Film Review: MY LIFE I DON’T WANT, Myanmar, Animation

Played at the March 2017 ANIMATION Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERMY LIFE I DON’T WANT, 12min, Myanmar, Animation
Directed by Nyan Kyal Say

A short animated film about the life of a Myanmar girl inspired by a true story.

Review by Kierston Drier:

With bright simple visuals and powerful symbology, this dramatic and powerful Myanmar animation coming to us from director Nyan Kyal Say is the story of one sunny optimistic young girl put through the hardest sides of life simply because she is born female.

Victim of a systemic gender bias family and society, our heroine is a unrelenting easy to love, even when she walks alone down a road that will lead her to endless heartache.

What makes this piece so admirable is it’s ability to draw on hope- our character is broken again and again by life’s cruel circumstances. She is shuffled from family to family, from one abusive situation to the next, from one misfortune to another- all while appearing to never give up. Until, of course, all seems dark…

But what happens to our heroine is just one story in a sea of heartache. For the issues of gender injustice in our world are plentiful, and the fight for equality rages on.What choice does our heroine have?

Where does she go when all is lost? To know, you must watch the beautiful, simple, powerful and bright film that is My Life I Don’t Want.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated b Matthew Toffolo:

Film Review: HANGING, USA, Animation

Played at the March 2017 ANIMATION Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERHANGING, 6min, USA, Animation
Directed by Nick LeDonne

An abstracted animated documentary based off of Nick LeDonne’s personal struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts after a near attempted hanging in November 2014. His feelings of depression are personified through a dark luring fog and a loving mother desperately trying to keep her son alive.

Review by Kierston Drier:

Hanging a USA animation directed by Nick LeDonne, is a deeply emotional, deeply powerful piece that takes a raw and honest look at the seriousness of the depression in the mind of a misunderstood boy longing for comfort.

Told through a voiceless abstract lense, our character battles the onslaught of words and labels- symbologies for the troubling thoughts that plague his mind- and must choose between the relief of death or the trauma of continuing to live. The personification of a mind of suffering may be a difficult viewing experience for some- but for many it will be an eye opening and important film.

There are very few films that so clearly capture the sense of entrapment and suffocation of mental illness. The visual style personifies the depth of despair- something that is perhaps difficult to understand if never experienced first hand.

While Hanging has a darkness to it, it also has unspeakable bravery- a clear and heart wrenching look at the battle one men wages between his inner demons and the sanity of his mind and soul. A difficult film to distill, because it is such a powerful film to witness.

 

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated b Matthew Toffolo:

Film Review: BABY AND GRANNY, Animation

Played at the March 2017 ANIMATION Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERBABY AND GRANNY, 2min. USA, Animation/Comedy
Directed by Zheng Kang

A 2D animated action-comedy about a baby and granny who share a common bond (Baby’s Mother is Granny’s Daughter) but who fight like crazy when left alone. The visuals are highly-influenced by the work of 60’s Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein

Review by Kierston Drier:

 
Short, punchy and full of action Baby Vs Granny will turn classic familial love of a grandmother and a grandchild on it’s head. This two minute UAE animation directed by Boubaker Boukhari boasted bright colors, lighting fast reflexes and two family members ready to square off when no one else can see them.

This piece totally delivers where color and character are concerned. Stylishly animated mostly in black and white with special attention paid to coloring the main characters, it is a lightening fast and never skips a beat.

It speeds through it’s short time with whirl-wind intensity, feeling like it is only a few seconds long, rather than a few minutes.

A comedy which needs little to know dialogue and is outstandingly visual, BABY AND GRANDMA is an awesome film to watch!

 

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated by Matthew Toffolo:

Film Review: POKER NIGHT, 11min, Canada, Comedy/Romance

Played at the March 2017 COMEDY Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERPOKER NIGHT, 11min, Canada, Comedy
Directed by David Metcalfe

A fun, comedic short film about a group of twenty-somethings living in Toronto; poking fun at stereotypes, and breaking expectations.

Review by Kierston Drier:

This subtle, sweet romance-comedy film will test your knowledge of relationship boundaries. Poker Night is a great Date-Night discussion piece directed by David Metcalfe. When the girls’ poker night is crashed by the hosts boyfriend, the tension is palpable. But it gets worse when the boyfriend invites over his own friends to alleviate his boredom.

His heart’s in the right place it would seem, as he brings his friend to set him up with the one single-lady of the group- but is this ill thought plan going to work?

Falling more on the romance spectrum of comedy, this bright, Canadian piece will remind you of (or make you think of) the youth en metropolitan. The cheap beer, late nights, romance-in-the-eyes-of-every-stranger intoxication that is so often associated with the youth that almost has life figured out. Too old to be kids and too young to be adults, Poker Night will make you chuckle at the good-will but sloppy execution of our leading man and will definitely lead a viewing couple to discuss who “crossed the line” in crashing poker night.

Poker Night does one more amazing thing- it gets tops marks with this reviewer for a kissing scene nothing short of magical. It captures the nervousness, delight and excitement that all the best movie moments have- maybe even more, as it feels so authentic. For that, bravo to Metcalfe, and the ensemble of Poker Night.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated by Matthew Toffolo:

Film Review: A BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE, Australia, Comedy/Crime

Played at the March 2017 COMEDY Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERA BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE, 7min, Australia, Comedy
Directed by Sam Reiher

This job doesn’t turn out quite as well as hoped for these two loveable, yet useless, thieves.

Review by Kierston Drier:

This Australian comedy from director Sam Reiher will remind you that there are bad days in every profession. Two professional criminals case a local house. Unfortunately, they are so practiced at their work and relaxed with their comical discussions that they forget the most important part of their job- like making sure the house is empty before they walk in to rob it.

 

This is one of those short, laugh-a-minute films that ties together slap-stick and witty banter. The characters are loveable flawed anti-heroes that you can’t stop watching. Like any good comedy, the stakes slowly mount higher and higher until our heros are undone by their own faulty desires. The best part of this film is waiting to the final joke. The entire film will keep you laughing, but that end punch line is totally worth it!

 

A classic structure, with a fresh take on a bad day at work, this is a delight little comedy to unwind to at the end of your own long working day.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO. Moderated by Matthew Toffolo:

Film Review: FOUR DAY WEEKEND, 20min, USA, Romance/Drama

Played at the February 2017 ROMANCE Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERFOUR DAY WEEKEND, 20min, USA, Romance/Drama
Directed by Nicole Jones

A middle-aged couple, married for twenty-three years, takes a four-day break from each other and the aftermath leaves their relationship shaken and tested but not broken.

Review by Kierston Drier

 Rich and deeply compelling, Four Day Weekend an American film from director Nicole Jones, is one woman’s recount of her journey through her 23 year marriage to her husband, through the lense of a four day weekend where they both have permission to seek extra-marital dalliances.

She, having been sexually adventurous in her youth, proposes the nourishes the idea in an attempt to give her husband a chance to explore his adventurous side. He, on the other hand, grapples with his feelings about this newly offered freedom.

This is a film that hits that magical sweet spot in the short film world- hitting every note perfectly. Emotionally compelling, heartbreaking honest, charmingly funny, expertly acted and brilliant composed, this piece still manages to be greater than the sum of its’ parts. Perhaps this is because, not only is it a well made film, but it tackles a unique subject matter with both sensitivity and sincerity.

Many love stories, address young love, or old and enduring love. Four Day Weekend tackles love right in the middle- a mature and well developed marriage of equals facing all the nerve-wracking insecurity that comes with trying anything new for the first time. Yet, despite the subject matter of infidelity, this is a piece that really does centre around love. The love of these two people in their marriage is unmistakingly clear. The lengths they are willing to go to make each other happy is a true testament to that.

A strong and powerfully made film, Four Day Weekend will engage you mentally, emotionally and philosophically, while still reminding you that love will always know no bounds. Bravo Nicole Jones, Bravo.

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Film Review: SUNDAY AFTER, 3min. Canada, Romance/Experimental

Played at the February 2017 ROMANCE Film Festival

  MOVIE POSTERSUNDAY AFTER, 3min. Canada, Romance/Experimental
Directed by Nathalie Cusson

What to do on a Sunday afternoon? There are many ways to spend spare time; The one depicted in this short film might be among the best options.

Review by Kierston Drier

 A silky smooth symbolic look at sensual visual stimulation, Sunday Afternoon is a delight for the senses. A Canadian experimental film directed by Nathalie Cusson, this piece is a three minute dive into erotic visual metaphor.

Set against hypnotic music, soft, velvety images and alluringly entrancing close ups of feathers, silk sheets and pearly droplets of water, Sunday Afternoon will have you tingling all over and unsure as to why.

As a three minute experimental film, this piece leaves itself open to interpretation, and yet it remains unmistakably clear. We may not be sure what we are looking at as the audience but we certainly know it’s sexy. It is the testament to good filmmaking, that a metaphor can be so clear and appealing, and remain utterly innocent of overt references.

Tantalizing while remaining obscure, Sunday Afternoon is a delight for the senses, and may very well give you some ideas for how you might want to spend your next long weekend.

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FILM CONTESTSUBMIT your SHORT Film
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writing CONTEST1st CHAPTER or FULL NOVEL CONTEST
Get full feedback! Winners get their novel made into a video!
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