Curve (Australia) (2016)
A young woman wakes up sitting on a curved surface, clinging to it for dear life. This short is very simple in concept, yet possibly one of the most grim and dark short seen this year. There is not clear, or unclear, way of the situation this young lady is in and signs are accumulating that others did not have any luck in her position. Written and directed by Tim Egan, the film has no dialogue and only one character, making the most of its location and the situation the character is in. The star, Laura Jane Turner, gives a very good performance and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat as she tries to get in a better situation. The film is grim and her performance suits it well, showing desperation and a need to survive.
Iron Spyder (Australia) (2016)
A young man goes to work as an underground masked wrestler in a loud, club-like location. This short about identity, persona, and what is the real someone. The film shows a colorful, loud environment where a seemingly introvert finds his courage and “voice” to be who he wants to be. Written and directed by Yoav Lester and Christopher H.F. Mitchell, this short grabs the viewer and keeps their attention with everything from wrestling to fire play to strippers. The short shows a lot all at once and yet is focused on the lead Spyder giving him the central focus in the chaos and cacophony. The acting is good, the way it is shot with cinematography by Leigh Mackenzie and the way it is edited by David Blackburn bring everything together and make it work.
Judy (USA) (2016)
A man receives a robot by special, unexpected, delivery and promptly decides to have sex with it. As he discovers all that his robot is capable of, he neglects its upkeep and things go awry. Written and directed by Ariel Gardner and Alex Kavutskiy, this film explores the most likely way a very realistic robot would be welcomed by a secluded nerd. Playing the recipient of the robot is Pete Banowitz who is played by Paul Isakson who gives a creeptastic performance. In the part of the robot, Judy, Kate Freund plays her cold and emotionless for most of the short, which is quite fitting. The film is also cold and rather emotionless throughout, with cold color patterns and tones, giving the entire film the same feeling of loneliness and lack of care from the characters involved.
Overtime (Australia) (2016)
On a Friday night, a man is put to work with lots of overtime. This is a major problem for him as it is a full moon and that is an even bigger problem for him. Written by Craig D. Foster and Emma McKenna and directed by the former, this short is fun and funny with very good effects by Adam Johansen and Damian Martin and good performance by lead Aaron Glenane as Ralph. The film does not hide the fact that it is about a werewolf and a big part of it is his transformation which is a good take on such things and show what practical effects can do. This short is a prime example of a film that works great in short runtime.
Return of MIZUNO (Japan) (2016)
A young woman is recruited to come back to the military to fight a mad scientist who is using psychic powers to destroy people and reach new levels of power. Written by Kaori Amamizu, Chiaki Kawahito, and Hikaru Tsukuda and directed by Hikaru Tsukuda, this is one of those WTF-inducing films that is all over the place. Normally this reviewer is all about the WTF films, but this one is a bit hard to follow and with some scenes not having subtitles and title cards/writing on screen not translated, it makes it even harder to fully follow the story. From what is made out of this whole thing, it has a lot going on; some decent fighting that is rendered hard to see by too much shaky cam and quick cuts. It is a short with a lot of potential, but unfortunately does not live up to it.
A family coming back from vacation is stuck in traffic at the entry of their city. In this future, population control is necessary and they will need to pass “The Tunnel” to make it home. This short is full of tension and despair as this family makes its way to the tunnel to find out their fate. Based on a short story by Alice Glaser and written and directed by André Øvredal, this Norvegian short is beautiful in how its shot and somber in how it handles its subject matter. The family in the car is played by Siri Helene Müller, Kyrre Haugen Sydness, Max Amundsen, and Maria Dingsøyr-Henriksen who all put in good, nuanced performances, with the parents showing more worry as they know more about their destinations than the kids. It’s a dark short with an interesting subject and should be seen.
Vitamins for Life (USA) (2016)
Shot like an educational film, this very short short is all about fake vitamins and their effects on the human body, or the effect of the lack of these vitamins in some cases. This film is based on a series of tweets, written by T.R. Darling, and directed by Grier Dill. It’s funny, ridiculous, and even almost sweet? It’s an entertaining few minutes.
Ithaca Fantastik 2016 ran from the 9th until the 13th of November 2016.