Rat Pack Rat is a somewhat bizarre drama about a Sammy Davis Jr impersonator who is hired to visit a dying man. It is hard to pin down the genre as there are comedic elements but it is by no means funny and, like many Sundance films, which tend to be dialogue-heavy, there is an inherent awkwardness to it and some cringeworthy sexual moments. Rohal has been making short films for twenty years, and has more recently moved into feature films with films such as The Catechism Cataclysm.
Simon Ellis won the International Short Filmmaking Award at Sundance and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2008 with his great short film, Soft. It is the gritty story of a son and father tormented by a gang of 'happy-slapping' youths, but with neither apparently being brave enough to fight back. Simon Ellis went on to make the feature film, Dogging: A Love Story, in 2009 but scored less success with this film.
A science-fiction short film and Sundance winner with a subtle A.I. feel to it, High Maintenance was written by Scot Simon Biggs and directed by American Philip Van, but produced in Germany. Van says, 'I aimed to make a film about the future but emblematic of our era' and thus we find an attractive middle-class couple at dinner, but with the woman failing to get the romantic responses she wants from her 'man'... could I put this on my romance page?
You may have to watch The Natural Route (Larutanatural) a couple of times to truly appreciate it - it certainly took me a little while to work out what was going on! With writing partner Martí Roca, Alex Pastor has created a beautiful film with a heart. It is a little like The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story turned into a 2008 feature film. It won at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and Pastor has since made two thriller feature films.