Archive for April, 2012

More Shorts – Retrospective FFF 2012

April 24, 2012

Tune for Two

I got so overwhelmed during some of the features; I missed telling you about some of my favorite shorts.

Fresh Guacamole
(Click link to watch this short)
I’m normally not a big fan of animation, but this short was one of my favorites. It’s a film about making fresh guacamole from the most unusual items. Very creative and well put together, I’d give it an A.

Turning a Corner
This is another animated short about overcoming one of life’s challenges. It had a few funny parts, but overall didn’t hold my attention. It gets a D from me.

Shinya Kimura
I think this short focused on the art of homemade motorcycles; however, it was really just in the background. At the end of the film I was left feeling incomplete, so it gets a D as well. 

Things You’d Better Not Mix Up
The title pretty much says it all. This animated short proved me wrong yet again. It keeps you constantly laughing and takes away a B+.

Tune for Two
(Click link to watch this short)
A great film about an unexpected turn of events that leaves a man wishing for his life and a catchy tune stuck in your head. This is the gem of shorts and gets an A+ from me! The end will knock you off your socks.

Machines of the Working Class
This sci-fi short is about two middle class robots figuring out ways to be impressive. It was short, had some funny points. Not the worst, not the best, C+.

Jim & Frank
Everyone seemed to like this film but it didn’t really capture my attention. The acting wasn’t so great but I loved the edits. NumberOneEmber even got to interview the director, Tony Borden, who was extremely nice and polite. Good overall objective, but I still give it a C.

Another Dress, Another Button
Don’t you ever wonder what happens to all your spare buttons? Well, look no more. This short was super cute and extremely creative and deserves a B+.

Did you have a favorite short from the FFF? Please leave a comment and join the conversation!

Barry Levinson Day 9 – FFF 2012

April 22, 2012

An Afternoon with Barry Levinson

Liberty Heights
In 1982 the Academy Award for best picture went to Chariots of Fire. For me, an even better film was Warren Beatty’s epic, Reds, for which he won best director. Fonda and Hepburn were fabulous in On Golden Pond and both got a well deserved Oscar.

But my favorite film that year was a little slice of life from an unknown writer/director named Barry Levinson. The film was entitled Diner.

It’s been 30 years and I’ve always wondered–the movie was so personal, so true to life, but it was too well constructed to be entirely factually accurate. So I ask Barry, “What about that movie was true and accurate, actually happened, and what was made up? More specifically, did you ever know someone who gave a quiz to his fiance about the Baltimore Colts in order to allow her to marry him?”

“That was my cousin Eddie,” says Barry. “He’s the one who wanted to be Hitler for Halloween in the movie you just saw, Liberty Heights.”

The audience laughs, claps and cheers.

“Did she pass the quiz?,” I shout out. “Yea, she did. But later, after he saw Diner, he told me he now realizes that it was stupid to give her that quiz. I thought that seeing the movie made him realize how silly it was. But he said, ‘a few months later, she had forgotten everything she had memorized about the Baltimore Colts for the quiz’.”

Barry Has Everyone's Attention

Barry continues for almost an hour.  He said that while other filmmakers focus on the larger stuff, he prefers to focus on the minutiae. It’s the small, personal interactions he finds most compelling. Like the scene in Diner where one character wants his friend’s roast beef sandwich. But he’s incapable of outright asking for it. So he asks his friend if he doesn’t want it. This leads to several minutes of dialogue where the friend who has the sandwich tries to get the other friend to just ask for the sandwich. Finally, as they continue to argue, a third friend reaches over and just takes the sandwich.

Barry was told by another filmmaker that he needed to cut the part about the roast beef and just get to the point of the scene. “But the roast beef is the point,” he retorts. In other words, nine years before Seinfeld made it fashionable, Barry was already perfecting the art of creating theatre from “nothing.”

Barry goes on to say that his inspiration for a lot of his writing came from the movie, Marty. He says he doesn’t remember anything about that movie, except the scene when the two friends continually repeat to one another, “What do you want to do tonight?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” “I don’t know.” Those are the moments Barry finds most real and most telling about a character. And his movies are filled with them.

As for tonight’s movie, Liberty Heights, NumberOneSon and I agree it’s a hidden gem–and quite hilarious. When someone asked Barry why he thought this movie was not as well known as his other films about life in Baltimore in the 50s, he said he thought it was just the unfortunate reality of getting caught in the middle of a studio head change. His film was practically finished, a new studio chief came in and, naturally, the new guy wanted to tout his own projects and not the projects of the guy he just replaced.

The story revolves around several teenage Jewish friends growing up in a predominately Jewish suburb of Baltimore. One parent runs an illegal numbers racket. One of the characters becomes friends with a newly segregated black girl. Another falls in love with a girl at a costume party, only to discover her boyfriend might have something to say about that.

The movie deals with the themes of anti-Semitism, racial divide, morality and religion. But these weighty themes are mere backdrops for the thing Barry considers the most important–the everyday, routine interactions we have with those around us; those moments of “nothing” that make up the better part of our daily interactions. Liberty Heights is filled with them.

There’s the character who will not leave the car when Sinatra is playing on the radio. It’s disrespectful. There’s the Jewish character who decides to dress as Hitler for Halloween and his parents who absolutely won’t allow him to leave the house. There are family meals, the annual purchase of the latest model Cadillac, and, of course, lots of focus on girls.

Each scene provides fresh dialogue, great characters and an immersion back into the world of 1954. They’re still doing bomb drills at school. The local swimming hole does not allow Jews, Dogs or Blacks–in that order. And there’s a lengthy conversation about how the order was established and whether or not it’s best to be at the front or back of that list.

Barry tells about the time he and some friends went to a James Brown concert in Washington. They got there late and were excited to find that there were still seats. It was only after they hurried into the theatre and sat down that they realized they were the only white people in the entire theatre. Part of that made it into the movie.

If you’ve never seen Liberty Heights, be sure to rent it. There’s no glamorous shots of huge vistas or eye popping cinematography, so you can enjoy it on your home TV.

More importantly, if you ever get a chance to meet Barry Levinson or see him live, don’t miss it. You will love him just as you’ll love his films.

Oh, and if you don’t know about Barry’s other films, you also might want to check out Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam, The Natural, Wag the Dog, Bugsy, Avalon, Sleepers…and many more!

NumberOneSon adds:
I wasn’t expecting much from this movie because I wasn’t crazy about Diner (sorry Dad!) but LibertyHeights is very funny and charming. I love a good autobiographical slice-of-life story. This one’s about the warm-and-fuzzy side of desegregation – people from different worlds tentatively connecting with one another.

The movie was projected on film, unless I’m mistaken, and it looked great. Although, sorry to be a snob, but a little bit of the picture was off-screen. Also, the right side of the picture was a little out of focus. I expect better from one of my favorite theaters! But in any case the print was pristine. (One time we saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Enzian and the print was so beat-up that I’d rather have watched the movie at home on DVD.)

First Position – Day 9 FFF 2012

April 21, 2012


Gina and Zoe Love to Dance

First Position
Documentaries about competitions have fallen into a routine, formulaic model. They start off with an “introduction” of all the principles, then you see a few scenes during the “preparation” phase. Finally there’s the actual competition.

First Position follows this formula to a T. The filming and editing are well done and you do grow attached to the characters. So, from that standpoint, the film works. Certainly the audience who saw the film had lots of positive reactions to it.

Dancers Await Their Fate

For me, I thought it was a good film, but I’m getting pretty tired of the formula. Time for something new. I was really disappointed that the filmmaker did not choose to show complete dance sequences. Just as I was getting into a particular dance, there’d be a sharp cut to someone’s expression or a close up of the dancer’s feet. It really took me out of the movie.

Afterwards, I ran into two young dancers and their parents, all of whom were enthusiastic about the film.

Gina found out about the film just this afternoon. “We know some of the people who are in it,” she says excitedly: “Gabriel Maxwell, Orlando Melina, Olivia Munoz. Two of them are teachers, the other is a student. They competed and Gabriel, from Switzerland, got a scholarship.”

“It was awesome,” said Zoe Grecho. (Zoe’s mom leans over to me and whispers, “They live for dancing!”)

Gina tells me more, “I cried at some points. Overall I was glad my mom isn’t that strict-that hard on me.”

Zoe was focused on the dancing, “Some of the variations gave me chills. It made me very happy that they won-what they got.”

“Why dance?,” I inquire.

“It’s an amazing sport. You get to move and express yourself. You don’t have to speak. You get to show yourself in your body,” says Zoe.

Gina says, “My mother’s side of the family are dancers, but I CHOOSE to do dance–as well as music and acting. It’s mainly to get a chance to perform. I love performing for people and making people feel what I’m feeling.” I ask, “What are you feeling?” “It depends on what I’m performing. I don’t really have a favorite. I just love it.”

“Any last thoughts?” Zoe–“You should really see this, it’s amazing, It shows you how hard dancers work and what we do.”

Gina concludes, “It’s amazing and it really represents the community of dancers.”

I wish I had thought to ask them how old they are. For young ladies, they demonstrated a great deal of insight and maturity.

Cloris Leachman Uncovered – Day 8 FFF 2012

April 21, 2012

Cloris Enjoys Popcorn While Watching The Last Picture Show at the Enzian

“It was kind of a porn picture, if you think about it,” says Cloris Leachman, referring to The Last Picture Show which NumberOneSon and I just watched with her and a room full of FFF faithful. This was the movie where she won the Oscar (which goes along with her eight Emmys–the most of any actor.)

The audience howls with laughter. The interviewer points out that people didn’t take their clothes off in the 1950s, when the movie takes place.

“Oh yes they did, I was there!” proclaims Cloris.

Now the audience is clapping, cheering and rolling in the aisle.

And this was just the opening salvo. Cloris goes on to talk about working with Mel Brooks, Mary Tyler Moore, being on Dancing with the Stars and answering questions from the audience. At one point she flashes both her middle fingers at the audience, at another point she talks about getting the part on Dancing with the Stars by insisting that everyone curse.

Of course, Cloris was sitting right in front of me while we were watching the movie. (Seriously, does this stuff only happen to LanceAround?) Before the lights dimmed, I asked her if I could take her picture for my blog. She said yes, then began to eat from the popcorn container in front of her. After her presentation, I showed the picture to the guy who claims to be her son-in-law. (When asked about that, Cloris called him a liar.) I told him that it was a great shot of her eating popcorn. “She loves to do that kind of thing,” her (would be?) son-in-law responded.

An audience member asks, “Do you have any advice for young actors?”

“Don’t get pregnant!” comes the immediate response; forget that the person asking the question is male.

Another audience member goes to ask a question. “Stand Up,” Cloris insists. Twice. The member begins her question. “Say your name,” Cloris interrupts. “Annie,” replies the questioner. “Annie what?” retorts Cloris. The questioner gives a long, three part name. “That’s by marriage, no, I guess divorce,” explains the woman. “What?!,” says Cloris. “I told you it was just ‘Annie’,” replies the woman.

I so love listening to the stories Cloris is telling, so I have to get involved. I don’t have a good question to ask, so I make up a pretty benign one–just so I can interact with her.

“I’m Lance,” I begin. “Larry?” she asks. “No, Lance.” “Like this?” she asks as she slashes her hands through the air like she is striking with a sword. “Yes,” I respond enthusiastically, “Lance, as in the sword. I’m from”

I continue, “Can you tell us about a moment in your career that you are proudest of or that is very memorable.”

I thought it was a pretty simple question but the audience grows very quiet. Cloris ponders for a few minutes. It takes a moment for something to come to mind. She then recounts two moments on the stage where she recalls having an instance where she captured the audience.

One moment was when she was doing a play and her character’s husband had a heart attack. She couldn’t get through the throng of people around him, so she grabbed someone’s hair, put some strands around her arm, and again, then grabbed all of her hair and just pulled.

The second moment was when she was in a play as the wife of a man who was Henry Fonda’s son. She began the play by walking across the stage, grabbing an ice bucket, and walking back. Her character was very depressed. After many rehearsals, she realized it was not working. It was boring to just criss-cross the stage. So, on opening night, as she walked back across the stage with the ice bucket in her hands, she used her feet to straighten the cushions on the sofa. “It’s what women do!,” she proclaimed. And she recalls how she could feel every women in the audience responding to her.

Amazingly, despite all her successes, all her big roles and all her awards, her most memorable situations were two, brief and personal moments where she could simply feel that she had touched the audience in front of her. Two moments that probably never brought her acclaim or won her an award. Just simple interactions between her and the people who came to see her perform.

The audience breaks into applause.

One thing was clear: She had our audience eating out of her hands. She is the consummate performer; very entertaining and energetic. It was a wonderful evening with Cloris Leachman.

NumberOneSon Adds:
 So it turns out Cloris Leachman is hilarious in person and The Last Picture Show is fantastic.

Fantastic and gorgeous – most of the movies at the FFF are visually bland, but not this one. That’s the trouble with the classic films that are shown at the festival every year – they show up the new movies. The Last Picture Show’s shadowy, stark black and white photography sucks you right into the movie’s dilapidated 50’s world. I’ve heard someone say that “people think that when you talk loudly people pay more attention to you – but actually when you speak softly people lean in to hear what you have to say.” And I think shadowy movies make you lean in and pay closer attention.

I’m sad that actual film is dying and being replaced with digital, because another reason this movie made me go “wow! Pretty!” is that it was one of the only films at the FFF that was shot and – unless I’m mistaken – projected on film. (I should’ve asked to be sure.)

Anyway, The Last Picture Show: totally great. I connected with it a lot more than last year’s classic film  – Amarcord.

….Yes, I know. I’m sorry. Amarcord is a classic and I should like it. Look into my puppy dog eyes and forgive me! Amarcord’s characters were caricatures though. I connected with the people of The Last Picture Show much more than the people of that other meandering semi-autobiographical sex-filled movie.

Speaking of sex, The Last Picture Show was shot in the early 70s but it’s set in the 50s and it’s shot in black and white so it’s kind of a shock the first time (of many) someone peels off their clothes. During the Q & A the moderator told Cloris Leachman that people were shocked by the movie because they thought that in the 50’s, no one took off their…wait…did dad tell this story already?…Darn. Would’ve been the perfect way to end the article too.

LanceAround Adds:
NumberOneSon and I take a few minutes to jot down some notes before we leave the theatre to head home. As we exit the Enzian, we notice a huge crowd gathered around the outdoor Eden Bar. We go to investigate and guess what we see?

Of course, Cloris is at the bar mixing drinks and guzzling alcohol directly from the bottles behind the bar. The crowd is laughing at her antics and she appears to be having the time of her life.

You go, Cloris, you go!

Dog Years – Day 8 FFF 2012

April 21, 2012

Warren Sroka, SunnyStefani, and Brent Willis

Since I was already at the Enzian, I decided to see the film following Think of Me, which was Dog Years. I run into LanceAround and NumberOneSon who had just come from the Filmmaker’s Forum. LanceAround jokes with 2 filmmaker’s sitting directly behind us about them convincing him to see their film. I grab a quick picture with them before the movie starts.

Dog Years is about 2 half-brothers, Elliot and Ben, living in Tokyo and struggling through all the cultural changes they face. Elliot is an emotional wreck. His dog dies, he breaks up with his girlfriend, resents his father, mourns the loss of his mother and is all alone. I like the message I got from the film which is that through thick and thin, your family will always be there for you. However, I thought the acting wasn’t the greatest, and even annoying at points. Yet the film did keep me entertained and laughing, which is always a plus. The lighting and sound were not consistent throughout the film, which makes sense once we get to the Q & A with the directors.

Turns out, the 2 guys LanceAround was speaking about were directors, writers, actors and producers Warren Sroka and Brent Willis of Dog Years. They co-wrote, co-stared, and directed the film. They meet 12 years ago at theatre school. Warren explained how the film came about. “Brent’s folks lived in Tokyo and we had 6 months to write, shot, and film before his parents moved back to the states,” he said. He went on to explain that there were only 4 people who worked on the film, which explained the inconsistency I was seeing. Warren said they did pick up a fifth crew member in Japan, Masaki Sekine, who starred and translated for them. He also pointed out that Brent’s actual mother played his fictitious mother in the movie.

Dan Addelson, one of the four crew, was in charge of editing the film. He said they had “over 40 hours of footage which took over a year to edit. We shot from the moment we got up until we went to sleep. We wanted to get as much as we could,” Dan said.

Brent said the Japanese were “sticklers when it came to rules. Sometimes we worked with them, sometimes we worked around them.” He explained they are both youngest brothers and that he finds “it’s tough to analyze your own work.”

Warren did most of the talking, as in the film, and stated “we did some improvising, other than that, we stuck to the script.” He explained “we didn’t have any money going into it.” They ended up spending just $11,000 on the shoot and $4,000 for post-production. “We broke one light bulb, an expensive one, and one microphone,” he said.

This film wasn’t my favorite, but was by far better than half the films I’ve already seen. I loved the fact they filmed in Japan. As someone who has been there previously, they did a great job depicting the beauty Japan has to offer. It also doesn’t hurt that they thanked every single person they talked to about coming to see their film and were just extremely nice people.

ThatGuyRoberto and NumberOneEmber Vs.Monty Python – Day 6 FFF 2012

April 21, 2012

[Editor’s Note: Tonight the Enzian theatre has a free showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on an outdoor screen at the grass amphitheatre right beside the Eden Bar. NumberOneEmber invites ThatGuyRoberto and NumberOneSon to watch the movie with her. Here’s her report. –LanceAround]

My first impression of the outdoor theatre set-up was that we wouldn’t be able to find a place to sit. The area in front of giant, fabric screen was overflowing with people on blankets and in chairs. Every adult seemed to have a drink in hand, kids sat at a table together talking excitedly, and several dogs ran around on the grass.

NumberOneSon, ThatGuyRoberto and I squeeze in-between two blankets and lay down, waiting for the sun to set and the movie to start. 30 minutes after the reported start time, an Enzian staff member comes and introduces the movie. After a rough start, the movie finally flips onto the giant screen. I settle into my blanket and watch one of the best comedies I know. I’ve seen the film before so I was murmuring the lines to myself when I knew them. However, it was great to see ThatGuyRoberto’s fresh reactions to the comedy. All in all, it was a rather nice night out.

The day was hot and there were a bunch of drunk people around me, but Monty Python and the Holy Grail was a good movie regardless. It had a lot of old school humour; such as a man fighting with all his limbs cut off and a bunch of rude-French people.

However, even though the movie was good, I didn’t like that I got turned down for trying to buy popcorn and a drink. So, I had to sit through the movie hungry, thirsty, and sitting in the heat. I don’t advise watching this movie in Florida at night, surrounded by a bunch of sweaty people. I’d much rather watch it in the comforts of my own home surrounded by family and loved ones.

Think of Me – Day 8 FFF 2012

April 21, 2012

Angela played by Lauren Ambrose

After 8 days of movies at the Regal Theatre in Winter Park, I finally get to see my first film at the Enzian theatre. I’m not overly excited about any of the films showing today so first on the list is Think of Me. This sad, depressing narrative is about a single mother, Angela, struggling to raise her daughter, Sunny. It was a slow start, slow middle, and, well, just a slow movie.

Poverty or not, you should never leave your 8 year old child home alone so you can work at night. And when the going gets tough, who thinks about selling their child for $20,000? I’m glad director Bryan Wizemann stayed after the screening for the Q & A because there were so many questions that needed to be answered. I don’t think I smiled or laughed at all during the film, talk about a downer.

Director Bryan Wizemann

Bryan wrote the script himself. He said, “The spark of the idea only takes a minute but then 2 years to play it out.” He continues, “When I wrote this my wife was 8 months pregnant. I wanted to write a story about a woman who sold her kid. It became a very personal story. I realized I subconsciously used things from my life.” Bryan stated it was a “fictional story but ended up being close to home.”

Bryan doesn’t consider his film to be political but wanted to get numerous points across. He talked about “being a mother on its own is a full time job” and that “single mothers have to do all the work. My father took off and left the country when I was 10 or 11 years old,” he said.

When someone from the audience asked what Bryan hoped to evoke from the audience seeing the film he said, “I don’t know. When you’re writing the script and weeping away 99% of the time, the audience will feel the exact same way.” He ended with, “The American working class poverty is 40 million and that’s what a lot of people have to live with.”

The audience really seemed to like this movie. I think the music and acting were great, but I wasn’t feeling it. It’s hard to watch 103 minutes of a movie that doesn’t have one ounce of joy.

An Ordinary Family – Day 6 FFF 2012

April 20, 2012

An Ordinary Family

An Ordinary Family
I wanted to like this film.

It had a very compelling, contemporary story. A gay man brings his lover to a family vacation, unbeknownst to his brother who is a minister complete with wife and children. What ensues are the typical scenes you’d expect from this formula–brother confronting brother, the talk about how dad would feel if he were alive, mother playing the peacemaker.

I found the film to be somewhat shallow and the story arc to be disjointed and chaotic. During the Q & A afterwards, I discovered why. Every scene and all the dialogue in the movie was done extemporaneously. While the story arc was mapped out, each scene was created unscripted.

Perhaps this approach led to moments of wonderful spontaneity. For me, however, it mostly led to moments that felt cliche-ish and to an overall story that lacked the kind of depth one can find in a movie that is crafted more carefully.

At the end of the film, in a moment of FFF creativity, one of the lead actors was able to do a Q & A using Skype from his bedroom in New York. I asked him about the advantages and disadvantages of doing a non-scripted movie.

He liked how each scene could be “fresh and spontaneous. You have to listen to what the other person is saying,” he continued. “You have to figure out where your voice in the conversation will come.”

As for the downside he replied, “Disadvantages are that you don’t know where it’s going. We had one couple that was supposed to play a larger role. However, they got got marginalized as the week wore on.”

While I’m a big fan of extemporaneous theatre, I also recognize it takes a special talent to really pull it off.  This movie was OK. According to the actor who spoke, it was an important film for the LGBT community. But it’s not the best the FFF had to offer.

Audience Reaction
Some audience members don’t agree with me, however. “I thought it was awesome. I liked the emotion. It was honest and real, very believable. I liked that they had the kids in it,” says Geri from Toronto.

“It was excellent. It was amazing. We’re going to watch it again, now that we know it was ad libbed,” saidTricia.  Marilyn chimed in,
“Such a meaningful story for today. Struggles of a real family.” Tricia added, It was beyond what I was expecting.”

Another woman joins the conversation and together the three of them have a very animated talk about the unscripted nature of this movie. Isn’t this wonderful? Even a film that may not be the best provides moments of discussion and insight.

It’s why we love the FFF!

Filmmaker’s Forum – Day 8 FFF 2012

April 20, 2012

The Filmmaker's Forum

At 2:00 this afternoon, the FFF sponsored a Filmmaker’s Forum. Denise Cummings was the moderator for a panel that included, Nathan Franowski, Brent Willis, Shasta Grenier, Kieran Turner, Matt Ornstein and Sari Gilman. It’s been a long time since I attended a forum, so I’m eager to see what they have to say.

The panel consists of some feature directors, some shorts directors and some documentarians. It’s a very open forum and a great opportunity for budding filmmakers to pick the brains of the panel.

There are approximately 50 audience members and the FFF has two cameras broadcasting it live to anyone else who wants to see it. I’m pretty sure it will also be on the FFF website later on.

We start with introductions that also include clips from the films they made. Denise begins by pointing out that all these filmmakers made films with a very compelling story. In turn each filmmaker talks about the challenges of bringing their stories to life.

I ask Nathan about his previous film, which was a documentary about a very polarizing political topic, and how making a film like that–one that could have a big impact on how people view you as a person–could have an impact on your career.  Nathan responds that his previous film did cause quite a stir, but it also helped him get more projects.

Kieran spoke about his frustration with submitting films to various festivals who “cashed the check” but didn’t seem to have viewed the film.

Another audience member asked about the budget for the films. Sari actually used “quite a chunk of my divorce settlement” to be able to make her film.

Kieran financed his documentary himself primarily off money he earned during his “day job.”

Brent had an angel who loaned him thousands of dollars worth of filming equipment to make the film. However, he never told the angel that he was going to film in Japan! When he let it slip, the angel was a little surprised.

Nathan talked about the support he received from lots of places in Orlando, including Full Sail University, Valencia College and the DAVE school.

This blog post would become (even more) excessively long if I were to try and capture all the marvelous tidbits you can learn from a forum like this. Instead, I hope it serves to whet your whistle so that, next year or perhaps the year after, you decide to come to a filmmaker’s forum. Everyone is welcome, the education is excellent and it’s free!

Animated Shorts – Day 6 FFF 2012

April 19, 2012

Flowers For Jupiter

The animated shorts are normally a highlight of the FFF and this year was no exception. When I got to the theatre, there were already 30 people in the standby line!  I was certain I was not going to get in. But after the theatre was completely packed with people, I was allowed to go in and see if I could find a seat. Fortunately, there was one in the very back corner of the auditorium.

Here are some brief descriptions and reviews of all the animated shorts…

Fresh Guacamole
As usual, PES comes through with a very short, wacky and ultimately pleasing little piece about making guacamole with the usual ingredients you’d find in, say, your average POW camp. I don’t know how they pull it off, but their films are always among the highlights at the festival. Want to have some fun? Google PES on YouTube and watch a few of them.

The Flying House
Can’t pay your mortgage? No problem, just turn your house into an airplane and take off.

(notes on) biology
extremely creative and clever animation technique that every school child can relate to–taken to the extreme.

38-39° C
OK, someone had a lot of fun playing with different animation mediums.Visually compelling but I missed the point of this film entirely.

Another Dress, Another Button
Creative, well paced, well made and very cute. This one’s a gem!

Miss Devine

Miss Devine
Real life story of strict Sunday School teacher. The story is put to animation. It was enjoyable to watch.

Edgar Allan Poe meets Miyazaki? This one was fun.

Flowers for Jupiter
You’ll wonder if the filmmaker was an apprentice of Tim Burton. Unfortunately, good visuals can’t help a nonsensical story.

Summer Bummer
Cute little diddy.

Dr. Breakfast
The audience got a big kick out of this one.

Perhaps Lev's Favorite Topic?

Tales of Mere Existence: “Random Observations About Sex” & “Sick of This”
Lev is always an FFF favorite. His simple pen drawings are mere backdrops for his incisive wit and observational skills. This year was no exception.

Floyd the Android – “Dim Bulb”
Fun, short little animation.

Reddish Brown and Blueish Green
Mixed medium and artistic. Hold on till the end. During the epilogue you find out what it was that made this film such a powerful story.

Bedtime for Timmy
This claymation got lots of laughs from the audience.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day
Not very often, but every now and then, you wonder, “what did the selection committee see in this movie?” For the 20+ minutes of this film (by far the longest of any of the films in this shorts program) I asked myself that question a lot!