Jonathan Browning, U.S.A.
Plot Synopsis: The corporate world is ruthless. Do you have what it takes to land the job?
Audience Favorite, Show #2The Job; Jonathan Browning (USA)
This was insanely thought-provoking for so short a film. I wonder if our local Metro DC issue of day labor centers would be so nearly hotly contested if this were indeed the reality of our contemporary world. In the one Browning turns on its ear, a working man pulls up in a pickup and chooses from a multitude of a dime-a-dozen executives. In this universe they are the ones who have no guarantee of employment, income, or health benefits from one day to the next.
In the post-screening Q&A, director Jonathan Browning provided some fascinating insight as to his process. He said that in post-production, he discovered that his sound was damaged to the point where it was unusable. He therefore had to go another direction with his project in editing. What he ended up with, he said, was the film God intended him to make. And his product was by far one of the strongest of the festival.
The Money Shot
Chip Franklin, USA
Plot Synopsis: After Wendy discovers her boyfriend’s adult movie while cleaning up, she sits him down to find out what happens after the money shot.
Has anyone ever asked this question before? Well…other than Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights…. What really does happen after the money shot in a porn film?
This is another film that explores on a deeper level, in a very fun way, what happens in a relationship after the initial carnal interest has subsided a bit. Will we be sticking around for something else? Will there be trips to Bed Bath and Beyond? The actors’ performances and their levels of commitment to their respective points of view were specific and priceless.
When I Grow Up
Michelle Meeker, USA
Plot Synopsis: The juxtaposition of the boundless ambition of youthful expectations with the unpredictable, and sometimes tragic realities we end up living.
The dreams we have, and hopefully continue to have, are as diverse as the animation brought together by the umbrella of the uniform theme of this film. We must remember, however, that what is a dream come true to one person can be nightmarish to another, as elucidated in one stark and articulate vignette in this otherwise lighthearted piece.
“Keep it short and finish it!”
Director Michelle Meeker, when asked what advice she might have for new filmmakers.
2 in the AM PM
JG Quintel, USA
Plot Synopsis: What happens when two teenagers are left alone to run a gas station on Halloween night?
Audience Favorite, Show #32 in the AM PM; J.G. Quintel (USA)
This was an animated tale that took us through all of the extremes of many a cliché and urban legend of the best and worst that can happen on an acid trip. As an audience, all we had to have was popcorn and a soda to enjoy the trip with the clerks in safety!
Big Dumb F**k
Dean Hamer, USA
Plot Synopsis: Award-winning spoken-word artist Rhonda L. Taylor elucidates her criteria for an ideal male companion.
Here we had the pleasure of witnessing a filmed poetic artist…
It has been said by some filmmakers that actors are meat that moves…
It has also been said by other filmmakers that 90% of one’s work as a Director is casting…
I believe the latter, and Big Dumb F**k is my evidence.
F**k the believers of the former. You, my dear Ms.Taylor, are exquisite, and you Mr. Hamer made brilliant choices with both your 90% and your 10%.
Can I Kick It?
Gabe Uhr, USA
Plot Synopsis: And you thought kickball was for the elementary school playground.
I had no idea until I saw this film that the Washington Monument appears to be asymmetric at the very top from the side view. Nor that kickball teams often as caped crusaders. As I continued to note this throughout the film, I realized I was finding the visual elements of this film far more interesting than the way the verbal content was holding, or not holding my attention. Uhr has a strong visual eye and just needs to be sure that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the content.
Michael Flores, USA
Plot Synopsis: An expectant mother illegally crosses the US-Mexico border, only to find that life on the other side isn’t what she had hoped for.
We are given a quote during this film, “Hope is the last thing that dies.” Esperando translates as both “hoping” and “waiting.” Oddly, both can be so different. One can be the act of barely more than existing, while the other is so much stronger, so much more willful. We see our heroine (in a very strong performance) bounce from one to the other, and want her to choose hoping…hoping…
James Arnall, USA
Plot Synopsis: When a neglected homemaker lavishes her affections on her garbage disposal, a bizarre relationship blossoms.
Festival Director’s Choice Feeding; James Arnall (USA)
One never knows just what might happen when one’s basic human needs aren’t being met….All bets are off. The result in Feeding is played out in this brilliantly witty and very nearly understandable journey we take from beginning to well, not quite the end with a lovely, quite underappreciated woman. Though atypical, as her relationship with her new partner grows, it follows a certain logic where her needs are met, and she becomes happier and more fulfilled. But then she is faced with a rather unpleasant choice…and as we’ve been on this journey with her, it isn’t really much of a choice at all….
Stephen Carr, USA
Plot Synopsis: A rotten date can ruin a great meal.
Lesson 5 was unique from everything else at the festival in that it made a very strong choice to very strictly limit the audience point of view. There were two main characters, and one appeared to us only in silhouette. The master shot was filmed almost exclusively over the shoulder of the silhouette character, so that we focused on the responses of the lovely lady…and wondered…wondered about the silhouette gentleman. He was speaking a foreign language…or was he actually speaking? He might have been a recording as we couldn’t see him speak! Was he a blow up doll? Was he DEAD??? Our minds raced as our eyes remained on target.
“I’m a big fan of the law of creative limitations.”
--Stephen Carr, Director, Lesson 5
Brad Wilke, USA
Plot Synopsis: After having his “big break” unceremoniously snatched from him, a young filmmaker decides to unleash his unique creative vision on an unsuspecting (and culturally ignorant) corporation.
Any artist who has ever gotten screwed over by an advertising executive who thinks he knows better artistically than he or she does will feel, feel FEEL this film!!!!!
The beauty of this film is that it reaches out universally. Its vehicle is the familiar home playing field of a filmmaker, but so many who see this will cheer in triumph at the spectacular payoff at the end. This is a film that so many will find easy to relate to, as life has handed the fuzzy end of the lollypop to way too many of us.
Elliot Blanchard, USA
Plot Synopsis: A man wakes up to unexpected new guests underfoot – and they have their own ideas about who should be in charge.
This visually luscious film was such a flirt…I could just capture a glimpse of a quote by Borges (no I’m not that quick, as much as I love him I got it from the credits) that I wonder how many times this film is designed to be viewed to catch everything….Two were far from enough for me.
Partially True Tales of High Adventure!
Murphy Gilson, USA
Plot Synopsis: To keep his Hollywood dream alive, Charlie must rely on the gifts of every mid-western kid: a love of booze and the ability to tell outrageously wild tall-tales.
This was one of the longer films of the evening, but it was frankly so well edited I didn’t feel like it was. It had a complete, engaging story to tell and needed every moment to take us from the setup and connection with the characters through the payoff at the end.
As Keith Ulmer Bicknell succinctly put it in the Q & A following the program, it is indeed a “Slice of life about lost souls coming together to find connection.”
Rick Hammerly, USA
Plot Synopsis: A chance encounter with a young hearing-impaired man forces a 41 year-old to face his ambiguous future in today’s youth-obsessed gay world.
Best Local FilmSignage; Rick Hammerly (Washington, DC)
No matter what, there is always going to be something! Just when one thinks he or she has ventured into home turf, such as being gay in gay bar, new criteria is suddenly established. A fresh discriminatory process begins all over again. We think we are safe with our own kind, but even amidst our own kind, we subdivide and judge.
This film is a fantastic analogy for what happens in the relationship process in our contemporary culture. At first, we find our similarities…then we begin to (with the help of our friends) focus on and magnify our differences until it just won’t work.
Signage says it all succinctly in a microcosm. And to boot, has one of my favorite quotes of the entire festival, “Thank God for bar lighting.”