Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with this week's selection of interesting films that I think are rather special. This week's article title is every bit as bizarre as this week's selection, as we truly have films from all over the map. Great dramas? Check. Absurd Stop Motion? Yep. Crazy psycho killers? Sure. Whatever your tastes might be, rest assured there is at least one film below that will be everything you want in a short film and more. I happen to feel that way about all of them, for different reasons (clearly). Some films feature famous faces and crazy production value, while others are simply fun films from people doing what they can with as little as possible. Both sides of that spectrum are welcome here as at the end of the day each one of the filmmakers below shares that same bit of passion that it takes to have an idea and force it into existense. A few of the films today have just gone online this last week, and one actually just hit the internet today... so if you're hungry for some fresh films, you've come to the right place. If you have the luxury of carving out that hour of time it takes to watch all these great films, do yourself the solid of making them fullscreen and turning up the volume. If that means it takes you to a different site (like Vimeo/Youtube) then head over there - just be sure to swing back for the next film on the lineup! Let's get this party started.
Go grab yourself some popcorn, lock your kids in a closet, kill the lights, relax and check out this little weekly film fest we've got ourselves here!
To kick this weekend off right, let's first take a trip to Directors Justin Michael, Harry Chaskin, Dan Lippert's MONSTER ISLAND, one of the more NSFW films of the lineup, though also one that had me in stitches. "Zog and Java are two best friends looking to throw the ultimate BBQ party. They also happen to be giant monsters imprisoned on an island. 99.9% stop-motion animation, 0.1% tiny live-action people!" The character designs are incredible - like living cartoons. Every frame of this is visually interesting - while the film itself is utterly silly, a perfect first film for today. If you want to see more of Justin Michael's work, then fly over to his website and poke around!
Next up is a tonal shift from MONSTER ISLAND, a thriller from Director Dylan Sanford featuring Shiri Appleby. The film just premiered online today over at Film Shortage. Dylan called in every favor he'd earned in order to bring this film to life, and I'm glad he did - it's great. "A woman's world comes crashing down when a stranger reveals he's been hired to kill her. What follows is a dark proposition: pay double, and she can turn the hit back on her murderous husband." I actually had the pleasure of working on a horror film that featured Appleby and although I was at a desk for the bulk of production, found her to be as pleasant as she is talented. Sanford's carved up something dark, deep, and lingering with AN ENTANGLEMENT, so if you're into Twitter, follow him (@blackdogdylan) and the film (@EntangleMovie) as well as seeing more from him on his Vimeo Page.
2016: A SPACE ODDITY
To prove just how much I enjoy mixing it up, let's follow Sanford's thriller with a love letter to Phish, a visual trip from the creative vision of Nick Setteducato. I love this film. It's mellow, full of references I love (Thunderbirds/David Bowie/Star Wars/more), has a unique feel to it and ultimately is a lovely way to spend five minutes of your life. ""Join Colonel Forbin on a mission to save his planet from certain destruction, and watch as an unexpected turn of events sends him on an adventure through time and space." If you like what you see, then think about heading over to Phish's non-profit "The Mockingbird Foundation" and the film's Facebook Page (which features great "behind the scenes" info!).
THE SMILING MAN
"Holy shit" - Muldoon. Our next film is so utterly creepy and well done, my thoughts after watching it are simply "Holy shit, that was incredible." Director AJ Briones has made quite possibly one of the creepier films I've seen this year with THE SMILING MAN. The film continues to play festivals around the world and with good reason. It's actually scary, as in it's not just jump scares and weird makeup, it's tense and freaky - a "what an odd situation I'm watching... one I hope to never actaully experience." "A little girl home alone finds herself face-to-face with pure evil." For more info on the film and AJ, check out the film's website and Facebook Page as well as Briones's website.
I'm having a blast with this week's lineup, and a blast (or two... or three....) is exactly what Director Paco Silva has for us with his horror fim THE REUNION. "A backwoodsman embarks on a perilous trek through the woods in search of a young man on a missing persons flyer, only to be pursued himself." Silva's short echoes the visual inspirations of John Carpenter and shows he's a guy to follow (not in a creepy way, but... you know what I mean). I don't want to say anything else about the movie, as I truly don't want to give anything away. For more of Paco's work, give his Vimeo Page a look.
Next up is a film that looks back to the horror genre and has a laugh. Director Jamie Rivera brings us BRIGHT EYES. "A woman wakes up to suspect that someone, or something, may be in the house with her in this satirical riff on the horror genre." If you like what you see, then head over to Jamie's Youtube Page and have a look! (One film in particular will leave you scarred from Twinkies.)
Director Josh Roush has our next film, a lovely "CLERKS with Mormons" with THE MISSION. "The Mission is a short dark-comedy about a day in the life of two Mormon brothers experiencing the opposite ends of their faith. As they monotonously canvas the same area yet again, a frisky, sexy woman puts the moves on Brother Joseph. To the horror of Brother Bradley, Joe must now choose between brotherhood, the church, or his own independence." I particularly enjoyed the silly banter with the two leads throughout the film. Roush is creating a handful of shorts that share a few characters, in his "Benefits of a Small Town" series. If you enjoy the film, check out Roush's website and podcast!
BAM! That's it for this week, ladies and gents. I enjoyed each of the seven films featured this week and hope you did as well. Thanks to all the filmmakers who submitted their films. There would not be a SATURDAY SHORTS if it weren't for the filmmakers out in the AICN audience. (No shit, huh?) In full sincerity, sharing the work of filmmakers/film lovers each week is one of the coolest things I could be a part of and it's only because of passionate folks who think of a cool story, then see it come to life via hardwork. It's a privilege to share shorts here as I'm the singular "programmer" and thus get to watch so many cool films, never quite knowing what I'll see next in my inbox. I hope you had fun and I'll catch you all next week. "Have a good weekend - good golf, good tennis, or whatever makes you happy."
If you have a short and think it belongs here or are on the fence about whether to send it in, please do send it in - I'd love to see what you've put together. I've already seen hundreds of fresh new filmmakers' shorts and like any good addict, I need more!
Shoot me an email at "Mike@aintitcool.com"
In the subject line include:
“SHORTS” + “Your film’s name” + “The film’s genre”
Then, in the body of the email, please include a synopsis of the film and any contact information you might think I need or would want published. The more info you send my way, the more info there is to put with your short.
Please don’t feel the need to submit multiple times.
Remember, the filmmakers might still be in the audience, so feel free to share your thoughts in Talkbacks below. (JUST DON'T BE AN ASSHOLE). I picked them, so you know I think highly of all of these, but how about you fine folks? How'd you like 'em?
BY THE WAY: If you've had a short featured here, that means that I personally am a fan of your work, so feel free to shoot me any kind of news on new projects/films/whatever. I can't say I'll be able to help or in what capacity, but I'm interested in your work and am always down to see more! (Keep making cool stuff, everyone!)
- Mike McCutchen