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December 13, 2010

Indie Spotlight - The Short Films of Bleedfest, December 2010

A couple of weeks ago I shared a press release for the Bleedfest Film Festival, headed by Lis Fies of The Commune.  Though proximity keeps me away from great events like this, I'm terribly excited to give some publicity to the fine female filmmakers (and their male colleagues) who were featured at this month's event.  Thanks to The Fantastic Ms. Fies, let's take a look at some of the short films that were featured at this month's Bleedfest!

Stalked (Written/Directed by Matthew Irving; Produced by & Starring Cindy Baer; Cinematography by Jenny Ramirez.)

First up is an unfinished cut of Stalked, a neat little tale of a woman who finds she's being followed by a man in a pig mask.  Baer stars as the damsel in distress on the streets of New York City, and is directed by her husband, Irving, who also wrote the script.  Stalked succeeds in creating unease as Baer slips into paranoia, and the use of NYC settings adds to the drama.  There's a neat bit of realism at work as the shots lead up to an incredibly pleasing finale.

Though the film the film is still a work in progress, there's a lot to like about this little tale of terror.  I look forward to seeing a final product of the work of Irving, Baer, and Ramirez. For more info, check out the Facebook Page for Stalked, and/or Baer's Free Dream Pictures.

Morbid Curiosity (Directed by & Starring Cindy Baer, Written by Matthew Irving.)

Also from Ms. Baer is Morbid Curiosity, a dark comedy take on the thoughts we have and what would happen if they had power behind them.  Baer stars as a young woman who's being interviewed about her power to mentally alter the fates of others, and her tale is told through a series of effective snapshots of her past and the tragic events that have transpired around her.  As the film escalates through its five-and a half minute runtime, the dark side of her mind provides some sick laughs and builds to a surprising finale.  The end result is a fun little tale that brought a twisted smile to my face.

For more info on Morbid Curiosity, check it out through the Free Dream site here.

Dead Boyfriends (Directed by Xstine Cook.)

From the "strange, but alluring" files comes Dead Boyfriends by Xstine Cook, a whimsical musical tale featuring many puppet murders and one terribly catchy song.  Starring Cook and her co-writer Mooky Cornish, Dead Boyfriends is an inventive and visibly enjoyable tale of a temptress whose circus employee beaus each meet grisly fates.  Resembling some kind of sick Saturday morning cartoon, Dead Boyfriends is an incredibly visceral experience that left me impressed...and humming its sadistic tune, too.

For more info on Dead Boyfriends, check it out at IMDB.

Mockingbird (Directed by Marichelle Daywalt.)

For no good reason, I've always found those one-way baby monitor walkie-talkie things kind of creepy.  My fears are now justified, as Marichelle Daywalt takes advantage of the device and the blind security they give parents in Mockingbird, an under two minute short written and produced by her husband Drew Daywalt.  It's near impossible to discuss such a short film without giving away too many details, so I'll just send you toward the short as it appears on YouTube.  I hope you'll agree with me when I say that it's an effective small dose of terror that should give any young parent chills.

11:11 (Directed by Sophia Segal.)

A music video that reminds us of some of the psychedelic cinema of years gone by, Sophia Segal's 11:11 is a visual trip.  This is definitely the most mind-bending of these shorts, as Segal employs rich colors and elaborate costumes to create a memorable dream world.  I'm not quite sure the story behind the video is too rich, but I found the music video's style unique and gripping and would imagine that this one will stick in my memory, if only in the "WTF?" files.

For more on Segal's film, including the 11:11 video itself, head on over to her site.

Bad Girls (Written/Directed/Produced by & Starring Jen & Sylvia Soska)

I've championed the Soskas for a while (including yesterday's release of their American Mary teaser!), and Bad Girls is another fine example of the brutality they're willing to offer viewers.  Bad Girls follows the twins as they assist their grandmother in setting up video chat for the first time, then relays the violent events that follow this technological advance.  As was the case with their first feature, Dead Hooker in a Trunk, the sisters offer splatter with a smile.  This didn't grip me like Dead Hooker did, if only because there's not as much time to build a connection with the characters (one of that film's strong points), but the Soska's vision of revenge is still pretty darn effective.

For more info on Bad Girls and the Soskas, head on over and check the film out at the Twisted Twins Productions site.

Horror of Our Love (Dir. by Dave Reda.)

Awarded a "Partnership Award" as the only primarily male creation at Bleedfest, Dave Reda's Horror of Our Love is a fantastic spoof of the slashers we've come to love over the past generation.  In this short, a Jason-esque killer tries to show his affection to a terrified woman, and does so using the only tools he has - his killing skills.  Set to a well-written and also funny song that spells out the film's ideas, Horror of Our Love works partially because of the horror fan's love of slashers and primarily because its vision of the relationship between stalker and stalkee is executed (no pun intended) in such a charming fashion.  A reference to an '80s teen movie classic got a big belly laugh from me, and the whole thing left a big, horror fan grin on my face.

For more info on Horror of Our Love and other works from Reda, check out his production company, Elftwin Films.

To all the fine filmmakers, woman or man, who were featured at Bleedfest, I offer heartfelt admiration.  Though their works are each different in scope and execution, each of these shorts feels like a unique achievement by people who love what they're doing.  That has to mean something in this day and age, and I hope to see more from them and filmmakers like them in the future!


Morgan said...

They all look great to me!

I agree with you about Mockingbird. After watching that clip, I was speechless. I can't believe I even recognized the actor in it.

Anonymous said...

I love Mockingbird! Drew does some great stuff! If you haven't seen Bedfellows or any of the Fewdio or any of the other Daywalt Factory of Fear stuff, don't miss it!!
Dreaded Dreams
Petunia Scareum

Jose Cruz said...

Mockingbird terrifies me to no end. I'm not even a parent and that short never fails to give me chills. All these other films sound extremely awesome. Huzzah for the Bleeders!