It’s nice when I can put groups together when writing about shorts, but today I’m bringing a bit of a hodgepodge of films that are showing at HollyShorts Film Festival.
Sevap/Mitzvah, directed by Sabina Vijrača, tells the true story of two friends in Bosnia during World War II. Zejneba was Muslim, Rifka was a Jew. They had been friends since childhood. Now with young children, they still share their lives. When Zejneba sees the Nazis rounding up Jews, she convinces her husband they must save Rifka and her family. At great risk, Zejneba brings the family to her own home until they can be evacuated safely. Move ahead to 1993, when Sarajevo was being bombed and “ethnically cleansed”. Rifka makes arrangements to find and evacuate Zejneba and her family to Jerusalem. An interesting aspect of this film is that it is built around the biblical story of Esther, which the two women loved to play out as children and shared with their children. [Note: While not related to HollyShorts festival, Sevap/Mitzvah was recently awarded the Humanitas Prize.]
Jack and Sam, directed by Jordan Matthew Horowitz, is another story about two people during the Holocaust. This documentary includes interviews with two Holocaust survivors who met and became friends in the Pionki concentration camp. Jack escaped into the forest, but Sam continued to work as slave labor until liberation. Both found their way to the US, but never found each until much later in life when they both retired to Florida.
I Am What You Imagine, directed by Matthew Modine, is one of the films in the Experimental/Surreal category. It uses expressionistic visuals, music, and commentary to create a metaphysical experience. It has a certain New Age quality to it and could be seen as theistic and/or humanistic, depending on the viewer’s perspective.
The Sons of God, directed by Sebastian Torres Greene, is set in 1525. A priest who is part of a conquistador expedition in the New World has doubts about what the men are doing. But the commander is devoted to fulfilling what he sees as their divine mission at any price.
Remote, directed by Eric Jungmann, is a bit of sci-fi. Two young siblings are at the family pawn shop (Dad’s off getting dinner) when a strange object comes into the parking lot. Inside is a little metal sphere (which is a kind of sentient robot) and a metal cube. The alien makes friends with the kids. When two people come to rob the shop, the robot gets to work, and the young boy discovers he can control what happens with the cube. It gets a bit gory. Think of a mix of E.T., Short Circuit, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
That’s Our Time, directed by Alex Backes, shows us a man talking to his therapist about his inability to make meaningful connections in his life. In time we will learn that there’s a good reason his relationships never quite work out.
Villain, directed by Sparky Tehnsuko, is a fantasy story of an orphaned girl whose home and family have been destroyed by a dragon. Set on revenge she travels to the dragon’s lair, where she makes an unexpected discovery. Her vengeance has its own cost.
Myth, directed by Alies Sluiter, is more about being evocative than about plot. As a young girl deals with the loss of her mother, we see her visions of her mother being spirited away into the nether world. The film uses dance and human structures to take us into this fantastic realm.