Archive of the Short Film Patrol Category

2009 Short Film Patrol: Instead of Abracadabra

abra.jpgSwedish writer/director Patrik Eklund recently cut a show reel for a local magician and ended up with four hours of footage of the hapless man and—more importantly—an idea for a new short film. The result is Instead of Abracadabra, a very funny and sweet 22-minute short about a twentysomething slacker who lives with his parents and dreams of being a magician.

The trick up Eklund’s sleeve is recognizing that very important moment of suspense right before the magician plunges the sword into the box containing his volunteer. If a magician is truly awful, that person in the box really should be scared for their life. Since Tomas (Simon Berger) has already sent his mother to the hospital doing the same trick, the audience now knows that anything can happen. more

2009 Short Film Patrol: I Live in the Woods!

untitled1.jpgStop-motion animation has been making a bit of a comeback recently. Despite the long hours it takes to put something together with this age-old animation technique, it can be a refreshing change of pace for viewers inundated with similar-looking computer animation and widespread CGI special effects.

Max Winston’s short film I Live in the Woods! is literally an eye-popping visual experience. It starts off with a feverish exclamation from a high-jumping, superpowered hillbilly about his love of the woods. It ends up being a hilariously violent and absurd romp that goes way beyond the forest and up to the heavens—not exactly what you’d expect from an animator who is currently working on a short film for Sesame Street. more

2009 Short Film Patrol: The Nature Between Us

thenaturebetweenus_filmstill1.jpgThe Nature Between Us is in Sundance’s U.S. Dramatic Short category, but it’s the animated portion of the 5-minute film that takes it to a whole new level. Director William Campbell and his cohorts are part of a Los Angeles-based collective known as Team G Entertainment, and in cooperation with New York-based collective Superfad, Campbell has created a unique blend of highly stylized live-action and 3D computer animation that is masquerading as a lost VHS tape.

Looking like some sort of sick cross between In Living Color and Saved by the Bell, The Nature Between Us is colored in enough bright neon to make Speed Racer jealous. As the camera swings between cliques of graffiti artists, popular girls, and radical bike dudes, a laugh track underscores the artificialness of the “street scene� set around them. more

2009 Short Film Patrol: From Burger It Came

untitled.jpgReflections on a paranoid childhood manifest themselves in images of a one-eyed alien Jesus with an exposed brain, a possessed teenager whose neck turns 180 degrees and morphs into a goat’s head against a pentagram, and constant reappearances of hamburgers and skulls in From Burger It Came, an inventive animated short film from Dominic Bisignano.

Besides being selected in the 2009 Sundance Animated Shorts program, the movie also served as Bisignano’s final thesis film for his master’s degree in Experimental Animation at the California Institute of the Arts. It combines hand-drawn animation with paintings and computer-generated imagery and shading to create a constantly changing canvas of surreal images. more

2009 Short Film Patrol: Countertransference

countertransference.jpgA socially awkward woman seeks therapy in Countertransference, a short film directed by playwright Madeleine Olnek that might be a second cousin to Acting for the Camera, another Sundance short I profiled earlier on this blog. In Acting, it is the teacher who takes advantage of his vulnerable student, whereas Countertransference explores the idea that a therapist could do the same thing and abuse the trust of a patient.

Olnek’s soberly funny short (her second at Sundance in three years) is populated by other veterans of the New York stage, including Deb Margolin, Susan Ziegler, and Rae C. Wright. Their extensive experience helped to give Olnek the confidence to let the actresses improvise all of their scenes based on some very objective-driven outlines. more

2009 Short Film Patrol: Acting for the Camera

actingforthecamera_filmstill11.jpgActing for the Camera is a scary and funny indictment of a person that many theater students know too well—the overzealous acting teacher. Whether the instructor is trying to get personal frustrations out or is simply on a nonstop powertrip, most acting students will admit that the seemingly arbitrary rules set forth in a bad acting class would get most employees at any other job fired for emotional or sexual harassment.

That’s part of what makes director Justin Nowell’s 2009 Sundance short so frightening. One can assume that he and his brother, writer Thomas Nowell, have been through their fair share of these moments. The 14-minute short film, shot on HD Cam, takes place in one room in a beginner-level drama workshop and was shot in one single day. more

2009 Short Film Patrol: Field Notes From Dimension X: Oasis

eric.jpgCarson Mell returns to Sundance for the third year in a row in the animated short category with his newest and most bizarrely titled work, Field Notes From Dimension X: Oasis. For a look at Chonto, Mell’s film from last year, see this 2008 Short Film Patrol entry.

McSweeney’s DVD magazine Wholphin featured his first Sundance entry, Bobby Bird: The Devil in Denim, and an interview with the filmmaker in their third issue. Now it looks as if the life story of Captain Fred T. Rogard, the protagonist of Field Notes From Dimension X, will be told in a series of animated films and also in Mell’s fiction. McSweeney’s February 2009 issue will contain the first of his short stories. more

Short Film Patrol: Magnetic Movie

magneticmovie_filmstill11.jpgSubmissions for Sundance’s Short Film Program were up 10 percent from last year, comprising a record 96 short films from 5,632 submissions from both U.S. and international filmmakers. The diversity of the festival’s selections is readily apparent in a short film called Magnetic Movie that is as electrifying as it is educational.

Magnetic Movie performs one feat that is by no means a small one: It might just change the way you look at the world around you. more

Short Film Patrol: This Way Up

thiswayup.jpg “Laying the dead to rest has never been so much trouble.�

So goes the tagline to the newest animated short film from the British filmmaking team known as Smith & Foulkes. Entered at Sundance 2009 in the International Animated Shorts category, This Way Up is a dark but whimsical 8-minute romp about father and son caretakers whose dedication most certainly cannot be called into question. When a boulder flattens their hearse, the two deal with some pretty big physical and philosophical pitfalls to get a dead body into the ground where it belongs. more

2009 Sundance Film Festival Announces Short Film Program

Press Release

Record 96 Short Films Selected to be Shown in Shorts Programs and Before Feature Films

Sundance Institute announced the program of short films selected to screen at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival’s Short Film Program comprises a record 96 short films from 5,632 submissions, from U.S. and international filmmakers. Submissions grew by 10% over last year. The 2009 Sundance Film Festival runs January 15-25 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah. more

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The editors of Digital Content Producer and millimeter post live from the Sundance Film Festival as the news happens. Check back several times a day for the latest industry news, reports from press conferences, and product introductions.

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