Grab bag of shorts from #Slamdance2024

Shorts make up a big part of the Slamdance Film Festival. Short films provide filmmakers a way to develop their craft. Shorts are also the best way to tell stories. Do you need two hours to make a point? Short filmmakers can often do it in a much shorter period.

Here are a few of the Narrative shorts:

Lan’s Garden (directed by Jennifer Ru Zhou, 11 minutes). Here is a film about aging. Lan is getting old. She has spent her life caring for her family, but now her children and grandson are coming to help her. It is hard for her to accept this situation. This is not a plot driven story, rather it is about the shifting dynamic that is a part of aging, one that may be resisted, even though necessary.

Deserter (directed by Aiden Lesser, 12 minutes). A woman is taking her mother with dementia on a drive.The mother doesn’t recognize her daughter anymore. She his rude and angry. Where are they going? The destination may be surprising, and hard to accept—even for the daughter.

Kayla’s Baby (directed by Clark Comstock, 16 minutes). A mostly silent teenage girl and her sister are forced to relocate to an abandoned housing development. They befriend an old man and a teenage boy with whom they share a common adversary. But the peace they find cannot last.

Dissolution (directed by Anthony Saxe, 15 minutes). In this hybrid documentary, the director’s parents play themselves as they reenact the signing of papers to end their marriage after 48 years. Family home movies show happier times in their lives, but the father’s struggles with alcoholism is too much for them to continue their life together.

Restorage (directed by E’an Verdugo, 29 minutes). Technically this is not a short, but the pilot for an episodic series. Robert and his siblings receive their inheritance. His brother and sister get all the family wealth, but Robert is left the key to a storage unit. He discovers that broken things left in the unit are fixed. Can it fix the family relationships?

Here are some of the short documentaries from the festival. (By the way, I really like short docs.)

Dumpster Archeology (directed by Dustie Carter, 14 minutes). Lew Blink seeks out the stories that can be found by looking at the things people have thrown away. He may find strange objects, or the records of many years of life and happiness.

A Short Film about a Chair (directed by Ibrahim Handal, 10 minutes). The filmmaker keeps track of a chair sitting on an abandoned balcony, photographing it over many months. Then one day the chair isn’t there. In time it may change his life.

Fortune (directed by Shirley Yumeng He, 5 minutes). A brief search to see what is reality in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The film is bookended with the creation of fortune cookies.

One of the Unstoppable shorts that I didn’t fit into the post on that section is Dosh (directed by Radha Mehta, 16 minutes). A hearing-impaired woman is dealing with her husband who is showing signs of bi-polar disorder. He refuses to consider treatment. Soon his action endanger their son. Will that be enough to move him to take action?

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