Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

ALERT: As of a few minutes ago, ShortsFest Opening Night was on standby! Get your umbrellas ready and line up early.

Y’all know how much I love the SIFF Shorts Packages, and I definitely found some gems this year in the packages I had time to preview. All shorts programs are showing at SIFF Cinema Uptown this year.

ShortsFest Opening Night {Thursday, May 25, 7pm}  
My very favorite this year is Bear, (teaser trailer above) which plays as part of the Opening Night package. It’s the “sequel” to a short called Spider, which is about how this guy Jack always takes things just a scoonch past too far when trying to impress his girlfriends.

In Bear, Jack plans an elaborate birthday surprise for his new girlfriend (watch Spider here, re: why she’s new) that goes horribly awry. Also endearing: both shorts include original songs by Ben Lee & wife Ione Skye that are super-cute! Diane Court! Singing! I love it. Go, Nash Edgerton (who also stars as Jack)!!!

Other Opening Night Shorts standouts: Fishing Without Nets, a documentary about Somali Pirates that is simply STUNNING; The Return, about a guy rejoining his family after many years in a Serbian prison, aka: the most depressing short film I’ve ever seen; and Friend Request Pending, which is maybe a little too precious for its own good (OMG old people! Using Facebook! Like teenagers!), but Dame Judy Dench can do almost anything and I’ll still like it.

Over the Edge {Sunday, May 27, 3pm}
A trio of interesting shorts stood out for me in this package: Bobby Ellis is Gonna Kick Your Ass, a kinda-cute and pretty amusing day in the life a teenager who inadvertently angers a bully during the bus ride to school, and then spends all day going through the stages of grief while being told by everyone how much the guy is gonna wail on him; Peekaboo, about a mother who loses her toddler in a parking garage, was a nice exercise in suspense, ending with a fascinating turn or terror; and Up the Valley in Beyond, which caught my interest mainly because it's a period piece that stars Jim Parrack (Hoyt from True Blood) as B-movie legend Russ Meyer and a bunch of buxom bikini-clad women with huge … tracts of land.

WTF {Sunday, May 27, 9:30pm}
Aptly titled this year, for sure. And, this probably goes without saying, but definitely NOT for kids. Highlights from this package: FTW, about a determined girl whose focus on winning a local race is unwavering, even in the most extreme circumstances; Hello Caller, about a woman who calls a suicide hotline and reaches someone who doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing … or does he? Tom Lenk (Andrew, of nerdy BtVS fame) cracks me up, always; Meaning of Robots, this one is fascinating if only because I would never imagine some guy spends all his time making robot porn; and Pass the Salt, Please, which is another “old people doing stuff you don’t expect them to” short, and is interesting in a pretty perverse way. I’m really interested in others’ opinions on this one, actually.

ShortsFest Closing Night {Monday, May 28, 6:30pm}
Standouts: The Extraordinary Life of Rocky, a quirky story about a boy who unfortunately attracts really, really bad luck that ends up being fatal for everyone he loves; Jim & Frank, a cute imagining of how two famous Muppeteers met and started working together; The Last Virgin, which is about a teenage boy trying to get laid for the first time that moves into WTF territory towards the end; and Superman, Spiderman, and Batman, a tear-jerker about the cutest toddler in the world wishing for his sick mom to get better. You will end this one with "something in your eye." For sure.