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Film Of The Week: Blue Hole

Blue Hole by Erik Gardner (2012) (USA) (12m) 15 Certificate

With Halloween approaching, here's a look back at Blue Hole, a big hit on the horror film festival circuit. With a clever, circular idea at its core, Blue Hole tells the story of an eerie lake, near a cabin in the woods, that is said to be the dwelling place of the Devil. A couple staying at the cabin read up on the legend and decide to visit the lake, only for the entity within the water to pull the woman in. Based on the unfinished writings about the lake, the man believes he can retrieve her...

Fast Horse by Alexandra Lazarowich (2018) (USA) (12m)

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, Fast Horse is a short doc about Indian Relay, a bareback horse racing sport from the Native American community. Although the riders clearly care for their horses and the documentary explores the close relationship between the Native American people and their animals, it is a somewhat uncomfortable watch for a vegan, as the horses have no real choice as to whether or not they participate in this extreme sport. Having said that, there seems to be little more danger involved for the horses - and there are no fences - than with normal horse racing.

The Full Story by Daisy Jacobs (2017) (UK) (7m)

After the BAFTA-winning The Bigger Picture, competition judge Daisy Jacobs continues with her unique blend of painting and stop-motion animation with The Full Story, though there is also live-action thrown in and she is joined by co-director Christopher Wilder for this project. Although similar themes - of family dynamics - are explored in The Full Story, it is a different family from that met in The Bigger Picture. In the new film, we focus on Toby, who is selling his childhood home and, while walking through its empty rooms, remembering how his happiness turned to helplessness and anger.


Sing by Kristof Deak (2016) (Hungary) (25m)

Sing won the Academy Award for Best Short Film in 2017; reaffirming the Academy's commitment to honouring films which centre around a child. Inspired by a true story, Sing (Mindenki) tells the story of Zsófi, who joins a new school with a famous, festival-winning choir. Although Zsófi is allowed to join the choir, she is soon asked by the manipulative singing teacher to mime instead of vocalise the lyrics. But is she the only one whose singing is not up to scratch or is the whole choir a sham?



Feast by Patrick Osborne (2014) (USA) (7m) *

Posting Dear Basketball reminded of this superior Oscar-winning animation. Proving that the Academy is made up of dog lovers, Feast, like Mr Hublot, has a dog at the centre of the story. Its director, Patrick Osborne, had also worked on Disney's Oscar-winning short animation, Paperman, so it was always likely to fare well. Winston is a dog living on the street until he is taken in by a couple who work at a restaurant. Despite apparently horribly overfeeding him, Winston maintains a healthy weight and when the couple's relationship hits the rock only he can save it.

Dear Basketball by Glen Keane (2017) (USA) (4m)

Dear Basketball won the Best Animated Short Film Academy Award in 2018. One suspects that it would not have won the award if the Oscars were not held in the United States, where basketball is so popular and such overt mawkishness is seemingly more acceptable than in Europe. It probably did not hurt that most Academy members live in LA, and Bryant played for the LA Lakers. The title is pretty self-explanatory: it is a valedictory love-letter from Kobe Bryant to basketball, the sport that made him a superstar.


Maurice by Francois Jaros (2015) (Canada) (13m)

Maurice is a French-language short film from Canada. It tells the story of the eponymous Maurice, who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and decided to take his own life before he loses his autonomy. Thus he sets about putting his affairs in order before the day of his suicide arrives. Maurice manages to negotiate this sentimental subject matter without being too mawkish and although it is Canadian, the film feels very French in its mien (pun intended).


A Woman And Her Car by Loic Darses & Lucie Tremblay (2015) (Canada) (28m)

In competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, this short documentary is a real "found footage" film: Loic Darses found old video tapes his mother, Lucie Tremblay, had recorded in 2003 and pieced them together. Lucie had recorded her long journey through Canada to deliver a letter to the man who abused her as young girl. A poor camerawoman with an average video camera, at times there is little more than sound, but this does not detract from the tension when Lucie finally confonts are aged abuser. Loic then juxtaposes this soul-searching journey with the video footage Lucie took of the family.

For Nonna Anna (2017) (Canada) (15m)

For Nonna Anna won the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. It tells the story of Chris, a transgender teenager who is caring for her elderly, Italian grandmother (nonna). Chris expects her nonna to disapprove of her new gender but will the older woman surprise her? There is little dialogue - and what little there is often in Italian - making it feel like a mood piece and somewhat reminiscent (like many festival films) of Lynne Ramsay's early shorts. It is also filmed in the 4:3 format made popular by Andrea Arnold.


Negative Space by Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter (2017) (France) (5m)

Made by the Japanese/American animation duo of Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter, but financed by French entities, Negative Space was nominated for the Academy Award in 2018 after winning many awards at short film festivals around the world. A beautifully made stop-motion animation, it tells the story of Sam, who learned how to pack a suitcase from his father, who was often away from home. As Sam now packs his suitcase for an important trip, it keeps him connected to a parent who was often absent.

Small Deaths

WOW by Chic & Artistic (2016) (France) (5m) *

With the winners of the last competition now on their own page, here's a look back a previous competition film. The dialogue-free WOW is a palindromic film; meaning that it is the same backwards as it is forwards. This is an interesting conceit in a short film, for when certain scenes are played backwards, their meanings appears to be reversed too. So in a love story, a beginning becomes an ending, a connection becomes a separation. The film stars two French models: lingerie model Charlene Perillat and Kevin Drelon.


Salam by Claire Fowler (2018) (USA) (14m)

Salam was supported by the Shore Scripts Short Film Fund and was selected for some of the best film festivals in the UK and USA. It takes place over the course of one night and tells the story of the eponymous Salam, a Palastinian working as a Lyft (like Uber) driver in New York. She hears a family member has been injured in a bombing just before she picks up an American woman who appears to be running away from an abusive partner. The two women make a strange connection before Salam finally hears news from home.

Films marked * contain no dialogue. Search the entire website below.

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