We Are One: A Global Film Festival-Shorts

I attended the We Are One Global Film Festival! The first ever online film festival, hosted on YouTube and supported by festivals all over the world, including TIFF and Sundance.

I watched nearly everything they screened, so I’m doing the shorts separately because there are a lot, a *lot* of them! Reviews will be brief, with a ranking out of 10 and I’ll link IMDb pages if you want to find out more about them. Ooooookay!

Day One

Bird Karma: Quirky and bouncy little “one-take” animated film with a distinct and quirky tone, but didn’t do a lot to engross me. 6

Bilby: The unlikely protective bond between a bilby and baby bird. Swift and adorable with a lot of character and heart. 7

Marooned: Very Pixar-esque story of two robots trying to make their way home. Bursting with charm and an effective and very emotionally satisfying ending. 9

And Then the Bear: Chalk-esque mood piece with wonderful animation but didn’t do a lot to stick with me outside of that. 6

The Distance Between Us and the Sky: Very blunt queer quasi-romance film with great acting and atmosphere, liked it a lot. 8

White Echo: Witches and hauntings and hipsters, oh my! This kind of petered off for me, but it’s not without its charm. 6

Egg: Just weird. Weird and hard to describe, but completely confident in its own absurdity managing to be fucking hilarious while bizarrely compelling, great ending too. 8

The light Side: What if Palpatine….retired to the Bronx? That’s it, really. Kind of a strange one and doesn’t really take much advantage of its weird premise, left me cold. Sorry, Sith fans. 4

TOTO: An elderly woman bonds with her helper robot. All the pathos and warmth-with-an-edge Robot and Frank had and only needing a fraction of its run time. Some pretty annoying child writing brings this down for me, sadly. 7

When I Write It: Funky little character piece about two teenagers growing up and out of a gentrifying city. Has a lot to say and is earnest and beautifully shot, just not the most cohesively articulated. 6

Motorcycle Drive By: Road trip doc about a one-hit wonder looking at their cult appeal. It’s fine. Pretty much what you imagine hearing the premise. 6

No More Wings: Two friends meet up at a chicken shop at the different points of their lives. Earnest and enthralling, and excellently acted. 8

Cru-Raw: Woman gets hired as a chef tries hard to impress boss. Kind of generic and forgettable. Sorry. 5

Circus Person: Woman gets dumped, joins the circus. I’m supposed to find this quirky and artistically moving. I do not. 3

Day Two

Over: Different shots from a crime scene told out of sequences. Bold and evocative, with a shocking ending, both the scene and the postscript. Great fringe horror element, probably my favourite short in the fest. 10

Masterpiece: Kind of cute, but undercooked satire of contemporary art culture. It’s fine. 6

Vertical Shapes in a Horizontal Landscape: Man, this is sure a pretty countryside! Eh, I enjoyed it for what it was. This is the same director that did last year’s Bait-if you haven’t seen that you should. 7

Day Three

No One Left Behind: Army vets go to pay tribute to fellow soldier who was deported shortly before his death. Always great to see Danny Huston at his grizzled best, but I find the commentary and intent of this film a little haphazard, despite some decent moments and compelling direction. 5

The Tear’s Thing: Rattled actress gets told to nut up by instructor. This one kind of feels like it goes on about 10 minutes too long and I don’t find the situation nearly compelling enough to care at all. 4

The Battle of San Romano: Short and sweet fresco animation of, well, the title. It’s grand. 6

The Procession: Woman dies, tells her husband all this ritual is silly. Haunting and evocative, really gets across the mood of mourning. 9

The One-Minute Memoir: Collaboration of several different artists. A lot of variety and a fun premise, but didn’t really help make it remotely memorable for me. Sorry. 4

Black Barbie: Woman examines the societal expectations of her appearance. Short, powerful and completely to the point-I dug it! More like this, please. 8

Dew Line: Kooky idea, fun designs and creative presentation, I also barely remember this one. Expect this to happen a lot as the festival continues. 5

Shannon Amen: Powerful, if meandering, treatise of a woman coming to accept her religious conviction with her sexuality. 7

Day Four

The Yalta Conference Online: A movie cobbled together for the festival reimagines the historic meeting of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin where the latter two are women, nobody is age appropriate at all (‘cept arguably Stalin), and it’s done via video conference because of social distancing. If this doesn’t convince you, nothing will! Note perfect satire. 10

Inabe: A sister returns home with a newborn and about to dig up a secret from her past. This has some decent ambiance and the acting’s great, but the twist at the end and some poor pacing really bring it down for me. 6

The Cats: An old man attracts cats within the city. This one has a great turn near the end, I really dug it. 9

Cerulia: This one really fucked me up. Creepy stop-motion will do that do you, that and repressed traumas. 8

32-RBIT: Guy imagines world with static memory and random memes. I could picture them smelling their own farts when making this. Yeah, did nothing for me. Sorry. Points for style, I guess. 4

The Jump: Personal doc about a daredevil jumper who goes in headfirst. Nice little recanting of an interesting guy, if maybe it feels like it drags at only 12 minutes. 6

Anna:  Middle-aged mother is looking for love, her daughter is looking for whatever. The plot goes in a really predictable and kind of boring direction, though the final shot is fun. 5

The Nap: Lady gets her grandmother to have some fun. I did not get what they were going for with this, but I was not on board at all. 3

Blood Rider: A look into motorcycle delivery men in Nigeria who have to race against time to deliver life-saving blood. The stakes are massive on this one, and it’s beautifully shot and a really interesting look at this profession. A+. 9

Day Five

Stories of Destroyed Cities: Shengal: A look at a town in Iraq destroyed by ISIS. The voiceover and still shots give off a really haunted feel to this one-really captures the mood they were going for. 8

Who Talks: A rather heated debate about allowing refugees into a community. Important talking point, rather lacklustre and confused execution. 4

Butterflies: Family take a stop after bringing their ailing father to the hospital. Sweet and very humanising, even if they lay on the cheese a bit too thick for my taste. 7

Day Six

Genius Party: Happy Machine*: Surreal animation from the perspective of a baby. I think this gets across the feel of how a baby would see the world. Also one of the images is really similar to Adventure Time, which kind of says it all really. Top notch stuff. 8
*IMDb link leads to anthology film this was a part of-the short was played in isolation

Lonely Encounter: Student separated from family on special occasion bonds with taxi driver. This was pretty eh for me, just couldn’t get into it. It’s fine, I guess. 5

Tapi!: Documentary that looks into a ritual dance being pushed back by a Christian pastor in Kenya. This was fascinating and super compelling. The best documentaries teach you something you didn’t already know; this did its job splendidly. 9

Day Seven

Dirty Laundry: Two guys try to get rid of a washing machine. This one is a lot of fun, and the two leads has sparkling chemistry and everything is light and funny with some undertones about culture divides and myth. Really dug this one. 9

24 Frames Per Century: This sure was a movie! 4

Mad Ladders: I really dug this. The speech was absorbing and really complemented the imagery well. I don’t hate all experimentation, don’t hate me. 8

Live to Live: Funky little piece and another experimental flick that didn’t do a lot for me. I barely remember it. Sorry. 5

A Hand in Two Ways (Fisted): Frantic and disturbing, really got under my skin and knows exactly the mental place it wants to put you in. 7

Service of the Goods: Spoopy ghosts talks race relations and film criticism with no actual dialogue for about 30 minutes.  Sounds aggravating. I watched it twice. Bold and distinctive, I wanna look more into it now. 9

Occidente: Film reflects the colonial history of Brazil and Portugal through various ephemera. And it certainly does! It’s fine. 6

Untitled (Letters to Serra): Guy wonders through a forest, then reads a letter. Eh. 4

Indefinite Pitch: Black and white stills of a river alongside a monologue. I know I’m not being my best critic self right now, but I’m struggling to think of synonyms for “It’s not for me”. 5

Day 8

Was quite a day, indeed! No shorts screened sans an anthology film which I will discuss in my features post. Onward!

Day 9

Route-3: Shy teen stares at a woman eating an orange and it gets weirder from there. Didn’t really gel with this one, don’t know what it was going for, but that couldn’t have made the unpleasantness any more bearable. 3

Peacock: a look at playwright Ladislav Stoupeznicky. Maybe this would hit harder if you are a fan of this playwright’s work or had any context for him. I do not know. All I know is I was pretty eh about this. 4

Everything Will Be Okay: Little girl waits for her father, but something is amiss. Suitably sad and weighty, I didn’t get much out of it but maybe it’s for you. 6

Tenants: Woman is forced with a tenant who does not want to go. Really gets into the headspace of the protagonist and feels suitably uncomfortable and strange. Good going. 7

Warm Comedy about Depressiong, Madness and Unfiulfilled Dreams: Family is weird, this movie was kind of all over the place and I didn’t vibe with it, sorry. 4

Leon in Wintertime/Molly in Springtime/Bonifacio in Summertime/Poppety in the Fall: This is a series of four shorts that work better together (in this order) but can be watched separately. It follows a cast of endearing characters as they go on seasonally-themed adventures while being tricked by the nefarious storyteller. These are adorable and extremely well animated, the characters are likeable and I really dug it. Great little series of children’s shorts, track it down if you can. 9

Day 10

Awake: Woman has issues with marriage due to husband’s condition. It’s compelling for what it is and I was never bored, worth the watch. 7

Atlantiques: Looks at a young boy’s migration to Senegal. It’s holds a strong tone, and while I think it goes on just a little too long, I was engrossed in the proceedings of the story. 7

Violettina: Gorgeously shot on 16mm focused on a young girl, really captures a mood and magic of youth in just 4 minutes, really dug it. 8

Parsi: Experimental doc which recites a poem while going through Guinea-Bissau with a 360 camera. I found this grating and way too long, and there we are. 3

Pelourinho, They Don’t Really Care About Us: Looking at a letter from W. E. B. Du Bois concerning Brazil’s attitude towards race, combined with a Michael Jackson music video and the streets of Pelourinho. Powerful, relevant and passionately active. 8

Dramatic Relationships: Looks at the weird microaggressions, or even aggressions, women have to face with filmmaking. I got the point, but this was kind of meh for me. 5

Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight: A teenager escapes for a night out with her friend. Really captures that awkward moment with youth discovering themselves and their liberations in an evocative, relatable way. Greatly subtle grasp on female relationships, too. 9

Nutag-Homeland: Really striking animated film about mass deportations of the Kalmyk people during World War 2. Truly captures the chaos and the existential guilt in animated form. 8

Mud: A woman living on a reservation tries to find her place in the world. Bold and uncomfortable but really gets that sense of struggle with not belonging and the difficulties of addiction. 9

Fainting Spells: A mood poem using images and recitations. It’s okay, kind of didn’t grab me but worth the gander. 6

My Father’s Tools: Documentary about a man who, well, uses his father’s tools. Meditative and simple, with a great sense of tradition and legacy. 7

Throat Singing in Kangirsuk: A look at the tradition of throat singing in that region. Well shot, but I wasn’t overly compelled personally. 5

And that’s it! Will talk about the features in a separate blog post. Go support movies!

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