Festivals & Awards, TVIFF 2011 — September 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm

TVIFF REVIEW: SHORTS SHOWCASE

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I started off today by hitting up one of the short film showcases. Unfortunately, it may be the only one I get to make this year based on the way the schedule is layed out. Which is a shame because, the shorts are usually some of the best films at TVIFF.

They typically put the films together in groups of five (give or take). I only caught part of this showing, as I had to get to another screening, but I managed to see three well made shorts. They were Signal, The Mischevious Case of Cordelia Botkin and Potter’s Field. It was actually kind of an interesting pairing as the last two films mentioned were directed by a husband and wife from USC who each produced each other’s films. Here’s the breakdown from the fest on all three films:

SIGNAL, USC, USA, 2010, 18 min
WRITER / DIRECTOR: Chris Farrington
Against the backdrop of 19th-century wireless telegraph experimentation, a scientist must survive a confrontation with a distraught local who claims the mysterious technology keeps him from contacting his recently departed wife.

THE MISCHIEVOUS CASE OF CORDELIA BOTKIN,  USC, USA, 2011, 19 min
WRITER / DIRECTOR / PRODUCER: Cat Youell
In the midst of a harshly disapproving Victorian San Francisco, Cordelia Botkin, a charmingly passionate woman, find the love of her life outside of her marriage in a Mr. John C. Dunning. However, after being given an ultimatum by his wife, John breaks it off with an unsuspecting Cordelia, plunging them both into lonely and agonizing depression. Cordelia, cornered and desperate, sees only one way to win John back: by eliminating his controlling wife with a box of arsenic laced chocolates. Although caught red handed, Cordelia’s passion and spark bring an incredible (and true!) twist to her fate.

POTTER’S FIELD, USA, 20 min
WRITER / DIRECTOR: Brad Crowe
Daryl Hexler has had to take care of his mentally and physically handicapped brother Sebastian all his life. When Sebastian dies in a freak bathroom accident however, Daryl embarks on a darkly comedic journey involving beach cremations, body donations, and carpool lane violations, all the while learning one of the toughest lessons in life: how to grieve for the loss of family.

The first two films I mentioned had amazing acting and production value and were both shot extremely well. The Mischevious Case of Cordelia Botkin started off like a Harry Potter movie. It was pretty amazing. Unfortunately, they both lost me for the exact same reason… they just ended… abruptly. Right as I felt the story was taking off, there was a scene and then The End! I felt disappointed like I wanted more which is why my rating may be a little low. On the encouraging side, I felt like they both had the potential to be great features which is why I hope the filmmakers pursue that.

The highlight of the three films was Potter’s Field which was a very simple premise. A boy’s brother dies and he can’t afford to give him a proper burial. He also refuses to take him to Potter’s Field where all the poor and indigent are buried. So, he sets off to dispose of his brother in various creative ways. At one point, he even tries to cremate him in a firepit at the beach.

The film is pretty damn funny. My only complaint is that the premise was so great it had the potential to be even funnier. However, don’t let that statement mislead you. It’s a pretty damn funny short film. If possible, I would suggest giving it a look!

SIGNAL

♥♥ & 1/2

THE MISCHEVIOUS CASE OF CORDELIA BOTKIN

♥♥♥

POTTER’S FIELD

♥♥♥ & 1/2

2 Comments

  • Seeing Shorts Showcases are probably my favorite part of going to festivals. Years ago, I dreaded the thought of seeing a bunch of films not good or long enough to be a feature (as I might have thought then), but have come to really appreciate them, so much that the wife and I make a point to see the nommed ones in theaters every year now before the Oscars (save for the docs, which generally don’t make it to the theaters). Good times. Hit and miss, to be expected, but there’s always one or do worth digging.

    • I didn’t do as many this year which was a bummer but the fest as a whole got a lot better in quality this year. These three all looked like feature film quality. Proud of this little fest! 🙂

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