One of the parts I love about film festivals is the chance to watch shorts. Slamdance Film Festival has so many to choose from. I dipped into three of the short films sections for just a sampling of each.
Sensual Pill (4 minutes), by director Sam 3, is a fast-paced trip all over our planet using time-lapse satellite photography and Google Earth. It is a wonderful job of editing to give us a chance to see bits of our home, even if the frenetic pace doesn’t let us focus on any one thing for long.
(Cathedral) (7 minutes), by director James Bascara, is a computed animated journey through a canyon as we follow a seemingly unending trail of ants.
Crumbs of Life (7 minutes), by director Kararzyna Miechowicz, is a surreal story of a woman and her yeti-like mate, a TV reporter who grows a life-draining growth after being spat on by a pony. Yeah, it’s strange, but oddly engaging.
Open One’s Mouth (5 minutes) by director Akane Murata, is all about the art. There is neither plot nor characters. This is more a work of modern art than surrealism.
No Soy Óscar (15 minutes), from director Jon Ayon, is a look at the US-Mexico border area. Ayon, a first-generation Latinx father, is fascinated by a news story of Óscar Alberto Maritínez Ramírez and his 23 month old daughter who drowned together in the Rio Grande. He travels to various points of the border, only identifying them by the name of the indigenous peoples who never ceded the land that is now divided into two nations.
Gladiolus (6 minutes), from director Azedeh Navai, is a very brief overview of how the flower came to be popular in Iran since 1950, becoming a symbol of celebration, and then later, a popular decoration for graves.
Telos or Bust (12 minutes), from director Brad Abrahams, is a look at some of the people of small town Mt. Shasta, California, and their beliefs about the spiritual and metaphysical nature of the mountain they believe is the location of a portal to an underworld filled with immortals. Lots of New Age spirituality here, but very interesting people.
A Table Is as Good as Nine Lives (12 minutes), from director Christina Leonardi, uses home movie footage and narration by elder family members to create a piece of oral history spanning several generations.
Unstoppable shorts (featuring stories [either narrative or documentary] of people facing the hurdles of life):
Signs and Gestures (13 minutes), from director Itandehui Jansen, is a feel good story of a young blind woman who is going to meet a man from a dating app. She hasn’t mentioned on her profile that she’s blind. When she arrives, there is another problem, he never mentioned that he only spoke sign language. Can love bloom?
Ipseity – Marisa’s Story (5 mintues), from director Nicholas Stachurski, is the story of a young mother who gives us much of what we might call beauty. When she was 18 she lost all her hair to alopecia. Now, because she has the BRCA breast cancer gene, she has opted for mastectomy. Just as she felt she found a new beauty when she lost her hair, she now expects that her life will find new value after her surgery.