various directors

Review by Alyce Wilson

The film festival offered several showcases of short films. One Weird One X 10 was a collection of 10 unusual short films. The program book description said these were short films that "deal with your standard androids, zombies, cannibals and robots, but in very weird ways."

A few of these stood out. One of my favorites was Robot Boy, directed by Ted Passon, which is about a boy whose parents give him robot parts, which dooms him to outsider status until he finds a girl who's determined to build a rocket and escape.

Another favorite was y did Yodo figt Count Duku? directed by Sean McBride. It was an animated film using the voice track from a 5-year-old boy talking about the Star Wars films, along with drawings he'd done, based on the films. The result was buoyant, silly fun.

Other films shown were Baby Eat Baby by Michael S. Reich and Jeremiah Zagar, a disturbing short where a man prepares and cooks a baby as his animated neighbors cook a chicken; Dead Broke by Patrick Hasson, an artfully done short about a down-on-his luck man who lives with four room-mates and their cats begins stealing the cats' food; Inhuman Creation Station by David Deneen, a music video where humanoids build other humanoids in a Metropolis-inspired factory; Lawrence of Zombania by Brian Muth and Andrew Laputka, a badly paced zombie parody; Looking for Something Special by Dmitry Torgovitsky, a modern day Reefer Madness, where several coked up friends get overly emotional with drastic consequences; Rat to Whatever by Alex Strang, a brilliantly paced hand-draw animation piece; Soccer Time by Edmond Hawkins, a very silly one-minute film where two guys have their game of soccer interrupted by a strange, animated pink nemesis; and Wiley Jack-a-napes by Anthony Mastanduno, a short film done as a silent movie for the National Film Challenge.

The Best of the 48-Hour Film Project also showcased 10 films. This project challenges film-makers to make a short film within 48 hours. Everything must be done in that time: it must be scripted, filmed, edited and completed in that time.

Philadelphia had 44 teams sign up, only 20 of which finished the film on time. They showed us the top 10. Each film team had to choose a genre out of a hat, like a Western, Fantasy or Horror. Everybody had to use the same prop, a Rolodex with cards; the same character, M. Drake, magician; and the same line of dialogue: "Get a move on. There's no time to lose."

The group that made the most creative use of the prop, Citizen Wumpus, did a superhero genre movie called Rolodex Girl. Her powers come from flipping through a Rolodex, picking out cards and reading them. Those cards give her the ability written on them. That was a cute film and a lot of fun.

The film that walked away with the most prizes, including the top prize, at the end of the night was Hove Lurts. It was a short film that nonetheless had all the characteristics of a romantic comedy. The editing, the scripting, the acting, everything was excellent.

Hove Lurts, by Flim Flam Film, features a man who, when he gets nervous, has trouble speaking normally. He wants to propose to his girlfriend but is afraid he'll mess up all the words. His psychiatrist agrees to go with him. Meanwhile, we discover that his girlfriend can't walk normally when she thinks about him but keeps falling down unless she's dancing or something. Her best friend agrees to attend go with her to the dinner that night, too, with comic results. Ultimately, the couples end up switching, and all four then turn to the camera and say, "Let's get married!"

Another favorite was Copcakes, by IBOx Films, which was a cop film with a particularly obnoxious Tom Selleck wannabe as one of the cops. The villain is a hapless magician who steals EZ-Bake Ovens from children's parties.

A horror film, True Identity, by Cofi, featured a clown whose car breaks down near an insane asylum. He goes inside to ask for help, and while he's waiting, the inmates come out and steal his clothes. One of the most dangerous criminals smears the makeup onto his own face, escapes.

Other films were a mockumentary called Birders by Back Your Brothers Play, about bird watchers and a self-labeled ecoterrorist bent on deterring them; a western called Lunch Break by Bredstik Entertainment, which featured an office worker who at high noon each day slips into an alternate reality; a romance called Unclaym'd Heart by Bughouse Productions, which was a whimsical Claymation piece; an action/adventure caled The Delivery by CW Syndicate, about a pizza delivery driver whose car is commandeered by a desperate man; a horror film, Jimmy by OSBX about a man with deadly bad luck; and a fantasy called Client 3815 by WC4, where two men employed at a dream factory flip the wrong switch and end up inside a client's dream.