By Robert Sanchez
All of the films selected for the Short Film Competition were excellent. Three stood out in my mind. Transgression offered us the story of Norma, a transgendered woman, who told an incredible, heart-wrenching story of her time in the American immigration system. As a transgendered individual, she was isolated from the general population, placed in solitary confinement “for her own safety,” and even denied medical care. Nora’s story was carefully crafted, moving, and insightful. And it hammered home the point that we give civil detainees fewer rights than criminals.
My Piece of Happiness won the day with its story of a man’s journey with his young daughter. The story was bittersweet, a day of ponies, beaches, and play overlaid with the frantic, concerned mother’s voicemails and reminders of the custody agreement. This gem was well deserving of the three awards it walked away with – People’s Choice, Best Screenplay, and First Place.
Sweet Mosquito was beautifully shot, using a muted color pallet and slowly building the slightly absurd scenario. I loved the pale blue uniforms and white pajamas used for the characters.
Little Tombstone featured intricate, stylized animated backdrops and gritty characters. The showdown at high noon had an unexpected twist that definitely makes this short worth watching.
King’s River had the most interesting legal questions. Virginia is not the only street with the odd rule that floating on a river in a canoe is legal while standing on the riverbed is trespassing.
Daisy Cutter was completely disturbing, as a commentary on the effect of war should be. Most of this animated film was a slow, sad walk of a little girl who had lost a close friend. Her mood improved dramatically when she was able to join her friend at the end of the film, a jarring image of the effects of war.
Schengen was an well-crafted, if frustrating, look at bureaucracy and the power imbalance in immigration situations.
Although the credits were longer than the entire film, Public Nuisance was a delightful bite. The juxtaposition of state-of-the-art 1930′s technology with the modern classroom created a wonderful visual for the term public nuisance.
All in all a fantastic end to a wonderful film festival.