Sunday, January 29, 2006

The 3rd Annual Standing Rock International Short Film and Video Festival.

Last night I was bored and no one was returning my phone calls, so I worked up the nerve to attend The 3rd Annual Standing Rock International Short Film and Video Festival (I'm a bit of a homebody). I'm glad I went because trying new things = good, but I'm not sure that I actually enjoyed the films. I enjoyed the experience of going to a film festival because I always wanted to go to one, but most of the films had me thinking "What the hell is this?" I liked the comedy ones more than the so-called "thought-provoking" ones. Films go by so fast (esp. these, which were short films, one was 30 seconds! Actually, that one made more sense than the longer ones...) that a person can't always think or grasp a "deeper" meaning from them, esp. these films which were mostly collages of images. I think the only person who comes away with any meaning from these films is mostly only the creators themselves, because they are the ones who understand their thought processes. The film festival was full of work from people all over the world, from Kent to Cleveland to Australia to Russia to more.

I liked the films by Darcy Prendergast, an award-winning filmmaker from Australia. He had two in the festival: "Repugnant," a 2 min. film with 2-dimensional animation and "Off the Rails," a 6 min. claymation. These two films really made me laugh because they were so absurd. "Off the Rails" is "about all the crazy people met and observed on public transport," and the spot that had me cracking up most was on Gary the Gravedigger, who talks about how he likes the social part of his work and then walks up to a sobbing man standing over a grave and says "I buried your wife." You can watch "Off the Rails" here.

I also v. much enjoyed "Veruca Meets Bush" by Vince Packard, which is described in the program as a "mediation on childish greed that merges Veruca from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with our Commander and Chief." Veruca Salt, of course, is the child who sings "I want the world / I want the whole world / I want to lock it all up in my pocket." Now imagine a film intermingling that song, Bush's speeches, and Pantera music. Yeah. I'll admit, I liked the concept of this film much more than the execution.

That was my problem with a lot of the films. After reading the program, I looked forward to watching "Soliloquy" by Shannon Moore, which is described as "This awesome 16mm film explores issues of body image and identity with haunting, intimate images. Shannon describes the film as 'An expression of feeling trapped inside an illusion and the desire to escape from hiding behind the false impressions that have provided a sense of security.'" I don't think the film actually expressed that to the audience. To her, yes. Again, short films are such an intimate experience for the creator that I feel it's hard for outsiders to come away with what the creator intended.

Other films made me want to cry in horror. "Blood and Sunflowers" by Christiane Cegavske was esp. creepy. It is described as a "nightmarish stop-action animation piece explores a Freudian world of birds, dolls, and death." You can watch it here. *Shudder.*

Other films had me wondering why people would even consider them good enough to be put in a festival, such as "Movement is Life" by Franklin Miller, which has no point except, I'm sure, to the filmmaker. It's just this statue-like figure walking around and talking nonsense about meeting some guy who says he owes him money. That's all it is.

Robert Banks was the featured artist. He is a celebrated experimental filmmaker from Cleveland, who is prob. best known for his film "X: The Baby Cinema," which chronicles "the commercial appropriation of the image of Malcolm X" by Spike Lee. You can watch some of his other films here.


Darcy Prendergast said...

Hi there.
Darcy Prendergast here from Australia.

Thanks for your kind words on 'Off The Rails'.

Glad you enjoyed it, and glad you plucked up the courage to check out a film festival.

Congrats! hehe

All the best,

Darcy Prendergast, Animator
m: 0401 732 945

Stefanie said...

Wow--thanks for leaving a comment here! Your films were my favorites at the festival, truly. I thought they were hilarious and creative! (And the rest of the audience did, too!) It's been months since the festival, but I still remember "Off the Rails" and laugh. I hope I'm able to view more of your films somewhere, because I think they are great.