Chuck Jaffee: Movie makers get more ambitious by the dozen |

Chuck Jaffee: Movie makers get more ambitious by the dozen

One feature-length film provides a special reason to mention 12 shorts in a brief review. This is the second in a series of four reviews for the 8th Nevada City Film Festival (Aug. 14-17).

January, February, March … a short film made in each month of the year through December. The compilation, called “Twelve,” rises well to a very difficult challenge. It’s tough enough creating one effective short film, one that appeals to audiences with little opportunity to see short films. Hoping that 12 different directors will contribute successfully to a set of 12 shorts is a big risk.

At least eight of the 12 films are very good, and in the film festival spirit of things, different people will likely think that different films are the very good ones. The thematic choices vary. Some offer tough topics. Some play with a more bizarre flare.

Jan.: A woman gets to know a man who has not slept for two years.

Feb.: A nerd and his cohorts try to build a robotic “sport of the future.”

March: A cop, literally, gets a witness to sing what he knows about a serial killer.

April: A cokehead strings out whatever kicks he can, in between being a once-a-week dad.

May: A student filmmaker is caught up in his own little auteur dream world.

June: A brainy kid inventively ignores his self-indulgent, boozy stepmother.

July: A photographer obsesses on a particular guy, with some telling context folded in.

Aug.: Beekeepers relate their love of the archetypal sound and profound service of bees.

Sept.: In a bustling city, a host of poetic riffs light on a phrase: “soft and fluid.”

Oct.: A couple of post-aristocratic chaps muse through a long alcoholic binge.

Nov: Three homeboys reach a life changing level playing a violent video game.

Dec.: A homeless bum can’t get out of his own way.

This ambitious project did not make interweaving the 12 stories a priority, although it is fun looking for actors showing up in more than one film. Only one incidental was imposed on this Boston-based group. Every film had to have a scene with a particular tree prominently included. “Twelve” is a collaboration that bears a variety of tasty fruit.


Chuck Jaffee of Nevada City likes to plug people into the spirit of independent filmmakers. Find his other articles for The Union at See for a full list of festival films.

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