As the year begins to wind to a close and we move further away from the incredible HollyShorts Film Festival, HollyShorts and BitPix are still working hard to bring new, talented artists to the forefront. With this month’s return to the bi-monthly screenings, we get a look at some new, exciting films. A big thank you to all of the creators who were selected and are showing off their work to us this time.
Other Bodies – A surreal and engaging film by Alyssa Loh, Other Bodies is a story told through the eyes and words of its protagonist, Mark. A student of literature, Mark shapes his outlook through the classics of the past, using them as a tool to find others that share his odd habits. It’s here that he finds someone, a person who wants to let him in. It’s a bit of an ephemeral film, told both through Mark’s words, as well as memories of his actions. This is a movie that delves into feeling, into thought, presented without context or a lot of clarity. But that’s what makes it so interesting, weaving a one sided tale that’s cryptic and dreamlike, echoed through the low voice of Mark, played by Ian Cramer. Joining him in this is Eva Ravenal, who is excellent opposite Cramer.
First To Respond – Directed by Nanako Fukui, this four minute short shows the power and heroism of first responders. On average, three to four minutes is the response time to many emergencies, allowing us to get the story of the traumas that responders see on a daily basis. Traumas that are both something they react to, and something inflicted on them. In the time it takes to watch this film, which is mostly told through the words of San Francisco first responder Carla Beyer, a first responder could get a call, react and be on the scene, potentially saving a life. Hearing the stories of Beyer and how she handles a high-stress and dangerous job is inspiring and worthy of so much respect.
Swimming – An incredibly beautiful film, Swimming brings us a look at two friends who lean on one another in an attempt to deal with their feelings towards fatherhood, both in the present for one, and in a potential future in another. As they enjoy each other’s company and a day at the beach, they hare, talk about their feelings, and lift each other up, showing their affections for one another in a way that most films that focus on two males in a platonic friendship rarely do. While there is some seemingly romantic tension, the love they share for one another is deep and real, exploring their emotional bond is a wonderful way. Sam Dash and Julian Elijah Martinez have chemistry that is off the charts, adding realism and intimacy in a way this film truly needed to be as good as it is. Written by Dash and directed by Shadi Ghaheri, it’s a truly emotional film that takes something as simple as friends sharing with one another, and adds so much depth.
Layover – A film by Matthew Petti, who also stars, this short follows John, who is stuck in a hotel room during a layover. With little to do other than attempt to contact someone important, we watch John make a series of anxious missteps and flubs while trying to make plans and kill some time. It’s oddly tense, but also funny, bringing surprising fascination to some very mundane tasks.
Today – Tense and violent, Today shows the cycle of abuse in a way that is hard to look away from. As a woman suffers the wills and influence of her husband, the days seem to blend together in this surreal 1960’s landscape. This is an endlessly fascinating film that mixes elements of science fiction with this mundane but fraught suburban life, showing the darkness of abuse, it’s destructive pull and the effect it can carry, both physical and emotional. Written by Philip Cristian Claassen and directed by Andrew Jaksch, this is a deeply powerful film that brings so much to the table, especially from the cast of Tom Farrah and Jessica Tanner.
People Person – A wild, visually stunning film, People Person is writer/director Rymalena’s cyberpunk thriller, with bright, psychedelic lights, mind- warping visuals and an animation style that is underused and very underappreciated. The story follows MZ, played by Carla Hailwood, a young woman looking to escape reality. She ends up finding that solace in a VR program that obscures reality in favor of a preferred simulated environment, at least until she stumbles upon a discarded program called People Person, which instead of simulating a new reality for you, delves into your own personality, allowing for digital avatars to give you a dose of introspection. It’s a fast- paced mass of energy, lights and flashing images, visuals that bend and twist. The rotoscoped feel of the animation lends itself well to the idea that everything we see is basically a filter laid upon reality itself. It’s beautiful, frenetic and wild, as well as highly entertaining.
Another big thanks to the creators who have shared their film with us! Be sure to check out the screening from November 4th to November 7th, only on BitPix!