Film festival, film festival!

So last night, Sarah and I went to the LDS Film Festival in Orem — the first such festival I’d ever been to.   (Yes, I’ve lived in Utah for 90% of my life and never been to a screening at Sundance.)   There were some signs of the pretentious artists who frequent these kinds of things, but for the most part, it was just like watching a bunch of movies, even down to the annoying cell phones lighting up the theater during the shows (even after their owners had been requested to leave them off).

We decided to go because one of Sarah’s old drama friends, Tim Hall, directed one of the movies in the Short Film Competition, “Dirt.”   It was the last of the films we saw in the showing, and one of the best.

First up on the rundown was “The Teller’s Tale” by some BYU film students.   I thought the story and the visual effects were fun, but the acting wasn’t the best — what can you expect from child actors?

Next, we saw “The Skeleton Dance”, which was a class project for East Hollywood high school students and didn’t exceed my expectations at all.   It was three minutes of stop-motion animation that looked like it was emulating “The Nightmare Before Christmas” — and I couldn’t have handled much more than that.

“Face to Face” was one of my favorites in the show — an interesting character piece with one actor playing two versions of his character — a meek loser and his insulting, violent inner self.   Sarah thought it was too dark, but I voted for it as one of the best in the competition.   Bonus points for the director being named Spanky.

“Medicine Man” was the first film in the screening that I really disliked.   It mixed Native American mystical ideas (and peyote) with the Atonement of Jesus Christ in a way that really rubbed me wrong.   It wasn’t very interesting either.

“The Edge of the World” was a fun animated piece like something you might expect to see done in Flash on the Internet, but it had a good little moral about recognizing the opportunities God gives you in life.

“Fifty Cents” was a heart-warming story of a boy who likes a girl and asks her to the big dance despite anti-cooties peer pressure from his friends.   I thought the scenery and cinematography were very nice, and since I liked the story, it ended up being the second vote on my ballot.   Sarah thought the acting was a little stilted.

“Do or Die-08” — if I disliked “Medicine Man”, I hated this movie.   Hated, hated, hated.   It had random flashes of weirdness, very little storyline, and the only dialog was in Norwegian(?) with English subtitles.   The festival web site says this was 12 minutes long (way too long for me) and a trailer for a full-length film — I can’t imagine anything worse!

“These Words Are Mine” — a harmless story about a wise-cracking teenager and the terrible story that his girl friend writes.   I thought it was kinda fun, with attractive and amiable leads, but nothing to write home about.

“A Piece of Infinity” was a silent film about a woman who lost her husband and has flashbacks about their life together.   After 6 and a half minutes, I was ready to shout at the screen, “We get it, she misses him!”   This was another one helped by pretty people.

“Dirt” was the tale of a man who’d lost his wife to a divorce and lost his life in the process.   His healing process was an interesting one to watch, and Sarah voted for it as the best in the the show.

Overall, the films weren’t all that great — nothing that you’d run out to buy on DVD or anything, but good for a couple of hours of entertainment.   Sarah and I were also suprised that the only film that specifically mentioned LDS culture or doctrine was the weird Mormon/American Indian mash-up.   Not that movies made by LDS artists have to be only for Mormon audiences, but we thought there would be more.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2009 at 9:31 pm and is filed under Random Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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