and famously, Dark Knight (2008) which took more than a billion dollars at the box office.
The twist to this surreal, black-and-white short is thought-provoking, dark and even comic at the same time.
Directed by Mark Albiston & Louis Sutherland
Written by Louis Sutherland
Produced by Wendy Cuthbert