The next big movie thing is short films for cell phones, SXSW Film Festival producer Matt Dentler opined during a panel at AFI-Dallas. Afterward, I asked Dallas Video Festival director Bart Weiss what he thought, and he agreed. (Bart is coincidentally part of a North Texas project that’s making video art with cell phones.) We live in a world of impulse purchases, Bart went on, and people will be easily persuaded to hit a button for a brief burst of entertainment that’ll end up costing a couple of bucks on their phone bill.
This is a roundabout way of saying I saw some great short films last night.
I’m in Tampa, Fla., at the Ybor Festival of the Moving Image, which opened Thursday with a lecture on Dali and film and ended with a program of delightful shorts, one of which is available in full on that there Internet and another you can buy on Amazon or elsewhere. Roll tape:
1. Simulacra by Tatchapon Lertwirojkul. One of the joys of 21st century filmmaking is watching the latest technology used to tell good, old-fashioned stories — doubly cool in this case because it’s a tale about technology itself.
2. Gustav Braustache and the Auto-Debilitator by Rob Cunningham and Tony Mullen. Right now, in the glow of the morning after, this is one of the greatest films of all-time. The black-and-white, near-silent comedy concerns an inventor of ridiculous devices and his lazy landlord. It too employs beautifully rendered special effects. I was literally on the edge of my seat as human nature and its accompanying foibles played out on the screen.
4. Back home in Tejas, two recently screened shorts caught my eye: David Lowery’s poetic nature-meets-sci-fi A Catalog of Anticipations, which won honorable mention at AFI-Dallas, and the noir-feed-bag Key Lime Pie by Trevor Jimenez, winner of the animated-short prize.
5. Have I whet your appetite? Your next chance to catch a program of shorts is April 26 at the USA Film Festival.