Not too early to talk film festival fun
The 7th Annual Nevada City Film Festival (www.nevadacityfilmfestival.com) offers three short-film programs among its expanded set of programs from Aug. 16 through 19. Focusing on selections from the 7:30 p.m. program on Friday, Aug. 17, this is the first in a series of awareness-raising reviews.
Filmmaker Corey Creasy grew up in Nevada City. In a few minutes, his “Children are a Gift” riffs on a simple phrase: “Wipe my butt.” While this film is about as insubstantial as one can make, it is a head-shaking, smile-provoking asset to any short-film program.
Another brief treat sharing the program with “Children are a Gift” is “The Von.” Please, this pairing is not indicative of some stilted focus that might cause you to pooh pooh the film festival, but it does prominently deal with soiled underpants. “The Von” actually contains some substantial insight into childhood. However, not to oversell it, it is simply short-form movie fun.
It is quite a coup to make an effective short film that brims three times over with in jokes.
“Script Cops” unabashedly steals the format of the show “Cops.” Whatever your opinion of that very successful bit of “reality television” – indeed, whether or not you’ve ever seen the show – you will enjoy how perfectly “Script Cops” captures this lowest common denominator of law enforcement theater.
Since the enforcement officers are not merely cops but script cops, the next level of comic sendup is that all the perpetrators are wannabe screenplay writers. We all have a sense that people who write screenplays must live in some illicit frame of mind, or at least we all have long exposure to television and movies produced from bad scripts. “Script Cops” busts them hilariously.
Finally, “Script Cops” is filled with off-hand references to highly creative and successful screenwriters. For all the attention paid to movies, most people probably don’t recognize the names of the people who write the scenes and dialog we flock to see.
From its “copped” theme music to its final in-joke movie reference, “Script Cops” is a clever, well-realized eight minutes of filmmaking.
When you go to a film festival, especially a program of short films, you should expect some weirdness. You should want some weirdness. Quality weirdness is tough, and the 7th Annual Nevada City Film Festival has some of it for you.
“Anonymous” is an ambitious and impressive tackling of a story that intertwines reality and counter-reality. It gets extra points for not stumbling anywhere and for never feeling ordinary or too full of itself. Throughout its 20 minutes, “Anonymous” also gets extra points for being self-indulgently stylish without tripping on its choices of color and sound and awareness.
The lonely writer in “Anonymous” is not alone. He lives with his alter ego, who writes his story for him while he sleeps. He co-exists with his neighbor who lives across the hall, the woman who lives with him for the length of an elevator ride, who lives on the pages that come from his typewriter.
“Loneliness is my only way out,” says the “Anonymous” one. But that is only what the waking man types. The man in his sleep knows differently, as can you in a darkened film festival theater.
Chuck Jaffee lives in Nevada City. Find his other reviews for The Union at http://www.startlets.com.
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