Most people believe Tribeca is all about the big pictures. However what makes it fun and different is what I believe are the backbone of most film festivals, as they are both the stepping stone for filmmakers and the quicker way to see more entertainment in a minimal amount of time; the short films. There were several this year that not only had more production and entertainment value then the features but actually attracted name talent.
SEE ALSO – our interview with Sharon Badal
According to short film programmer Sharon Badal, the themes of the films actually help create their own program blocks, each being a mix of assorted genres. For instance the “Deadbolt” category contained a film by writer/director Daniel Klein titled “AB –“, a sci-fi/horror story about an injured man getting some rather strange treatment after an auto accident. It was scary, visual and in just nine minutes managed to give a full story reminiscent of a “Twilight Zone” episode. Also in “Deadbolt” was director Jason Mann’s film “Delicacy,” a dark comedy about a chef and food connoisseur searching for the meat of a rare animal. It was funny with a twisted ending that made you craving more than its eleven minute length. Finally “Peanut Butter & Jelly” by David Winkfield proved that titles can be deceiving as this dramatic narrative followed a young girl through a world of mystery, drugs and violence.
The “Worst Day Ever” category contained the charming “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” by Stephen Dunn which explored a young girl’s entry into womanhood with only her grandfather to guide her. The story was relatable and the acting quite compelling. This was followed by David Schlussel’s “Setup, Punch” (pictured) starring Elijah Wood as a stand-up comic who must win back his audience after suffering a traumatic on-stage experience. Obviously the script was good enough to attract an actor of Wood’s accomplishments and his performance made you forget he was “Frodo.” The category ended with “Fools Day” by Cody Blue Snider, a delightful yet dark comedy about an April Fool’s joke gone wrong. The nearly all-child cast had the right balance of fear and humor, the pacing was excellent and the production value impressive.
All in all, the shorts at Tribeca this year offered diversity, were thought-provoking and creatively satisfying in one quarter the time of a full length movie. They also gave great insight as to which filmmakers may be back next year with features.
Long live the shorts!