Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with a super rarity of a SATURDAY SHORTS. This week is an absolute first, the singular time in the past several years of this column's life that does not feature work submitted by filmmakers. This week is something special, a celebration almost of something that's very near to my heart, PBS. I grew up with SESAME STREET, NOVA, MR. ROGERS, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS, THIS OLD HOUSE, GHOSTWRITER... I could go on and on. Growing up, I didn't have cable TV - it just wasn't in the family budget. This was before Netflix, Hulu, and VOD, so as a kid growing up in League City, TX, my options were limited to a handful of channels and whatever VHS tapes I could get my hands on. PBS was always there. It was always a channel that came in crisp and clean, with content I doubt I could have appreciated as a child. With the recent state of American politics - something I won't go into much beyond the obvious - I literally wanted to take a moment and direct people back to PBS, to remind folks how cool of a thing the Public Broadcasting Service is. Make no mistake - in no way, form or fashion am I or AICN at all recieving any financial benefit for this week's column. This is not a promotional deal with lucritave kickbacks from a non-profit... I hate to disappoint the conspiracy theorists out there, but this week's PBS theme wasn't asked/thrown upon me by anyone, so before anyone freaks out - stop, take a breath, and realize what's going on. We could lose this service if folks don't step up. If I come off as preachy - so be it - this is a biggy for your bud Muldoon.
On a lighter note, I'm glad PBS popped up on my radar of "oh yeah, this truly does deserve some spotlight" as I hadn't seen any of the below films until a bit of digging. These are all from their Online Film Festival, so it's in the same vein as SATURDAY SHORTS, a place for folks to show off their work to film lovers like you and me. Now I don't plan to do anything like this any time in the near future, so hopefully you have the time to soak these films up and enjoy the oddity that is this weekend's short films. I have several films that were submitted via email that I can't wait to show you ladies and gents, but I guess I'll have to - as they'll be up next week with our regularly scheduled shindig!
Since its launch in 2012, the PBS Online Film Festival has featured diverse films from PBS member stations, Independent Lens and POV. Collaborations with public television producers, including the Center for Asian American Media, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), Wisconsin Media Lab and Vision Maker Media have also been included.
Submissions should be 3-15 minutes in length and can be documentary or narrative. There are no requirements about the short films having premiered elsewhere, though they should be no older than 3 years old. PBS also needs to have non-exclusive rights to stream the films on all PBS platforms, including social platform.
Austin-area filmmakers, to have your short films considered, submit the following via email to JJ Weber email@example.com by March 30th:
- Brief description
- Online screener link
- Information about the filmmaker
Filmmakers from other areas should contact their local PBS affiliate.
Dates for the 2017 PBS Online Film Festival and the featured films will be announced at a later time. The festival will be available for streaming via PBS and KLRU, Austin PBS digital platforms, including PBS.org, YouTube and PBS social media channels. The films will also be available via the PBS app on iOS, Android and a wide range of OTT devices.
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!
First up is a film from Texas based filmmaker Brittney Shepherd. "Confined by the oppressive summer heat, a single-minded mother, and the limits of girlhood, a young girl's outing to the corner store stirs an unexpected self-realization. The Scar is a narrative short that begs the question: Amongst the clatter of a world that tells little girls who and how to be in the world, can we entrust them to make their own decisions, even if they may be the "wrong" ones?" Check out Shepherd's website for more of her work!
THE MOPED DIARIES
North Carolina's Tyler Nilson has our next film, a gorgeous tale of coming to terms with change. "When a new bridge is built connecting his island to the mainland, a boy has to come to grips with the change and opportunities that come along with it. Love of his home, love of a partner, and love of family all seem to be falling apart and slowly pushing him towards the inevitable, crossing that bridge himself to see what lies beyond the horizon." Check out Nilson's Lucky Treehouse page for more info!
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOMMY CHAOS AND STACEY DANGER
In the mood for some dinosaurs? Good, because the main characters in our next film sure aren't! Michael Lukk Litwak has our next short, a short that's very much up my alley. "Dinosaurs have invaded Earth, but now that they've met each other, neither Tommy Chaos nor Stacey Danger care anymore. They escape the war, but whether they dive to the bottom of the ocean or fly to Outer Space, conflict alway seems to find a way into their lives." If you're thinking "This short is insane! What the hell else has this director created?" Boom - head over to his website and look around!
MY GAL, ROSEMARIE
Director Jason Tippet has our next piece! "On the outskirts of Los Angeles, Rosemarie and Ray pass time in an apartment packed and cluttered with the detritus of a half century of marriage. With their meager social security checks gone straight to covering rent every month and nothing in savings, Ray collects cans to get a little cash together so he can grant Rosemarie her one and only 90th birthday wish: a trip to In N Out for hamburgers." Jason's done quite a few films, all of which feel unique, so think about clicking over to his Vimeo Page to watch a few more!
To wrap us out, we've got a pretty nifty stop motion film from Kirsten Lepore. "Animated on location at a beach, in the snow, and underwater, this stop-motion short details a transoceanic conversation between two characters via objects in a bottle." Now Lepore's actually created something recently that you might have seen, perhaps shared on your Facebook wall or emailed to you by a (sick) friend... Her HI STRANGER video is something to seek out! Don't stop there however - fly over to her website and see what all she's got going on!
BOOM! So... what did you fine folks think about this week's selection? Full disclosure, these shorts had already been vetted by some true movie lovers, and all I did was pick my favorites out of their favorites. I hope to see you folks next week! Check out a past artilce if you're in the mood for more short film fun!
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