South Dakota Film Festival: Noah and 7 other short films
Not only did Noah easily stand out as the most unique film that I saw at the festival, but it is one of the better short films that I have seen in a long time. Filmed entirely from the point of view of a computer screen, the audience has front-row seats to observe Noah in his digital life of Facebook, Skype, ChatRoulette, and even his favorite porn site, all in real time. The short narrative accurately portrays how contemporary relationships are affected by social media. Drama quickly unfolds when a dropped Skype connection with his girlfriend causes him to overanalyze that she might be cheating on him with a classmate who constantly leaves flirtatious comments on her photos on Facebook. After quickly consulting with his (hilariously named) friend Kayne East, he decides to log into her Facebook account suspecting a break-up is in on the horizon. This is a fantastic depiction of how technology is affecting relationships in a way that has not been done before. Born as a school project, Noah has gone on to earn the recognition it deserves after picking up the Best Canadian Short Film at the Toronto Film Festival a couple months back. Noah is an absolutely must-see.
Stay tuned for an interview with the filmmakers of Noah
There are two major issues that are brought up in the ten minute short film entitled Home. The first is an elderly woman whose mind is rapidly fading and stuck back in time with an image of her youthful former self. The second is that her regular nurse turns out to be her own child, who she does not recognize nor remembers that she abandoned long ago. The intensity of emotions regarding the situation between the estranged relationship between the mother and daughter is carried out well by the two lead actresses and the quick camera cuts attributes to the theatrical pacing. With such complex issues at hand, I feel like the film would have worked better as a feature, but Charlie Hofheimer shows off his talents as an actor-turned-director in his debut.
Two single people setup a date from an aptly named dating website called OneSmallProblem.com, a website where singles who have some flaw about them can meet other imperfect individuals. The classically handsome man is enjoying a candle-lit dinner he is having with the beautiful woman he met on the site. Their first date is only shortly under way when his problem makes an appearance, or in his case it’s voice. It turns out his one problem is his obnoxiously loud talking genitals that he has no control over. As you can probably guess, this is a straight-up slapstick comedy that works well by not taking itself at all serious. The absurd comedy is not afraid to take the audience on a sidesplitting ride.
City Boots is a classic fish out of water story about a city man who is obviously more concern about his stock portfolio than training to ride a horse on a farm. But that is precisely what he is setting out to do, even though he shows no interest in doing so. The reason why he is wants to ride a horse is not stated up front, but it is eventually revealed he must do it to impress a client after a character in the film finally asks the question that is on everyone’s mind. The concept of a man learning to respect the animal he is training is stronger than the presentation of the film.
The idea of someone who can hear other people’s thoughts is not entirely unique, but the fact that it is causing Emma to lose her own mind is rather interesting. Sure, hearing random people thinking about how their significant other is annoying or a lonely man with cat issues brings about some hilarious results. But Head Case takes a darker turn when Emma meets a man who shares the same ability. The overall theme of “better not to know” is well enforced when they try for a relationship in which it is impossible to hide any thought from one another. Blending two distinct story varieties into a ten minute film was done effectively.
The Wedding Gown Project: One Day, One Dream, One Dress
If you think about it, the idea of spending weeks (perhaps months) picking out the perfect dress only to wear it for a few hours is a strange concept. Then the fact that you save that dress for the rest of your live, even though you have no intention to ever wear it again, makes it even more bizarre. It is not until you provide the context of how important those few hours you wear is that the idea starts to make sense. The Wedding Gown Project: One Day, One Dream, One Dress is a short documentary that highlights the significance and history of the wedding gown. For many it serves as a cherished memory of that special day. For other it can help preserve a family heirloom. The documentary does a noble job of showing both traditional and non- traditional dresses as well as marriages. At the beginning of the film it shows a young girl excited about her future white wedding dress and if the documentary was permitted a longer runtime I would have loved for it to explore how kids are trained at such a young age to romanticize about the dress.
After The Torment
There is a very impressive long shot of two people taking a walk in a New York City park near the beginning of After The Torment which also reveals the history between the two characters. It has been a year following their 20th high school reunion party where the two re-connected for the first time since graduation, and although they do rekindle some mutual attraction for each other, it turns out that one of them has turned a new corner in their life. The best parts about this short film are the authentic conversations the two have during the one day they share with each other. The cinematographer Taylor Allen does a great job of making dialog heavy scenes between the two characters an interesting watch.
A man repeatedly insists that he can stop and rewind time to his psychiatrist, who understandably has a hard time believing that he can do so. I could not quite figure out why he was seeking help as he seemed to understand and use his ability in opportune times. Trying to explaining it to a psychiatrist proves to be an uphill battle. The impressive part about the short film Timeless is that it is a byproduct of a 48 hour short film project in which the theme of the film is given to you. Had the filmmakers been given more than 48 hours to complete the film, the script could have shown its full potential.