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Tag Archives: shorts

July 30th DFA Student Screening!

July 30th turned out another series of exciting, diverse short films from DFA students at New York City’s Anthology Film Archives!

Patricia Olivera and Silvan Friedman in The Dawn.
Patricia Olivera and Silvan Friedman in The Dawn.

First up was The Dawn, a film written and directed by yours truly. Despite his very sheltered point of view, the five-year-old protagonist pieces together the fact that his beloved mother has killed his father. The biggest challenge of making this short was working with such a young child, although hopefully his youth and innocence serve to create that much more of an impact once you realize his life will never be the same.

Ananya Sundararajan
Ananya Sundararajan

Next there was In the Bedroom, a short by Ananya Sudararajan, who also co-wrote and acted as DP for another short film in the line-up, Jam. In the Bedroom was more experimental than the other offerings. The camera remained in one position the entire time: at the foot of the bed of a couple whose relationship is on the rocks. This served to make the viewer feel almost as if they’re spying on a real couple from a hiding place, rather than watching a short film. After the male lead fails to perform in bed, he takes his anger and frustration out on his girlfriend; however, she’s the one who gets the last laugh.

Filmmaker Pauline Gefin (right).
Filmmaker Pauline Gefin (right).

Next up was The Potluck, from frequent screening contributor Pauline Gefin (and Jam’s sound recordist!). In the course of 9 minutes, the audience sees a very strained relationship between three former friends, and how catty two of the girls are toward the third, Victoria. However, when the hostess, Ashley, begins choking, she’ll find out who she can really count on. The short packs a great visual punch at the end, when Ashley puts a photograph of her and Victoria in a place of pride on her shelf.

Kaylyn Scardefield and Joseph Ernest in Jam.
Kaylyn Scardefield and Joseph Ernest in Jam.

Jam, the fourth short, came from Nacho Diaz-Guerra. This piece served to keep viewers guessing as different details were revealed. The three characters meet when young Alice buys back her grandfather’s watch from a pawnbroker and his friend. It’s clear that both Alice and the pawnbroker’s friend, Luke, have strained relationships with their father figures. In Alice’s case, we hear one side of a tense phone call; as for Luke, we witness his older friend’s constant badgering. In the end, Alice and Luke form a bond – and take a small revenge on society.

African masks.
African masks.

The last film of the evening, Thousands: Sonnets of the Sun, was also the longest at close to 29 minutes. This film, from Lucas D. Oliveira, was ambitious not just in terms of length but in subject matter. A true coming-of-age story, viewers were treated to an intimate look inside the mind of a young boy, Tolo, as he struggles to understand nothing less than the meaning of life and his place in it. His father, an African mask carver, has taught him the stories behind the masks, and how masks would be used in special ceremonies where children became adults. Of course, these ceremonies aren’t common in Brooklyn, where Tolo lives – but that doesn’t stop him from exploring their power and doing what he feels he needs to to get to the next level in his life.

Congratulations to everyone who screened! I’m looking forward to what’s next to come from this group of my fellow filmmakers.

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain.

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The NBC Shortcuts Experience!

short cuts logoIn August 2013, I attended the NBC Short Cuts film festival. This is an event that was created to showcase the work of a variety of artists from diverse backgrounds who might not otherwise get much exposure.

At first, I was wary of anything NBC. The last time I’d been involved with them was for Stand Up for Diversity, a comedy event giving each comic one minute to make an audience laugh and impress the executives. If you impress everyone, you move on and go to their reality show for comics.

Standup-for-Diversity-Logo.jpg.600x242_q100

Any stand-up comedian would know one minute is pretty difficult. My dark humour did not go over with the judges. I guess they didn’t like pedophile and wheelchair jokes. Especially the guy in the audience who was in the wheel chair about whom I made the joke.

I digress. I’d never been to a film festival before and since it was my favorite price – free – I decided to give it a go. First thing that caught my eye was the bar with no bartenders. I found this odd. Just display drinks. So, in a moment of thirst, I stole one.

Once inside, I watched incredible short films. Since each film was a different genre, I went through a series of emotions. One film would have me laughing, and the next would have me horrified. By the 7th film, I had a taste of what it was like to be manic depressive. I had hit the spectrum of emotions lottery. Therefore, each film was effective.

Craig Robinson (center) with festival finalists.
Craig Robinson (center) with festival finalists.

At the ending of the films, I went back into the lobby. As if run by a Suddenly Salad commercial, there were snacks and bartenders. I then realized I had stolen free soda. I got to talk to Hannibal Buress, a comedian, and Steve Caple who was the recipient of the audience award for his incredible short, “A Different Tree.” I am starting to use Twitter for contacts, and I ended up tweeting back and forth with Hannibal Buress, asking him for a reference so I can get an Internship at Comedy Central. I have yet to convince him, but will keep on trying.

All in all, I will definitely go again next year and glad this program exists. Any young filmmaker in NYC should take advantage of the opportunity!

By Digital Film Academy Student Blogger Harley Page

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