Another year, another great festival. These were my top five:
Creating a monster
An insightful documentary exploring the reality of reality television, with a great Q and A with the director after the film finished. In the Q and A we discussed the extent to which docos are constructed. The film reflected on how villains are constructed in reality television, and the impact the creation of the villain has on those cast that way.
The Yak Herder’s Son
This documentary explored the complex issue of the relationship between nomadic yak herders in the mountains of Bhutan and the endangered snow leopard. The film was beautifully shot with cinematography showcasing ragged mist covered cliffs looking down over valley. At its heart was also an interesting moral conflict, between the campaign to save the snow leopard and the impact the leopard has on the lives of the yak herders. There is also a particularly strong mid-point climax which highlights the tenuous nature of the life of a yak herder. A sense of peace, beauty and tension all rolled in to one exquisite doco.
A quirky comedic take on a traveller who is too lazy to experience anything beyond his hotel room and the perils of not switching off skype at the end of a conversation.
Stunning cinematography reveals a woman diving from the highest platform. Taken from different camera angles – in the water, at a distance and from the platform – we get a sense of the tension and the practice, the mindfulness in the moment before a dive. Beautifully shot and edited I felt like I was in the moment with the dive.
A surprisingly funny film with very dark humour. It’s about a suicide hotline, but not exactly as you’d expect. I thought it was very well acted.
The Canberra Short Film Festival runs for about a week in Canberra. This year we watched three sessions or just over half. Sometimes even life gets in the way of movies… shameful.
Night One: Documentaries: which was an engaging affair. These films were interesting and thought provoking but there was a standout overall. Creating a Monster told the story of several Reality TV ‘stars’ and the process behind their depiction on their various shows. Big Brother, The Bachelorette & Married At First Sight participants gave a look at the behind the scenes of the scripted world of reality TV. Also the film maker hosted a Q & A at the end of the night. It is worth seeking out if it makes its way on social media. You can also read her opinion here:
Night Two: a mix of short films, music videos, under 18 films and documentaries. When You Reject A Kung Fu Girl warmed up the session with a good concept comedy of a tinder date and some Kung Fu. Venice was another great comedy based on an international skype call gone a little wrong between mother and son… and the mother’s lover. Suicide Hotline was another comedy that had a lot of heart and made you think with a good twist ending. Wow looks like I tend to lean towards the comedies. But finally my film of the night was actually a music video Heather Tom’s Bigfoot’s Love Slave. I laughed till I cried. When this clip comes out on social media and I hope it does, watch it and I’m sure you’ll feel as awkward as I did.
Night Three: The Awards night: and we found out Suicide Hotline and Venice were award winning films. One this night and international film 3 Kinds of Fear was easily the best drama / thriller of the festival. Finally John and Mary was the standout Indigenous film of the night and weekend. Taking a clear stand against domestic violence (which is obviously the clear stance) this film was clever and made you think.
Another successful festival. I already cannot wait until 2018.
See it at the cinema: You can always come to Canberra next year or try and find short film festivals in your home city.
Looking Forward: Battle of the Sexes with recent Oscar winner Emma Stone (Aloha) and Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) unless we can still catch The Hitman’s Bodyguard.
Movie Talk: The Mummy (2017) was not well received. A kick off to the Dark Universe because Universal Pictures [you know that company with the earth logo] felt that they could join the big boys like Marvel and Star Wars and the studio were uncomfortable that the original kick off film Dracula Untold with Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast – live action) was not going to work.
Oh so back to the film. I rented it, I watched it and now I’ll do a mini review. Tom Cruise (A Few Good Men) is miss cast. He has a buddy cop relationship with Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World) which feels miss placed. The film gets to the point quick but is bogged down with flashbacks and hallucination scenes. The Mummy is maybe a little more influenced by Zombie lore in the way she attacks and speaks English for some reason. Cruise acts to simple for his Hollywood statue and the cool, confident roles he usually occupies and then Russel Crowe (The Quick and the Dead) joins the fray and the obvious world building takes over and the Mummy becomes a side character in her own film. Where have I seen that recently?
Trivia: Wayne Manor in Batman Begins is the same house as the O’Connell residence in The Mummy Returns
Photo: Screen shot taken from Suicide Hotline.