Narrative Shorts Block 3 [Slamdance Film Festival 2019]

Blast Beat (2018)
“Blast Beat” doesn’t have much of a premise; it’s merely a slice of life for a black metal band. When a guitarist (Alexandre Dostie) auditions for a black metal band, he has a hard time convincing the lead singer that he can play with and for the band. When she (Corinne Cardinal) decides to try out his vocal abilities, he doesn’t quite seem to be up for the task. “Blast Beat” does have a few funny beats in its four minute run time, including the unusual ability of singers to be able to switch from beautiful opera to loud booming howls for their audience. Pascal Plante’s short is a fascinating and comical look at a skill many underestimate.

Butt Fantasia (2018)
Mohit Jaswal’s is a purposely goofy and weird short film that doesn’t have much of a narrative, but may just inspire some laughs. An older man sitting at a bus stop comes in possession of a magic hat. Said hat allows him to re-live a lot of his more memorable moments in life as perceived through bare asses. Working on purposely cheap sets and some rather nude asses, “Butt Fantasia” is a bizarre bit of satire with nothing to say, but some raunchy laughs to be had. You can also leave it trying to think of as many butt puns as possible. You can be as cheeky as you want, you have an opening. See?

Charmer (2018)
Judah Finnigan’s short drama is a fascinating look at two people basically doing what they probably swore they’d never do: settle. Set on a night of a blind date, two middle aged people meet up for dinner and are quickly surprised to learn they are nothing like they promoted themselves as on their profiles. Deciding to have dinner anyway after a tense first meeting, things quickly take off for the pair. But in the end as the woman looks down on the situation that’s unfolded we’re left thinking about the time in some people’s lives where they’re forced in to a corner. With their clocks ticking, is it wiser to settle on someone or keep looking for someone compatible? And what if that compatible person is never found? Is it worth just having someone there for the sake of not waking up alone? “Charmer” is filled with a tough question, but it’s a fascinating one.

Hierophany (2018)
Kevin Contento’s dramatic short explores the unflinching relentless nature of a God that is currently wreaking havoc on the land depicted here. Three young men look for animals to give to the God to spare their land, but when the food turns up short, they begin getting desperate and fighting for the last of the offerings. The direction by Contento is stark and fascinating with a world that looks foreign thanks to choice locales and black and white photography. While the premise is a tad bit confusing at times thanks to the applied ambiguity, “Hierophany” is a good short, with a very good concept with a very grim finale that opens up the world we see.

Woman in Stall (2018)
It’s very obvious by the excellent final scene what message director Madeleine Sims-Fewer, and Dusty Mancinelli are trying to get across in “Woman in Stall.” And it’s quite successful. You wouldn’t think such a tense short film could be set in a bathroom stall, but the pair of directors makes it abundantly clear that for every woman, any setting can open them up to terrible danger, and a predators lurking around corners. Rushing to make it to a job interview, a young woman finds herself in a bathroom stall preparing, until suddenly a young man comes knocking at the door. What seems like a casual meeting at first quickly transforms in to a tense exchange of words, as she realizes she might be in immediate danger if she doesn’t think on her feet. Directed with tight angles and close ups to convey the sense of tension and claustrophobia, “Woman in Stall” is a great thriller.

The Slamdance Film Festival runs every year from January 25th to January 31st.