short film review

Reviews and news about short films, short film festivals, reviews, links and guides to short films online,images from short films,directors,writers,cinemaphotographers. Copyright 2005, 2006 by Allan Maurer. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sundance Short Film Winners

"Bugcrush," directed by Carter Smith, won the jury prize in the 2006 short film program.

"Bugcrush" is a creepy little short about two high school loners, one of whom turns out to be much weirder than the other suspected. It's done in 16mm and on my small screen looks good enough for any big screen. The acting and technique are impeccable and the story engaging. I do so wish to see short films with more satisfying endings, though.

The winnerand the two runners up, "Before Dawn," and "Preacher With an Unknown God," demonstrate sophisticated filmmaking technique. It's difficult to believe that "Preacher" was shot on DV, but it was. "Preacher," is quite literally dazzling at times with its evangelical congregations, interspersed bus-window travelogs, its continually moving camera, sharp cutting, low angles, and tracking shots, its ribbons of color and character whipping continually by, all their own hypnotic attraction. Rob VanAlkemade directed. Although VanAlkemade has been a cinematographer, sound recordist, producer, director and editor on a number of projects, his credits do not appear to include music videos or commercials. His techique has a bit of that quickcut feel, that razzamatazz of images. I like it myself, but if you don't, you won't like "Preacher."

"Before Dawn" is the most subtle and sedate of the three, but has it's own simple charm that reminds a little of Kielslowski because of its stark, nearly colorless pre-dawn gray-blue landscape. Early on, there's a lovely film moment when the people come out of the fields to get on the truck.

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