It’s that time again, and for the second monthly screening this year, HollyShorts has teamed with the talented students at Florida State University Film School for a group of wonderful films from incredible filmmakers who have submitted some absolutely amazing pieces. With over half a dozen films in this month’s slate, it is amazing to see what these artists are coming up with so early in their film careers. Be sure to check out this grouping of films from February 23rd to February 27th, only on BitPix!
Fairydust – A young boy is plagued with the loss of his mother, the abuse of his father and so much more in this Sarah Gambles film. Dealing with several struggles, Skylar (Ian Smith) is visited by his fairy goduncle (Ramone Nelson) a black, gay man shunned by his family but there to help Skylar through his trials. The two actors are so wonderful together, and even the difficulties of the film are treated with grace and give hope as they are handled. It’s inspiring and beautiful, and one of the highlights of the screening.
Fish In The Sea – Director Keaton Kish, along with co-writer Karli Roberts have brought a delightful animated short to us during this screening. With Kish and Roberts doing nearly all the work on this film, it’s incredible to see what they’ve pulled off as they tell the story of a young boy whose crush isn’t even aware of him. In order to show her he’s not only there, but there for her, he’ll do anything, even sailing across the seven seas to get her attention. It’s sweet, fun and an absolute treat to watch.
Pink Is The Color Of The Ocean – A beautiful film by director Summer Schantz and co-writer Jazleana Jones, this story focuses on Carmen (Shannon Gallagher) and her sister May (Caroline Skye) as they struggle to make ends meet. As their mother serves time, Carmen has been doing everything she can to provide for May, something that is incredibly difficult. Despite that, Carmen and May do their best to stay afloat, only buoyed by the ocean, a stable part of their lives that brings them solace. It’s heartbreaking and gorgeous, and both actors did a wonderful job telling the story.
Last Chance Saloon – Another animated film, this time directed by Zachary Bright and written by Bright and Adrian Ramirez, it focuses on an outlaw wizard and his young ward who are taking a breather at an out of the way saloon. As they take their rest, a group of trackers on their tale enter, leaving the wizard and his apprentice the choice of fight or flight. It was a very entertaining film that was heavy on the western-inspired action. Using that in what are mostly seen as fantasy characters is a unique take that really helps the film stand out.
Recipient – After a man is released from confinement, he returns home to reunite with his wife. That plan is changed when he finds that his wife has passed, and the correspondence he’s had with her over the past few years was done with someone else. That’s the plot of this heartbreaking and powerful film by writer/director Di Lu. With incredible performances by Haosong Yang and Tracy Ju, this is a fantastic and difficult film that is well worth the watch.
Invulnerable, or the Sudden Inexplicable Invincibility of Hamza Faraz Jansher – Written and directed by Shahbaz Ahmed Khan and starring Khan, Saba Jamil, Greg Marks, Shakil Ahmed and Shiraz Khan, this is a very silly and fun story of young Hamza, who during quarantine is going through some strange circumstances. As if the lockdowns weren’t enough, he’s also developing superpowers that seem to pop up more and more often. To help deal with these changes, Hamza speaks with a therapist to try and sort things out. It’s a strange film, but one that is so satisfying and fun to watch, especially as we see more and more of the strange abilities that Hamza is experiencing.
On The Third Day Of An International Manhunt – One of the strangest and most fascinating films, writer/director Costa Karalis. Starring Jerry Sola as the Numismatis (a coin collector), the film follows Sola as his character searches for a missing coin from his collection. As he does so, something much more sinister is happening in the world around him: an escaped convict, one that is described as basically the most terrifying person to ever exist, is on the loose nearby. There’s something special about focusing on something a bit more on the bland side while wild things happen in the background. Having that happening during the search for the coin really brings this film to another level. It’s an incredibly unique film that is hard to describe, but one that really stands out.
Moonshot – Chase Davis’ film about the wife of a deceased baseball player is a devastating film about family, loss and grief. Jena Brooks is terrific as Micah, a grieving widow who lost her husband as she’s also welcoming a child into the world. To help her with the pregnancy is brother Jojo (Jordan Richards), an addiction recovering from the very vice that took her husband. There is so much to love about this film, from the performances of the actors to the stellar delivery of the story. Its an emotional powerhouse of a film that hurts and also uplifts as the two begin to heal from the many wounds they are suffering from, together.
Midnight Screams – From writer/director Sean Menendez, this film follows a couple on a drive home. During an argument on the drive, Derek (Michael Bonini) and Jess (Hannah Leigh) wind up hitting something in the middle of the road. As they try to find out what it is and move it off the road, they find out that whatever it is there is not quite dead, but is very, very angry. It’s a really interesting horror film that is heavy on the gore. It gives off an old-school horror vibe, and given it’s 1980’s setting, that is very fitting and a great way to build the world of this film.
That is all for this month’s screenings! A big thank you to Florida State Film School and all of the incredible talents that were selected for this. It’s exciting to see what they’ll do next. Be sure to check back with us for more films, reviews and interviews, only here on BitPix!