Sundance Film Festival: Shorts Program 3

By: Amanda Guarragi

I wanted to check out Shorts Program 3 for one short film in particular but I was pleasantly surprised with every other film in this program. Short films have the ability to make you feel so much in such a short amount of time and that is why they’re important to watch! Here are my reviews for each of them.

Wiggle Room
dir. Sam Guest and Julia Baylis

Courtesy of Anarene Films

Review: The film has a young girl making an appointment with her insurance agent because her wheelchair ramp will be repossessed by the end of the week. What worked really well was the tension that was built from a simple situation, i.e. filling out paperwork in a waiting room. The editing and score when waiting for the next number to be called, was different and worked really well. There as already underlying tension with another client, who left the place absolutely furious with their service. From the moment she steps into the insurance agent’s office, you could tell he was shady. She was completely prepared with her paperwork and he still found some way to scam her. The title of the film really sets in, in the second half of the piece because of a turn of events involving the angered client who left before. It had a really great ending that can be interpreted in different ways.

The Longest Dream I Remember
dir. Carlos Lenin

Courtesy of REDIANCE

Review: As Tania leaves her hometown, she confronts what her absence will mean, as she searches for her father. Lenin’s camerawork is absolutely beautiful and adds so much depth to the story. It’s almost as if there are haunting moments in Tania’s mind that mix blend in with her reality. You can tell that Tania is really struggling with the process of leaving and the idea that her father could be gone for good. It’s an internal struggle for Tania and we go on this journey with her.

Ava From My Class
dir. Youmin Kang

Courtesy of Youmin Kang

Review: It’s always great to see young actors give great performances and that’s what young Ava did. Being a theatre kid myself, the journey taught me to be more opened and accepting of others. There are plenty of warm-up exercises that will make you feel childish but there is something freeing about them. Ava was completely taken by one of her friends in her class because of how good of an actress she was. She really admired her because of her confidence, something that Ava felt like she was lacking. But like all good short films, there was so much more to discover about young Ava and Youmin Kang revealed her character slowly.

Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss
dir. Sonny Calvento

Courtesy of Southern Lantern Studios

Review: It started with a vintage commercial for ‘Trendysitas’ and then went into the reality of the treatment of retail workers. Not only from customers but from management. A young saleslady, named Vanjie is about to lose her job and she pulls out all the stops in this very humorous take on corporate sales teams. It has really strong, funny moments with witty dialogue that will make you root for Vanjie in the end. It has so much to say about the treatment of workers and how they fit into a fabricated social class based on financial status.

dir. Mitch McGlocklin

Courtesy of Mitch McGlocklin

Review: The level of detail and structure that went into this short film was incredible. There are so many layers to this and it was really inventive. A life insurance company uses an artificial-intelligence algorithm to determine the risk of a new applicant. There are plenty of ideas discussed, especially how to move forward with life during moments of hardships. It explores the ideas of alcoholism, depression and the inevitability of death all while keep the structure of the AI moving on screen through different scenes. It was a very unique piece and it had a wonderful score to tie this all together.

Black Bodies
dir. Kelly Fyffe-Marshall

Courtesy of Sunflower Studios

Review: This is was the short film that I was looking forward to the most and it spoke volumes. This had so much power because of the spoken word poetry that echoed loudly over the haunting visuals in this piece. Fyffe-Marshall made incredible choice to highlight the words, while choreographing the movement on screen. This short film about a Black man comes face-to-face- with the realities of being Black in the twenty-first century is one of the best pieces I have seen so far during the festival. It’s emotional, poignant and a necessary watch.

We’re Not Animals
dir. Noé Debré

Courtesy of Manifest

Review: Ah the drama that comes with relationships and social media. Igor’s ex, Marie became an Instagram star because of an activist group focused on the female orgasm. His best friend believe that it is a ploy to prevent him in finding someone else. This was a fun watch because of all the drama that surrounds Igor and Marie’s relationship. It had some really funny moments but you can sometimes get lost in what they’re saying or trying to say about social media and relationships.

dir. Akinola Davies Jr.

Courtesy of Potboiler Productions

Review: Another short film with such a strong performance from a young actor. Juwon (Pamilerin Ayodeji), an eight-year-old girl with the power to sense danger, gets ejected from her Sunday school service. As she walks around the area she witnesses so many different things and is taken aback when it leads to something even worse. It’s always difficult to see such cruel moments through the eyes of a child but Ayodeji’s performance is fantastic. The film does have some pacing issues but the performances will carry you through to an unexpected ending.

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