The Fan Carpet’s Tremayne Miller shares her Reviews for Shorts Block 1 at the 2019 Edition of the London Independent Film Festival
The London Independent Film Festival (LIFF) is the premier event for first and second-time film-makers, micro-budget and no-budget films in the UK. LIFF offers a fantastic opportunity for indie filmmakers to showcase their achievements, with spaces reserved for first and second time filmmakers and for films that have been overlooked by other events.
LIFF presents the best of low-budget filmmaking from around the world, and mixes it up with relevant industry discussions and targeted social networking events. LIFF’s audience is London’s sizeable independent filmmaking community. It’s an indie film festival for indie filmmakers.
Here, The Fan Carpet's Tremayne Miller shares her Reviews for Shorts Block 1 that showcased the films Kindling by Emma Catalfamo, Mr Punchbag. by Shirit Kedar, Frank Burke & Gavin O’ Brien, Positive Action by Alasdair McWilliams and You’ve Got To Be Kitten Me by AJ Lamb....
A Live action Short by Emma Catalfamo
“Kindling” is comprised of three individual vignettes, following the experiences of Mary and her mother, and Mary's mother's persistent problem with alcoholism . As it worsens, the roles of mother and daughter reverse, and the situation becomes increasingly more difficult.
Addiction is an equal opportunity disease.
Statistically in America, one in every eighth person suffers from substance abuse disorder. TV shows and films would have us believe that the people who suffer from addiction are homeless people, out of work, who live on the street. However, this simply isn't true, since addiction can also be found among those people you are around on a day to day basis.
The amount of money that is in one's bank account, or the job position you hold within a company is of little importance.
"Your perspective in life will determine your destiny,” Kirk Franklin.
Catalfamo transposes effectively on to screen what it's like growing up with an alcoholic parent. Observing them as they transform into a person you don't recognise, then unintentionally following them on their rollercoaster of a journey, including all the ups and downs, sometimes in equal measure, or in a seemingly continual downward spiral.
Addiction is a disease but that does not mean to say that it is not in any way irreversable -through sheer abstinence, therapy, and perhaps other sorts of treatment.
Addiction is a chronic disorder, therefore, should a relapse occur, it does not constitute for failure. Processing the events around the relapse could actually serve as a strong source of prevention in the future.
Whilst an addict may not be responsible for their disease, they can choose which fork in the road they take . In order that they may recover. And it need never be done without help, so long as 'the cycle of pain' has been established.
*"I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become” ~Carl Jung
About the filmmaker
Emma Catalfamo is an accomplished filmmaker and photographer based in Toronto, Canada.
With a deep interest in framing the world, it naturally lent itself to filmmaking, and her photography.
She's particularly interested in telling unique stories and conveying complex imagery and feelings through the creation of visual spaces - slices of life, realistic events, shown in ways which defy the mundanity of everyday existence.
Mr Punchbag @mrpunchbag
In the back streets of inner city London a broken man exists as a human punchbag
The character of Mr Punchbag bears resemblance to Ray Winstone and Line of Duty star Stephen Graham.
Film needn't always be 'word heavy,' as film short Mr Punchbag shows. In fact, it leads us to ask the question, 'how would cinema differ had we not gone down the spoken word route?'
Completely wordless (or with little dialogue) short films can still inspire, as stories are created around moving images, which are equally as informative. One example of this is the short Over (2015) by Jörn Threlfall, where over the course of nine static wide shots a story unfolds, in reverse order. It does require some patience, however, as each frame must be meticulously looked at. But as you're watching a movie, a large part of your brain is already preoccupied, as it processes the images it has placed before it.
Mr Punchbag amplifies the sound; sounds that would otherwise go unnoticed, however, in this instance I believe it is to highlight the purposeless life he lives. Resizing is a recurring theme in fiction, and in Mr Punchbag the surrounding high rises are intentionally enlarged. 'Why?,' you may ask. To create a feeling of claustrophobia, of being towered over, and ridden of all the identity and power one has.
In one bathroom scene, in particular, at the same time that he reveals his bare flesh, so does he bare his soul. A soul in complete and utter disrepair. Sitting on the rim of the bath we can make out a tattoo, on which is the inscription "Sharon." We don't suppose we will ever be introduced to her but make the assumption she has either left him, or passed away.
In the next pivotal scene a God's-eye-view is captured of him, whilst he sits at the edge of the canal, its crossroads, to be exact, recognising the one he is at in his own life. It undoubtedly is a beautiful shot, if not melancholic as we, the voyeur, also recognise, more than ever, the impact this heavy world is having on him. I Referencing here, as well as the enlarged high rises, got me to thinking about George Orwell, and the idea of what little power we have, we surrender up to world domination, that is to say 'the superpowers.'
'On a routine call to a missing person report, a young constable is thrust into a terrifying encounter with a re-animated corpse. Injured, he faces an agonizing wait to discover whether or not he will share the victim's fate.'
Alasdair McWilliams's 'Positive Action' (or 'Positive A') is written by McWilliams and Andrew Cant. It makes up part of a continuation, the second instalment, having said, which, it isn't 'a must' to have seen the first.
The 'zombie stem' as I have coined it, could it sincerely have out of a 'survivalist mentality,' which itself arose at the end of World War Two?
From violence in video games to the explosion of 'the zombie thriller,' a prime example for which would be television series, where, on the surface at least, we seem to be discussing the apocalypse.
The fascination with the end of the world traces back to the advent of nuclear warfare during the war.
We aren't simply interested in our own survival but also humanity as a whole. The idea of humans nearing extinction has become a lot more widespread. And the drive for survival is an inherent attribute that mankind carries.
There has been a notable increase in TV, film literature, and the graphic novel on the topic of ‘post-apocalyptic worlds.’ Brought about by nuclear explosions, pandemics or the proliferation of horrific creatures.
The film, set in the countryside, begins with Jamie (Elliot Cable), a police officer, who has been asked to investigate a stench coming from a house in the neighbourhood.
Mr Barrow is tracked but would appear long gone, that is till the story takes an unexpected turn.
Of all the swerves we could experience we descend into a pernicious world of zombies and humans, caught completely unawares! The syringe of Mr Barrow, a diabetic, haphazardly pierces through Jamie's skin. Paramedics and investigating officers arrive, and a curt face-to-face with the authorities follows. A clever storytelling device, I would say, as it is able to establish the characters' backstory.
Jamie's character arc has been well developed. A great arc, after all, can prove to be quite a challenge. An arc is used to drive the plot, and thus makes the story relevant, and long lasting.
McWilliams takes his time in laying down a story line. I question if this in fact may have been deliberate? In any event, it provides protagonist Elliot Cable adequate time in which to polish his clear wide range in acting skills.
Andrew Cant is not only known for Positive action (2018) but also, Soldiers of Embers, and Balloon (2018).
In Positive action he uses lens to lift what otherwise could be a very static film, or where the different locations are kept to a minimum.
A scene worth highlighting involves Jamie tip-toeing to Mr. Barrow’s house, and the light which filters through the window pane is a stunning mix of light and shadow.
Positive Action In A Fast Zombie Consuming World.
Now available on Amazon Prime
You’ve Got To Be Kitten Me
'The Purrrfect Comedy about an eccentric inventor, her cat and a serious case of mistaken identity.'
I found I could make distinct comparisons between Megan's character, and those of two other inventors that I have come across in film, Pee-wee Herman in 'Pee-wee's Big Adventure,' and Wayne Szalinski in 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.'
More specifically, the iconic breakfast machine which starts off 'Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,' and despite being completely unrealistic, it excited generation of children.And in 'Honey I Shrunk The Kids,' as inventor Wayne delivers the titular line to his wife, managing to shrink their children accidentally with his electromagnetic shrinking machine, then proceeds to put them out with the rubbish.
'You've Got To Be Kitten Me!' is made up of an upperclass cat, (think baby Stewie in Family Guy), awaiting a date, an eccentric inventor, and a slightly irritable grandfather.
We end up asking ourselves what could possibly go wrong amidst a far fetching mistake. Megan creates a machine, which like any other invention fails. Cecil the cat fast finds himself in a state of mental uncertainty, after his transformation into Megan, then munching his way through the salad he's bee given , in order that the grandfather does't suspect anything.
'The Purrrfect Comedy'
Lemon has been quoted for saying that she likes to be challenged by the director, and that certainly is the case in 'You've Got To Be Kitten Me!,' displaying a natural talent for Comedy.
She, also, has spoken up in regard to scripts for women, and the disheartenment she herself has felt when the sole purpose of a character has been to 'serve the man;' there does seem to have been a shift, however, where a movement is building toward 'more rounded female characters.