It’s pretty disappointing that the Academy almost cut out the entire Live Action short category this year for the Oscars, as there are so many wonderful short films nominated. There are five pretty fantastic short films with strong messages about childhood and loss of innocence, and I hope now that they’re back in the broadcast, that audiences get a chance to watch and celebrate them.
Undercrank Productions deserves a ton of credit as they are releasing films and silent cinema that no one else has even approached yet. While boutique studios are dabbling in eighties and seventies obscure gems, Undercrank and Ben Model are back in the early 1900’s restoring the short films of Alice Howell, a silent cinema comedic actress who was once compared to her contemporaries Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, folks that want to bone up on the history of women in comedy cinema, this is a great place to continue your education on how much they’ve contributed, and the unsung voices of comedy.
With the 91st Oscars airing on February 24th, I’ll be going over the trio of short film topics and their nominees leading up to the premiere. With short films often getting overlooked (Live Action Shorts was cut from this year’s broadcast and then re-inserted after big protests) I was interested in checking out the Oscar caliber shorts making the list. It should be noted that most of the animated shorts are directed by women this year, which is refreshing. Here is the list and the short I hope wins.
Most of the time we get such a backlog of short films and feature length indie films that we work hard to take them all on and review them before the year is up. In “Shorts Round Up of the Week” we review a round up of short films of varying quality.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
This week we have a trio of shorts from Chris McInroy, a psychotic tattoo artist, and the tale of a walking baby.
Winsor McCay was one of the most important pioneers in the development of animated films, and his creations Gertie the Dinosaur and Little Nemo are still celebrated for their wit and artistry. In this episode, we learn about McCay’s formative years and the influences that helped to shape his creative genius. Our guest on this episode of “The Online Movie Show” is Kevin Scott Collier, author of “Winsor McCay: Boyhood Dreams: Growing Up In Spring Lake, Michigan 1867-1885.”
Written by Clarissa Jacobson and directed by J.M. Logan, Lunch Ladies is a horror-comedy short that packs a punch. It’s one of those that is easily watched and for which is humor works and so does the gross-out factor. Together, these two create a fun short that more than worth its runtime and that allows the viewer a bit of a break from the usual when they fully give in to what Seretta and LouAnne have to offer. The film is kept tight and moving with just the right amount of everything, creating the perfect balance between everything going on in the film.
BOOTLEG FILES 672: “Who’s Out There?” (1975 documentary short hosted by Orson Welles).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On a public domain label.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Produced for the federal government, hence the absence of a copyright.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: One public domain label carries it, but a full-throttle digital restoration is unlikely.
During the 1970s, a great deal of attention was being paid to outer space. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) kept people focused on the sky with its various lunar missions and probes into the deepest corners of the galaxy. But many people insisted that space traffic was a two-way endeavor, and sightings of UFOs along with various claims of personal encounters with intergalactic visitors became headline news throughout the decade.
Director Zandashé Brown’s Southern Gothic horror short is a beautifully directed narrative that explores the complex and sometimes darker relationships of mothers and daughters and the stresses of raising a child on one’s own. “Blood Runs Down” has some wonderful imagery and genuinely unsettling moments of terror it’s just mired by ambiguity that makes the overall film somewhat confusing.