FFF Day 2 Shorts Programs 1 and 2

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Shorts Program 1: Changes

As a general rule, the LanceAround family enjoys the shorts programs at the FFF. This year, however, they were particularly good.

How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps
When this film was over, Mrs. LanceAround commented, “I didn’t get it.” Essentially, the essence of this film is that the easiest way to lose weight is to be dumped by a girl, get depressed, channel your energy into working out then struggle with your insecurities as you see your ex every day at work and you try to date new women. I thought it was humorous and touching.

Charlotte
This was a well acted and well paced short; a coming of age tale of two young girls getting to know one another during a couple of sleep overs. Not much dialogue, but plenty of emotion as the actors do an admirable job of portraying teenage insecurities. Nothing dramatic, nothing deep, just a well made short.

The Seamstress

Dealing With Aging

Dealing With Aging

An elderly Taiwanese seamstress struggles with how her aging limits her abilities as she and her daughter-in-law struggle to serve customers in New York. A well done short that tugs at your heart. You may even feel sympathetic the next time you encounter New York customer service!

Peacock Killer
Normally I admire the writing of Sam Shepard. But this story left me scratching my head. A man takes revenge on a bunch of peacocks. Really? Just didn’t work for me.

Cuddle Party
The laughter in the audience demonstrated that this was a popular film. A struggling couple attend a “cuddle party” complete with a new-age-esque leader, a talking stick and participants that like to say, “Namaste.” For some reason, the couple doesn’t fit in. However, in the end it turns out to be a healing experience for them but a tragic one for the rest of the party. Filmgoers howled with laughter at this short.

Sundae
An emotional yet humorous film about a mother whose son is promised ice cream if he’ll just tell her which house is the right one. An edge of your seat little story with an O. Henry type twist made this short very enjoyable.

Zelos
Sci-fi short about the advantages, and disadvantages, of cloning. Nice twist at the end. Interesting character study of societal norms and the struggle for women to meet all the expectations thrust upon them.

Verbatim: The Ferguson Case

The True Story

The True Story

A verbatim dramatic reading from part of the transcript of the grand jury investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Although the incident lasted less than a minute, this 17 minute film gives a factual, non-biased look at one of society’s most influential events this decade. Refreshing to see the testimony without any media hype or hyperbole. Very insightful.

Shorts Program 2 Ashes to Ashes

Several Filmmakers Speak with the Audience After the Shorts

Several Filmmakers Speak with the Audience After the Shorts Program

Prior to the beginning of the second shorts program, we noticed a black couple who had also been present at the first shorts program. They identified themselves as Old New Yorkers Who Moved Down to Florida Eight Years Ago. They went out to lunch next to the theatre at the Cheesecake Factory. Afterwards, they serendipitously noticed the line of people in front of the FFF table at the theatre and bought a ticket to the first shorts program. Being from Brooklyn, they mention that they “feel the Bern” as they are Bernie Sanders supporters.

I ask them what their first film festival experience was like.

“It’s better than TV and better than half the cinemas today. Cerebral. Very well done. Not like the garbage they have today.”

They enjoyed the program so much they immediately purchased tickets for the next shorts program. I ask if they’re going to get tickets to the movie after that. They didn’t think so. They’re getting a little older and think by then it might be time to go home and have a cuddle party of their own.

“Especially after the filmmaker revealed that they have cuddle parties where people get naked?” I ask.

The wife nudges the husband with her elbow and gives him a wink. I won’t print what she says next!

Other People’s People
Well written and well acted piece about the drama surrounding other people at the wedding of two young gay men. It gave just enough information to get a glimpse into their lives without revealing any details allowing you to fill in the picture with your own imagination. It was like each character was a blank canvas of various shapes and sizes upon which you could project your reality onto them. Somehow, the film just worked. Well done.

Los Ninos Sicarios
This dramatic short says it’s based on a true story. A young Arizona teenager seems to enjoy playing football in the park. Until his phone rings and he is compelled to do a very grown up job. A depiction of the immigration issue from a seldom seen perspective. Disturbing and unforgettable.

Florence
Psychedelic movie about a young teenage girl who appears to have a psychiatric issue requiring medication. Shown from her point of view and how the medication affects her, this film had some creative images. Overall, however, I did not find the story very compelling.

My Last Film
Short film about the experience of trying to become an actor in a movie. The first part was cute as an actor talked to her disinterested friend about her struggles with discovering her character. A sudden accident causes her friend to have to relive the very emotions the actor was lamenting. The second part featured Rosanna Arquette whose performance was not good enough to make the script work.

Savasana
It seems that whenever a film features something about oral sex, the audience at the FFF finds it funny and enjoyable. This tale about an unexpected encounter at a yoga class followed by a disturbing discovery at home felt disjointed to me. But the filmgoers around me were obviously having a good time.

Tail

Great Ending

Great Ending

This one had the audience clapping enthusiastically at the end. Story of a sincere, slightly obese male who has a physical defect that makes it difficult to come out of his shell. A tender romantic comedy as his faithful barista helps him discover his worth. Beautiful ending. Excellent story.

Black Swell
Really exceptional acting and a great story made this dark comedy one of the better shorts. Sometimes, you know you’re at the FFF by how the audience reacts to a particular piece of dialogue or a creative shot. This film got so many appreciative gasps and scattered claps throughout the theatre. This is one of those treats you only seem to find at the FFF. It was one of the most memorable shorts from the program.

Thunder Road

An Incredible Acting Job

An Incredible Acting Job

This film won the Sundance Short Film Grand Jury Prize. During the first half of the movie, I kept wondering why. But as the film continued I found myself increasingly drawn to the incredible job of acting by the main protagonist. The last line of the film, “It’s important to remember that everyone grieves in their own way,” somehow neatly tied up this movie like the perfect ribbon on a gift. The credits say this movie was done in one take. A remarkable achievement.

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