Shorts, Shorts & Shorts Day 6 FFF 2011


The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Mrs. LanceAround joins Number One Son and I for an evening of shorts. Tonight we’re going to the Winter Park Theatre to watch Shorts Program #1: “Down and Out” which ends at 6:25, then race over to the Enzian for the 6:30 showing of Animated Shorts.

This was a good night. We really enjoyed all the shorts we saw. That’s pretty unusual. Here’s a brief review of the first set of shorts:

Sexting – Clever concept, but the execution didn’t work for me. Don’t understand why they chose to shoot in B&w, for example.

The Good Neighbor – Humorous yarn about an overly helpful neighbor and a precocious pet. I don’t think the pet–or the neighborly relationship–stands a chance.

Pillow – The filmmakers enjoyed using excellent, creative filming techniques in support of this weak, non-sensical story.

This One Was a Lot of Fun – Creative film technique with strong, snappy, witty story. This one was a lot of fun. Good flick and just a little too long.

Hello Caller – Loads of fun–great script, well acted. This was a joy to watch from beginning to end.

The Hunter And The Swan Discuss Their First Meeting – Well scripted and well acted fantasy. Quite enjoyable.

Filmmakers Q&A

After The Denim – Thoughtful, well acted drama about being young and getting old. Just slightly too long, but very touching.

After the movies, the filmmakers for Pillow and After The Denim came up for some Q & A. Gregory D. Goyins directed After The Denim. During the Q&A, he mentioned that this was his first film. I raised my hand and pointed out that most first time directors of shorts are obviously young students, often completing a film project for school. I asked him about the path that brought him here, since he obviously did not fit that criteria.

He spoke about being a stock broker for 10 years before returning to his passion–theatre. He applied at many film schools, but despite have a 3.9GPA and having won awards for his work, only Columbia and Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange CA accepted him. Columbia was not offering enough money, so Gregory went to Chapman.

Afterwards, I pulled him aside and asked him point blank if he felt he was discriminated against because of his age. He was gracious and simply pointed out that with his GPA and awards, he couldn’t understand why he was not accepted.

I asked the two filmmakers for Pillow about the vagueness of their script. Was I missing something or was there a lot that was simply left unexplained? They said that they did not have any explanations for various plot points–confirming my suspicions about the weaknesses in their movie. As I’ve said before, filmmaking is, first and foremost, a medium for telling stories. The technical aspects are important–and a lot of fun–but if you don’t have a compelling story, technique alone won’t get you very far.

We rush out of the theatre and get to The Enzian just as they’re closing the doors for the animated shorts. The place is packed!  The three of us have to sit away from each other at three different tables. For the first time in history, we actually get bad food service at the Enzian as no waitstaff comes to take our food order at any of the tables we’re at. Since we rushed from work to the movies and haven’t had any dinner, this was quite an annoyance.

Fortunately, these films are even better than the last group of shorts. This is a great year for shorts. Every short program we’ve seen has been better than the one before. Here’s a very brief synopsis:

Guard Dog Global Jam – What a concept! A popular, Oscar winning short film animator calls on animators across the world to recreate scenes from one of his most popular works–in their style. He then puts it all together to create a new Guard Dog movie. It’s like a play within a play.

The Deep – Already saw and reviewed this short which played before the Opening night movie, Project Nim.

Something Left, Something Taken – Death and mayhem with a potential serial killer in San Francisco. Well paced, well acted, superb directing. This one was really good. It was Number One Son’s favorite short of the night.

The Birds Upstairs – Skeleton birds conceive an unexpected child. What’s a respectable skeleton to do?

Accumulonimbus – A kaleidoscope of a claymation cloud with fascinating shapes and sounds.

A Real Tearjerker

Danny & Annie – Very sad, true tale of a terminal illness and the redemption of love. Actual interview from a PBS radio broadcast. This one had many people in the theatre crying their eyes out–including Mrs. LanceAround who identified this as her favorite short tonight.

Always, Only, Ever – Sad tale of lonely heart creatures of some kind.

The Wonder Hospital – You know those mirrors they have in fun houses that distort your body shape–what if your whole world were like living in one of those?

Tales Of Mere Existence –  Lev Yilmaz brings a couple of these dittys to every FFF and they never disappoint. This year was no exception.

Fred – Great voice characterizations backstage at a seedy theatre.

Nosy Bear – Short, maybe kind of cute and uneventful.

Bottle – Sandman, Snowwoman send messages in a bottle. Could this be true love? Destiny? Almost…

The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore – The title really captures the essence of what this fabulous short film is about. Don’t get it? Neither did I until I saw the film. And I’m glad I did!

I would love to have stuck around the theatre and interviewed some patrons to get their perspectives, but the lack of service means that the LanceAround family is feeling hungry. So we stop by Whole Foods Market on the way home and buy some prepared food to share with Number One Daughter, who had to stay home and get some homework completed.

All in all, a wonderful night of film at the Florida Film Festival 2011!

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