January 19, 2014

15 Sundance Short Films, Right Here, Right Now, For Your Viewing Pleasure

sundance film festivalIt's that time of year again, No Film Schoolers. The Sundance Film Festival, the Super Bowl of independent film, has made its way back to Park City for another year. Last year, the folks at Sundance did something unexpected; they uploaded 12 short films selected to play at the prestigious festival and premiered them on YouTube. The film with the most views once the festival concluded would then be awarded the YouTube Audience Award. The online competition has returned for its second year, and the lineup has expanded to 15 films, ranging from narrative to documentary to animation and beyond. Check out a few of this year's Sundance short films below.

MeTube: August Sings Carmen 'Habanera':

Description: "George Bizet's 'Habanera' from Carmen has been reinterpreted and enhanced with electronic sounds for MeTube, an homage to thousands of ambitious YouTube users and video bloggers, and gifted and less gifted self-promoters on the Internet."
Details: Fiction. 4 min. Austria.

The Big House

Description: "When a young Yemeni boy ventures out of his cramped apartment and finds a key to the empty mansion down the street, he lets himself and his imagination run wild in the big house."
Details: Fiction. 5 min. U.S./Yemen.

Catherine

Description: "Catherine returns to work after a hiatus."
Details: Fiction. 13 min. U.S.

Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns

Description: "Love is swapping clips with your spouse."
Details: Documentary. 2 min. U.S.

Notes on Blindness

Description: "In 1983, writer and theologian John Hull became blind. To help make sense of his loss, he began keeping an audio diary. Encompassing dreams, memories and his imaginative life, Notes on Blindness immerses the viewer in Hull's experience of blindness."
Details: Documentary. 13 min. U.K.

Allergy to Originality

Description: "A humorous animated 'Op-Doc' explores the rich history of adaptation, plagiarism and other forms of appropriation in art."
Details: Animation. 4 min. U.S.

Chapel Perilous

Description: "Levi Gold is paid an unexpected visit by Robin, a door-to-door salesman with nothing to sell. The ensuing encounter forces Levi to confront his true mystical calling and the nature of reality itself. A metaphysical comedy trip-out with Sun Araw."
Details: Fiction. 13 min. U.S.

Burger

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRw9i47yKtc

Description: "It's late night in a burger bar."
Details: Fiction. 11 min. Norway/U.K.

Gregory Go Boom

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQIphe-smHc

Description: "A paraplegic man leaves home for the first time only to discover that life in the outside world is not the way he had imagined it."
Details: Fiction. 17 min. U.S. Features Michael Cera.

Dig

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCXQrDqic1s

Description: "A young girl watches her father dig a hole in their backyard. Mystified about his purpose, the neighborhood comes to watch."
Details: Fiction. 10 min. U.S.

Passer Passer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAaLtoU9ck8

Description: "An animated city symphony celebrates the hidden world of background noise."
Details: Animation. 4 min. U.S.

Rat Pack Rat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m101Q9uOYh0

Description: "A Sammy Davis, Jr. impersonator, hired to visit with a loyal Rat Pack fan, finds himself delivering last rites at the boy's bedside."
Details: Fiction. 19 min. U.S.

Crime: The Animated Series - Marcus McGhee

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HC-Qew8K_s

Description: "From Bank robbers to cops to victims to observers, Crime: The Animated Series explores how crime affects us all. The series is dark, compelling, heartbreaking and yes - sometimes funny."
Details: Animated documentary. 4 min. U.S./Canada.

Funnel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1CIGKiz8xo

Description: "A man's car breaks down, and sends him on a quest across town that slowly turns into the most fantastically mundane adventure."
Details: Fiction. 7 min. U.S.

There is one more film (if you want to call it that) called Cruising Electric that could not be embedded here. Check out this Official Sundance Playlist and scroll down to the bottom to watch it.

So there you have it folks, a select crop of this year's Sundance short films. Now let's hear your thoughts down in the comments!

Link: Sundance Film Festival Short Films Playlist -- YouTube

[via Mashable]

Your Comment

18 Comments

Catherine reminded me very much of Pleasantville and The Truman Show.

January 19, 2014 at 9:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Could someone please kindly explain what Catherine was all about? It was strange and mesmerizing at the same time, didn't find it funny though.

January 19, 2014 at 11:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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heylo

Heylo,

I would argue that not everything as to be "all about" anything.

PEACE

January 27, 2014 at 3:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Adam S.

I didn't get Catherine's appeal, and I'm a fan of Jenny Slate.

Burger was excellent. I loved the acting especially.

January 20, 2014 at 8:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gavin

Notes on Blindness blew me away. Stunning.

January 20, 2014 at 11:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Umm... Dig? What? I've never been so interested in something so simple.

Burger was an interesting 'slice-of-life' short. Both it and Dig have no ending to speak of. No character journey, no arch... just in-the-moment realism. Not my thing but I appreciate it, I suppose.

Notes on Blindness was incredible.

Not sure what I think of the Matching Handguns short. It was certainly a commentary on American gun-infatuation or an exemplification of the mentality wrought (most probably) by American news fear-mongering as postulated in Bowling for Columbine; without explicitly stating so. However, it didn't have the same "holy crap" impact as say the woman raising and selling rabbits for food in Roger and Me or the brainwashed families in Jesus Camp. As such, it didn't inspire me to question what circumstances brought them to their decision. I just accepted it for what it was at the end and was ready to move on without a second thought.

January 21, 2014 at 4:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Nick

Catehrine- The only reason I watched the entire short was to see why it was selected to screen at Sundance. The sad thing is when It ended I am still wondering.
Burger- Had great acting but, I was waiting for something to happen. There was a few moments of tension that fizzed out to nothing.
Gregory go boom- Was oddly entertaining and I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times which is always a good thing.
Dig- looked and sounded excellent and the kids were cute but after that one I decided not to waste anymore of my time watching the Sundance shorts.
I would say watch them yourself if you have the time.

January 21, 2014 at 8:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Watched the first 2 and they were awful and pointless.

January 22, 2014 at 11:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Jake Jabbs

No one has mentioned Funnel yet. It is really entertaining. It looks terrible and is sloppy from all technical points of view but the character rules so it still works.

January 22, 2014 at 9:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Brooks Reynolds

CATHERIN! WTH was that??? i mean, i was so interesting for me, because that short has a different treatment with the images making a narrative. I liked that. But the end was like what????? ......please somebody explain what were they tring to do with the short! what was the final point??

January 24, 2014 at 3:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Julian Guerrero

Julian,

The fact that the film was "so interesting" for you, as you claim, partially answers your own question. I would guess that the point of the film was to give you an experience. It did give you an experience, did it not? The conventions of narrative cinema – character arcs, progressive event sequences, plot formulation/justification, motivated in-the-moment-reality – only exist to give an audience an experience, to tell a story.

Perhaps the film has some underlying thematic purpose, but i don't necessarily believe that it really had to have one to be a worthwhile piece of cinema.

The poet William Blake once said that "reading a poem for its meaning is like eating an apple for its seeds". I believe a similar statement could be made regarding cinema. The work of David Lynch, like him or not, supports this idea – i think.

January 27, 2014 at 3:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Adam S.

Does Sundance choose the most mundane, boring movies possible to showcase at their festival? It's hard to believe that out of the over 8000 short film submissions to their event every year these are the best???

January 24, 2014 at 5:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Metrov

Matching handguns looked like a reality show segment, not a film.

January 25, 2014 at 1:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Dandy Trooper

I would like to point out, just for fun, that filmmakers make the worst film critics. Young – self proclaimed –creative people, myself included, tend to over intellectualize their art/craft when watching films made by peers – short films especially. That opinion being stated, i would also guess that most aspiring (insert creative job in film industry: directors/writers/editors/cinematographers) tend to not see their own work clearly, or their own work/self image, as it properly relates to the context of their peer community/aspired level of competence and/or genius.

Personally, i enjoyed about 10 of the selected films and i feel like i understand why they were chosen, for this year's line up at least.

At the end of the day all that matters is that people enjoy/appreciate the films when they watch them. When i use the term people, i do not in any way mean aspiring filmmakers; they are not people at all. You are all, myself included, conditioned to watch/appreciate specific elements that make up cinema, wether it is writing/storytelling/cinematography. That fact alone means that we are out of touch with the average audience member to some degree – although that might be a good thing depending on who you might ask.

To make a long story short, i am better than all of you – just kidding! I have an amazing capacity for self delusion, as i imagine most subscribers to this site share with me.

– ADAM

January 27, 2014 at 3:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Adam S.

Catherine had a very good start and then, it went nowhere. why on earth the apple? I thought it would go into the direction of the "imaginary back to work" and then she would wake up in reality with all these horrible co-workers around, but no...

January 29, 2014 at 7:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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catherine was fun;
i felt like it was a huge homage to lynch, the whole vhs look; the ambiguous acting, the unsettling music...

February 1, 2014 at 12:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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"Allergy to Originality" - dialogue of Tarkovsky and Eraserhead. :)

February 2, 2014 at 3:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Arkkotangens

Notes on Blindness is deserving of any film festival.

March 29, 2014 at 10:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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daybreak