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Tuesday, 9.28.04: Classroom at the Movies

It's always good to check out the competition. Oh, I mean it's always good to show support for my fellow filmmakers.

Every month our local arts theater host an "Emerging Filmmakers Series" for NY filmmakers only. I went to one before. That was because "The Valentine 1955" was playing. I decided I better go regularly, if only to get out of the house past 9 P.M. once in a while.

There were 6 short films tonight, ranging from 7 minutes to 26. One was made by kids -- cute (though my nephews have done better). One was a brief documentary on a black (as in African-American) cowboy group in NYC -- interesting.

The others were efforts at serious narrative filmmaking. They were all entertaining, with excellent production values. Good camera work, good editing, interesting locations, and decent acting. They were also flawed, as productions by emerging filmmakers must be.

This Is John by the Duplass Brothers, Brooklyn. Guy has a meltdown trying to get the message on his answering machine right. Cute idea, well acted. Worth 2 minutes, not 8.

Avenue X by Phil Roc of Brooklyn had 2 Deaf kids scamming some money in order to make a day trip to Coney Island and ride the roller coaster. It was beautiful -- except that it lacked a plot. Nothing really changed from beginning to end. Was it supposed to be one of those pseudo-European deals? Life happens while you're wondering what to do tomorrow?

Fault by Justin Swibel, NYC. An angry 12-year-old has a meltdown at his tennis lesson and kills his belligerent instructor. What's up with that? Was it a nightmare? A fantasy? A mood piece? Gimme a plot with some reverses, some complications. (See yesterday on Act II.)

More Than Friends? by Jeff Burns, Troy NY. Now this one had a plot! Boy meet girl, boy wants girl, obstacles take over, boy loses girl but gets another. A madcap dorm comedy. The only flaw (if you like that genre) was that the editing could have been tightened up.

Oooooo -- now I'm sounding like a critic, pronouncing my opinions with arched eyebrow. I don't mean to be a bitch (I like saving that for our President). I'm trying to take these occasions as my informal classroom. How would I have done these differently? Tighten up, more story are tonight's lessons.

 

NOTES

Little Theaters, Rochester NY

 

 

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