Extreme Shorts – a review of Future Shorts 2012 Spring

This is a guest column reviewing our 2012 Spring programme by Alexander Flenniken. He is a filmmaker living in Taipei, a founder of “Cracked Aperture,” a video production house, and is currently in preproduction for a feature film titled “Fall Tiger,” slated to begin filming in September.

Film still from The Bear

The Bear by Nash Edgerton

The thing about short films is that they’re extreme. The Spring 2012 selection of Future Shorts, which I saw in Taipei this week, was generally a good example of this, featuring stories about terrible accidents, love, and probably the most sexually explicit claymation ever made. But the thing is, although these films are shocking and sometimes quite moving, it’s subtlety and realism that are ultimately the most memorable.

What I call the “short film car rule,” held true here–whenever characters are driving a car in a short film, the car inevitably crashes–but it was bicycling that was the most dangerous, with two impressively violent bike accidents across the eight films. The first film, “Bear,” featured a sequence of mistakes and misunderstandings leading to the surreal death of one of the main characters, keeling over in a gigantic bear suit. I found both that film and “The Arm,” this second film with a bike accident, to be so manipulative that the manipulation became evident. I react strongly against violence like this, which punishes the audience for liking the characters or engaging with the story.

My favorite film, ultimately, was the second, “Quadrangle,” a documentary about the strange linking between the parents of two families in the late sixties, as the fathers switched houses as soon as the children fell asleep, and returned home before they woke up. There’s something fascinating about hearing these parents, now with grey hair and wrinkles, telling the story of how they took the first steps of this double affair as they were stuck on a sandbar during a boat trip. One of the funniest moments in the festival was a mother describing in detail her sexual relationship with her friends’ husband, only to stop to bat angrily at a passing fly. Ultimately, things fell apart, but one of the fathers told of how he remembered that time as being a happy one, and contented one.

The organizers, who are friends of mine, asked me to write a blog post to share my perspective on these films as a filmmaker. I’m not sure if my perspective is any clearer or my taste is any more sophisticated, but I am drawn to a thought I’ve found interesting as I dig deeper and deeper into film. Cinematographers are said to have shifting tastes in color and shadow, and as they become more and more experienced, their visceral interest in saturated colors, complementary colors, low key lighting, fast cuts and dramatic moves is replaced by a more refined interest in complex colors, subtle graduations across a face, and compositions and moves that feel like reality. Maybe we have two species of short films here, a style for the masses, a popcorn style, exemplified in “Bear”, and a fine wine style, exemplified in “Quadrangle.”

In any case, I’m looking forward to Summer’s selection!

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3 days to go

It’s great that with a few days to go, we got covered in Taipei Times. The short films that Future Shorts makes available for the world indeed deserve a much wider exposure. They are pretty brilliant.

Since I haven’t done this yet, here’s the trailer for this weekend’s programme:

Information

The screening is on May 27, Sunday, 19:00.

Every film is with English subtitles. 每部影片皆配有英文字幕,無中文字幕。

You can get your ticket in advance online here: http://accupass.com/go/fst12spring or at the event, for 200NT.

Location:

NTU Applied Mechanics Building, International Conference Hall (click here for map)

台灣大學, 應用力學館國際會議廳 (click here for map)

Public transport: Close to MRT Gongguan (Danshui line) or MRT Technology Building (Wenhu line).

捷運: 靠近公館站(紅色淡水線) 科技大樓(文湖線)

Map (the yellow outlined part with IAM label):

NTU map

The films / 放映短片簡介 :

Bear》 2011│11min│Australia│Nash Edgerton

Edgerton, who wrote, directed and starred in “Bear”, the sequel to “Spider” (2007), centers around the main character Jack to unfold his tangled relationship and examines whether he’s learned his lesson or not. Described as a black comedy without social commentary, “Bear” is a follow up but also stands alone as it’s own piece. “Because I tend to play things fairly straight and never set things up like it’s a drama or a comedy, the audience doesn’t know what it’s going to be, and something about that really works,” said Edgerton.

Edgerton, 在2007年自編自導了”蜘蛛” Spider 這部短片,然後在2011年編導了”蜘蛛” 的續集,也就是這部”熊” 。故事中心仍舊延續主角傑克,和他繁亂糾結的感情關係,以及延續”蜘蛛”的故事,看看傑克是否有學到教訓,別再搞砸了呢?
有些人評論 Edgerton這兩部作品為黑色喜劇,
Edgerton 說 ” ‘熊’ 雖說是延續 ‘蜘蛛’ 的短片,但整個故事完整而完全能單獨分開來看; 因為我喜歡最直接的去執行事情, 所以當我在拍攝”熊” 的時候, 我沒有刻意用 戲劇的手法或是喜劇的手法去拍攝, 讓觀眾不會有既定印象的期待,而通常觀眾反而更喜歡這樣的短片”


Quadrangle1

Quadrangle》 2010│20min│USA│Amy Grappell

An examination of a four-way affair, this documentary explores the story of two “conventional” couples who swap partners and live in a group marriage in the early 1970s. Set in Long Island, New York, this domestic living experiment unravels and challenges and boundaries of social convention, marriage, monogamy and desire. “Inspired by the discovery of my father’s photographs, taken at the height of the poly-amorous affair, and in an effort to come to terms with my own past, I decided to interview my parents. The film does not propose answers and strives to remain objective. It explores two people in a certain time. It tells a story,” said Grappell.

一種實驗性的四角關係,這部紀錄片性質的短片揭露了70年代兩對”開放關係”的伴侶如何交換著另一半和在一個團體婚姻的情況下生活。 坐落在長島,紐約,這個實驗性的生活揭開和挑戰,社會習俗,婚姻,一夫一妻和慾望的界限。”我的靈感來自於受到我父親過去的照片所啟發, 在高度複雜的近似外遇關係之下,同時我也算是刻意探討自己的過去,我決定去採訪我的父母。影片沒有提出答案,並力求保持客觀。它探討了兩個人在一定的時間。它講述了一個故事“ Grappell 說。


venus

Venus》 2012│8min│Denmark│Tor Fruergaard

“Venus”, a 7-minute claymation, is an erotic comedy about rediscovering one another and finding the spark where you least expect it An official selection at the Los Angeles and Annecy Animation Festival, among others; Venus tells the story of Caroline and Rasmus, a confused couple who’ve not had sex in for four months. To solve this, they decide to visit a swingers club and see if it will salvage their relationship, or not.

一部七分鐘的粘土動畫,一部情色喜劇,內容主要關於重新認識彼此,找到彼此身上重新找到愛的火花—-在一個你覺得最不可能。 本片為洛杉磯和安納西動畫節的官方指定影片; 故事描述一對四個月沒有發生關係的,對彼此產生疑惑的愛侶-卡羅琳和拉斯穆斯。為了解決這個問題,他們決定訪問一個交換伴侶俱樂部,看看它是否會挽救他們的關係,也許。


L

L’Homme Sans Tete》 2003│18min│France│Juan Solanas

Created over 4 years, Solanas’ short debut is the story of a man who lives alone, head-less, in a room overlooking a vast industrial space. Visually astounding and technically accomplished, this animated short reveals love and happiness and one man’s pursuit for romance amidst life without a head. “We’re living in a period where cinema is a product; movies are becoming more and more commercialized. Short films are one of the last real places for artistic freedom – they’re important to celebrate just for that,” said Solanas.

索拉納斯“經過4年多的製作,Solana 的出道之作是講述一個獨自生活的男人,沒有頭,在一個房間裡面對著唯一的風景是巨大廣闊的工業廠房的景色。視覺驚人的和技術上的完成,這個動畫短片揭露了一個無頭的人生裡 追求著愛情和幸福,浪漫與對生活的追求。Solana 說:  “我們生活在這樣一個電影被視為產品的時代,電影越來越商業化。 短片是藝術自由的最後一個真正的地方之一 – 即使只因為這樣短片都重要的職得我們慶祝讚美。


The Arm_filmstill_Miles Heizer_02

The Arm》 2012│9min│USA│Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, Jessie Ennis

Directed and written by a female trio, “The Arm” tells an up-to-the minute social commentary on teen love in a time of technology. Written over the course of 3 hours on a Greyhound bus from Dallas to Austin, this short centers upon two main characters, Chance and Genevieve, who start a texting relationship only to realise they were never in a relationship at all. At Sundance this year, “The Arm” was acknowledged with a Special Jury Award for Comedic Storytelling.

由女聲三重唱編導,“手臂”講述了現代青少年每秒都在改變更新的現代愛情,在技術的社會評論。在從達拉斯到奧斯汀3個小時灰狗巴士編寫出來,這兩個主角,Chance 和 Genevieve,只為了消除他們從沒有過男女朋友這個標籤,兩人開始了一段建築在簡訊上的感情。在今年的聖丹斯,“手臂”喜劇故事的評委會特別獎。


Mourir Auprès De Toi

Mourir Auprès De Toi》(To Die By Your Side) 2011│6min│France│Spike Jonze & Simon Cahn

Created from 3,000 hand-cut pieces of felt, Jonze’s tragicomic stop-motion animation takes place in an old, Parisian bookshop where at night the covers come to life. It’s the story of a felt skeleton who falls in love with a beautiful and sassy vixen. Co-directed by filmmaker Simon Cahn with designs by Olympia Le-Tan, this Cannes selected short is sweet, sad, spooky and a bit whimsical. Jonze said, “A short is like a sketch. You can have an idea or a feeling and just go and do it.”

Jonze 讓這部由3000件手工切割的布料及物件組成的這部悲調的逐格動畫,在一個古老的,巴黎氛圍的書店裡發生。在這裡,所有的書籍封面在晚上都活了過來!   故事講述一具墜落的白骨骸上了一個美麗性感的女人。由 Simon Cahn共同執導與製片,並由Olympia Le-Tan擔任設計。 這部獲得戛納欽睞的短片有甜蜜,有悲傷,帶著怪異,並且有點異想天開。瓊斯說,“短片,就像是一個草圖。你可以完成它只因為一個想法或一種感覺。”


Love_You_More_1

Love You More》 2007│15min│United Kingdom│Sam Taylor Wood

Inspired by the hit song “Love You More” by the Buzzcocks, this short is the tale of two punk lovers, Georgia and Peter, in London, 1978. Tender and explorative, this short film directorial debut by Taylor-Wood was written by Oscar nominee Patrick Marber and produced by Oscar winner Anthony Minghella.

靈感來自於 Buzzcocks樂團的 “Love You More” 。這則故事講述了在1978年的倫敦,兩個龐克戀人,喬治雅和彼得的故事。充滿溫柔和探索精神,《Love You More》由導演 Taylor-Wood做為他的處女作,由 Oscar nominee Patrick Marber 編寫,並由奧斯卡獎得主Anthony Minghella 製作出品。


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Future Shorts 2012 Spring Grande

After our Premiere screening, now we are ready for the next step: bringing Future Shorts to a wider audience. That’s why we are going to have our next event in a 230 people auditorium in the NTU. It’s on May 27, Sunday evening, from 7pm. A bit more than 2 weeks left and still a lot to prepare. There are hundreds of screenings around the world (click here to see a quick list), and for example on the same day there’s another one in Ukraine. Joining us you are really joining a global community of film lovers.

Future Shorts 2012 Spring Grande cool card design

Future Shorts 2012 Spring Grande cool card design

Tickets

This time we are preparing mostly pre-sale tickets, you can book your tickets by clicking here. If you have any problem with booking, please just contact us at fstaipei@gmail.com, and we’ll sort it out.

At that link you can also see the list of films that are on the programme this time. We have 7 movies, some animation, some documentary, all quite different style, with one overarching topic – examining relationships. Though this time that also means that the films have to be restricted for only over 18 years olds.

Our venue is 台灣大學 應用力學館國際會議廳, NTU Institute of Applied Mechanics Building, International Conference Hall, and here’s a handy map to get you there (that outlined yellow spot there with IAM label):

NTU Map

How to get to our venue: Applied Mechanics International Conference Hall.

The MRT Gongguan and MRT Technology Building Station should be quite close for public transport, and should be some parking space nearby as well. And this is pretty much how the place looks:

View of the hall

Applied Mechanics International Conference Hall

Coming from Hungary, I can tell you this is pretty much how most of our cinemas looked like in the 1990s, so for me it’s a quite homely feeling. Hope it will work out well too.

Now let’s spread the word, and have a great crowd for a fun evening.

find me on google plusGergely Imreh

Future Shorts 2012 Spring Premiere

A bit more than a week ago we had out first screening of the Spring Season. It was great, again very good election of movies, with the overarching topic of relationships. First I was weary of the “Over 18” requirements, but actually it is all fine, I have to rethink what kind of things I’m worried about.

Watching Future Shorts

Future Shorts 2012 Spring Premiere screening

Insomnia Cafe worked out very well as a venue, it is very cozy and friendly, movie-lover staff as well. Next time might want to keep in touch with them better, though to have a little more promotion. The first event we had in January was very popular, got to figure out how to fill up the place again.

Can see more pictures from the event in our album here (Facebook) or here (G+), no login required to either.

Now we are working on the next screening, a bigger one, in less than 3 week. Will post more about it in the days to come, about the venue, how to get the tickets, the new things we will be trying.

find me on google plusGergely Imreh