June 2021 HollyShorts Bi-Monthly Screenings

It’s that time once again, as HollyShorts and BitPix team up to show another slate of incredible short films from some inspiring creators. This screening has some very special projects, and it’s exciting to be able to share them with everyone involved, and those who love the medium. These films will be screening virtually from June 3rd at 3 P.M. PST until June 6th, only on BitPix.

Ouroboros – A wonderful film by French-Canadian filmmaker Maxime Le Flaguais, Ouroboros is a gorgeous and well-shot film that tells the story of a man whose deepest desire is to have a child, so much so that he develops a plan to make it a reality, despite the consequences. Starring Steven McCarthy and Mimi Cote, this film is a visual wonder, bringing in so much to the story, especially considering there is nothing in the way of actual dialog. Every moment of this story is told visually, in a way that is beautiful and nerve-wracking in a really great way. It is definitely one of the more unique films in this screening, and one not to be missed.

Permafrost – Aeryn Lee and Nathaniel Porter bring us an incredible film that has its origins in something very real. With the world devastated by climate disaster, a small group attempts to make its way through frozen north Texas in search of something important. They rely on something rare in this world, one where oral tradition and storytelling has replaced literacy; a young girl who has the gift of map-making. This is a wild and wonderful concept brought to life by the stars of the film; Joni Adahl, Nini Crannell, Gentry Lee and Meghan McNeil.

A Girl Called Isabelle – Talented creator Elizabeth Taufield stars alongside Lily Sondik and Michael Maloney in a film directed and written by Taufield about a woman who finds herself challenged after a very interesting and life-altering trip to London. From the very beginning, this film is fascinating. It’s slow and tense, with all three actors doing an incredible job of building that pressure in various ways, with long moments of silence combined by these dizzying moments of rapid-fire dialog that makes things seems both a slow burn and fast-paced, spiked by moments of incredible tension. It watches almost like a play, with a focus on just these three people, keeping the attention on their every word. It’s an excellent example of how to do a lot with very little.

Middle Of Nowhere – Written and directed by Molly Shears, this film focuses on a girl in the throes of loss. After her brother passes away suddenly, Dezzy takes the time on her break for the summer to mourn, finding some very interesting things in the process. From her cousin, who steals doormats to sell for extra money, to strange and fascinating creatures in the woods. This period of grief takes an odd turn, changing the lives of her and her younger sibling. With stars Charlotte Salisbury, Noah Gibney and Patrick Speagle all bringing so much to the film, this is an ethereal and fascinating piece of cinematic art.

Bruised Fruit – This terrific film by Christopher Jarvis and starring Alex Meitz and Sam Meier is a touching story of two friends who, despite their struggles, find something special in each other. They live on the fringes, busking to make due while living in a created community full of others who are going through the same struggles, trying to find a way to live out their dreams and exist in a world that doesn’t seem to give them much attention or respect. These two people are part of an entire community of those who lead their lives this way, both free and restrained at once. But with that restraint comes danger, and the losses of their community sting especially hard, since only those within the insular community will feel it and the world will all but ignore their pain and continued struggle. This is a beautiful piece of work, highlighted by Meitz and Meier, who deliver impactful performances that really make the audience believe how good of friends they are and how much they care for each other, and how tight-knit a community like this can be as they live life on the fringes and create a family all their own.

I Make Good Sounds At Parties – This comedic short takes the idea of going to a party and turns up the volume on the concept in a way that is hilarious and very relatable. Starring Russell Goldman (who also wrote the film), Nicolette Acosta, Magnus Christoffersen, Teresa Lee and Artoun Nazareth, this Amanda Prager directed film hits all the right buttons for a fun, quick comedy. It brings all the existential dread and anxiety that comes with parties and tells it through the lens of one very nervous man trying to make it through the social gauntlet. It was a very fun watch.

50 Shades of Quarantine – Look, the last year and a half has been hard on everyone, with the struggles of getting through the pandemic has truly taken its toll. During this time, certain personalities have really come into the forefront more than they have in the past, especially those who live their lives online. With so much more focus being on the internet, videos and more, online personas have made their way into the mainstream even more than usual. Kelly Pantaleoni is excellent as the many wild characters that have become more and more popular, really locking in on some of the more out there personalities and the ways they’ve changed as the quarantine has progressed. It’s a wonderfully hilarious look at how the world has changed, especially online, in the last year or so. Also important is the way that Pantaleoni does their part in terms of support and outreach, with links to wonderful organizations ending the project.

Zero Day – A film by Darren E. McInerney, this short thriller is a fascinating psychological tale that focuses on Ben, a backpacker looking to find peace in the majesty of the Appalachian Trail. In an attempt to center himself and take some time away from the world, Ben hits the outdoors, and in this case, the outdoors hits back in the form of a strange couple whom he meets on his journey, with the intention of driving Ben to a breaking point. This is an intense film, with lots of buildup and suspense as things begin to turn more and more during what was supposed to be an isolated trip for Ben. With excellent performances by Justin Huen, Raquel Nave and Jacob Rose, this was a wild ride that couldn’t be recommended more.

Dope Mister Dee – Written by Juliet DeVette and Kendall Giliberti-Severson, with direction by DeVette, this gorgeously shot film focuses on young Dizzy, who is still nursing the wound of their father going missing. Still struggling this this, Dizzy recounts memories of their father while exploring the world under the waves, along with some help from their imagination, as a child would. It’s a heartbreaking film, but one of great beauty, as Dizzy uses their underwater excursion to find a way to let go of a hole in their life that is far too large. Carson Severson is incredible as Dizzy, each moment of loss and sorrow coming through perfectly. Joining Severson is Murilo Franco and Corbin Severson, completing the small but very talented cast. The acting is superb and the underwater filming made this a very beautiful film worth giving a look.

For The Gram – This under four minute film stars Jessica Michael Davis, who, along with her Director of Photography, created an entire film in just three days, from writing to the final moment of shooting. This impressive speed ties into the film itself, which focuses on an aspiring influencer who goes through a ton of effort to create a post that will get her popular on social media. It shows off the lengths people will go to be famous, and how the number of likes a photo gets can be a direct influence on the feeling of self worth in a person. This feeling of instant gratification and its correlation to self-esteem is extremely relevant right now, and something that has made certain social media platforms very volatile in the eyes of many. With some very interesting lighting effects to help accentuate these points, this film, while short, has a lot to say.

A shoutout to all the very talented people who worked on these films, not only for the work they’ve done, but for sharing it with all of us. This was a terrific slate, and as always, these brilliant creators have shown us the value of projects like these, and of this medium. Hopefully this is only a small piece of what we see from these skilled filmmakers. Be sure to check out this slate of films form June 3rd-June 6th, only on BitPix.

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