FFF Day 8 Lev Yilmaz and Bill Plympton Get Stranded

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#1 Daughter and BFF Bryana giggle like groupies with Lev

5:00pm International Shorts
We arrive at Regal Cinema a few minutes before the International Shorts. Number One Daughter has brought Best Friend Bryana to enjoy the movies tonight. I can only hope that the films are not too inappropriate. Mrs. LanceAround is also with us. It should be a fun evening.

We take a few minutes to check in with some of the movie goers inside the theatre.

“I like shorts. I enjoy them. Sometimes they’re really good, but if they’re bad, they’re going to end soon. You’re not committing to them for two hours,” says Beth from Palm Coast. “Another reason I’m here, is that there’s no art theatre where I’m from.”

“I’m enjoying the films. I just saw “Mid August Lunch” and “Bomber,” says Shelia Mollica, “I thought they were both excellent. They weren’t anything like the trite films that Hollywood puts out with their mass marketing. Those appeal to people who aren’t looking for any complexity, diverse situations, uniqueness or creativity.”

The lights dim and the films begin.

“Modern Life is Rubbish” is an intelligent, well written and well acted dialogue of a break up because of irreconcilable music differences, among other things.

“The Armoire” is a weird, psychological thriller with non-sensical plot twists. Amusing to watch but the pacing was clumsy and the ending confusing.

“Notes on the Other” is a thought provoking story of Ernest Hemingway, his doubles and his obsession with the running of the bulls.

“Can We Talk?” Breaking up is hard enough, but what do you do when the instigator suddenly decides there is an urge for more sex. Clever dialogue and great acting make this whimsical short very funny.

“Glottal Opera” When you hear a beautiful song, do you ever wonder how the lovely melody is physically created? Watch this short and you’ll know–probably more than you want to know.

“Runners” is a seedy tale of the underside of drug runners in Australia. Gritty and short.

“How I Met Your Father” shows sex and sexual dysfunction in graphic details. How did these two ever stay together? Mrs. LanceAround escorts Number One Daughter and Best Friend Bryana out of the theatre during this one.

“Seeds of the Fall” Crazy accidents and a lopsided house lead to a need for quadriplegic husband to seek a deal for a surrogate. But will his wife allow it?

After the shorts, we interviewed movie goers as they left the theatre.

“I usually like the international shorts better than that. Usually, this is one of my favorite groups of shorts, These weren’t my favorite. One was particularly offensive,” said an anonymous filmgoer. She is about to leave, but feels a need to return to let us know that she has loved every other movie that she has seen and this was the only bad one this year.

“We enjoyed it,” said an older couple.

“The Armoire” and “Can we Talk” were hilarious, says Diane.

“It was very random, very interesting interpretation,” remarks Jonathan Jastremsky.

7:00pm Animated Shorts
It’s not long before the theatre fills up for the animated shorts. It’s a nice size crowd and the lights soon dim.

“Cartoon Show” is Hollywood carfunkle, cartoon style. Know what “carfunkle” means? Neither do I.

“Pigeon Impossible” has a pigeon loose in a 007 briefcase. The world may not survive. But will the pigeon?

“Divers” shows a diver jumping off he board and into an aerial acrobatic show of Berkeley proportions.

2 time Academy Award Nominee Bill Plympton

“The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger” Apparently advertising works on calves as well as it does on kids.

“#circlepic is a psychedelic flash of many round things and claims to be the first collaborative twitter film.

“The Incident at Tower 37” has a large tank of water that poses a real threat. Hmm, sounds fishy to me.

“The Mouse that Soared” is the tender tale of a young orphan rescued and raised by parents of a different, uh, species; your typical mouse/bird story.

“Lightheaded” has wax figures from the top of a candle searching for the means of escape and, perhaps, existence.

“The Machine” seems to ask the question that if man invented the machine, who invented man? And could it have been a machine?

“Tales of Mere Existence: ‘God’ and ‘My Darling?’” You do not want to miss these! (’nuff said)

“The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9” Scary monster, can you come out and play? Of Mice and Men on a different planet.

“Gretel & Hanzel” Sorry, I didn’t get this one at all. Too bad it came from Number Two Son’s college–I’ve seen much better from there.

“Believe Me” is pretentious and boring. Don’t waste your time on this one.

“Down to the Bone” this one is inside out and that’s what makes it so fun.

“N.A.S.A A Volta” won the Grand Prix at Holland Animation Film and was selected for Sundance. Once you see it, you’ll just ask, “why?” As horrible as “Believe Me” but, mercifully, much shorter.

“Alma” shows a doll house going rogue.

This year’s animated shorts had 16 films that ranged from excellent to god awful. With the exception of “Believe Me” most were very short and had lots of moments to enjoy. There were even a few good laughs. As has been the case in the past, “Tales of Mere Existence” topped them all. Ironic because it is the least technological of all of them. It just goes to show, an intelligent story tops special effects every time.

Bill and Lev Get Stranded
Afterwards, several of the filmmakers did a Q & A

Animated Filmmakers

“Tales of Mere Existence” filmaker, Lev Yilmaz, says, “I’ve been doing this for quite a few years. I put out maybe one episode a month. It’s about whatever’s on my mind. It’s very popular on You Tube.”

Bill Plympton, a FFF favorite and the creator of the artwork that adorns the walls at the Eden Bar did “The Cow Who Wanted to be a Hamburger.” He told the audience, “I got the idea from watching cows eating grass to fatten themselves up. I didn’t use sound effects, I gave each animal a different instrument, just like ‘Peter and the Wolf‘.” He uses a sharpie and is offering a free cow drawing to everyone who is in the audience tonight. “The most powerful message in the world is a mom’s love for her baby,” he continues, “and that’s what this film is all about. The film took three months to make.”

Christopher Burns, creator of “Cartoon Show,” says, “We use Flash MX, we just do frame by frame and edit with FinalCut.”

Byran Brinkman of “#Circlepic” tells us, “Everything was submitted to me on twitter. People took pictures of circles and submitted it to me. It took a few days to get all the images. It took a week or two to put it all together.”

At the end of the Q & A, Bill Pympton and Lev Yilmaz have a table set up outside the theatre and they are selling DVDs. A long line forms.

Lev tells me about the life of a shorts animator. He says he needs to have two sides–the creative, writing side and the business, analytical side. “Isn’t that what managers are for?,” I ask. He says management doesn’t work for him. They take a 10% commission, so they will only focus on the biggest money makers–not the art. When he first started posting on You Tube, he resisted doing the ads. He didn’t want anything to take away from his art. Now he’s up to 15 million hits. He has started using ads which “bring in a little money.”

I ask him if he did stage acting, because he has a very projecting voice. He relates to me the story of how he once filmed himself doing a presentation, played it back, and was appalled at all the “ums” and “uhs.” He had four hours before his presentation and he didn’t know what to do. So he made a conscious decision to mimic the Adam West as “Batman” style of forceful, machine gun-like delivery and that’s been with him ever since.

We purchase a book and two DVD’s from Lev to give to Number One Son, who couldn’t make it to the shorts tonight. Then, Bill Plympton comes over and says he can’t find their ride back to the hotel. I offer to give them a ride and they are grateful. Number One Daughter and Best Friend Bryana want to tag along, so we all hop in the LanceAroundMobile.

Number One Daughter is giggling and acting like a groupie. Lev wants to repay us for the ride to the hotel, so Number One Daughter asks him to do a sketch for Number One Son. We are driving over a brick road, which makes sketching challenging. Daughter finds a photo of Number One Son on my cell phone and Lev does a brief sketch of himself saying hi to Number One Son. Number One Daughter is ecstatic.

12:00am The Worst Movie at the FFF

Rambunctious Crowd at "Troll 2"

The worst movie ever filmed is playing at the downtown Cinema Plaza Café. We meet Number One Son who has driven up for this fiasco.

I don’t mean that this is the worst FFF movie. I mean that this is the number one worst movie of all time. That’s right, made in the 80’s, this movie ranks lower on Rotten Tomatoes than “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” It was the subject of one of this year’s hit documentary, “Best Worst Movie.”

We arrive at the Plaza Theatre and are disappointed to discover that the theatre is not very full. Some of the FFF staff are there and we lament the poor turnout. Everyone expected this to be bigger. I was afraid the show would be sold out.

The movie is “Troll 2.” How bad is it? Well, for starters, it is not a sequel. There has never been a movie, “Troll” and the movie does not have a single troll in it. The most famous line in the entire movie is, “You don’t piss on hospitality, I won’t stand for it!” Yeah, it is that bad.

"Troll 2" Movie Goer

The moviegoers who are there are a rambunctious bunch who put as much fun into it as possible. They attempt to establish a “Rocky Horror” atmosphere as well as an MST3K responsiveness. Mostly, however, they just keep shouting “Joshua” (the name of the lead kid character), singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and asking the lead female to dance.

It lives up to its hype as a really bad movie. Ed Wood would have been proud to have been a part of it. It plays again at 11:30pm on Saturday at the Regal Theater, so check it out. Some of the audience even dressed up in leaves and tree parts. That’s because…Oh, don’t bother…it really is that bad.

It’s hard to believe there’s only two days left in the FFF. Be sure to catch a film, or two or even three. It’ll be another year before there’s this much independent films in Central Florida.

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