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Edinburgh Short Film Festival: Closing Night Highlights


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The closing night of Edinburgh Short Film Festival 2017 took place in Summerhall, a venue renowned for its alternative approach and widespread support for artists. The screening room was completely packed and buzzing with excitement throughout the event.

This final night of escapism was concerned with the innermost human emotional states: adapting to situations, struggling to let go of something or someone and attempting to accept and understand the unavoidable truth. Here are the highlights of the program.

1.BEETLE TROUBLE by Gabriel Böhmer

This psychedelic and elegantly created animated short is certainly an innovative and intriguing piece of art. The narrator could easily be compared to a Camus character with his steady and impersonal, rather disturbing manner of telling the story of a young disturbed man. The lost and rather unusual protagonist exists in a circular reasoning world of his own making, attempting to escape, but seeming incapable of doing so. The reason for this is that the antagonist is not an external creature, but a darker side to the protagonist himself, metaphorically presented in the form of beetles. The surreal feeling of the film is further emphasized when the voice-over causally states: “His [the beetle] worlds were quiet enough for John not to understand him when awake, but loud enough to echo in his dreams.”

Beetle Trouble Trailer from Gabriel Böhmer on Vimeo.

2.WATU WOTE-ALL OF US by Katja Benrath

Set in Nairobi two years ago, the film opens with an establishment of a tense and almost electric feeling in the air and on the streets of the city. The powerful portrayal of palpable terror and fear in the desolate city envelops the audience in the spatial and temporal reality of the short film and involves the viewer’s attention. A young woman is traveling by bus to see her sick mother, while an almost tangible sense of danger, elegantly conveyed through the cinematographic style of the film, is closing in on her. Eventually, the perceived danger abruptly shifts and reveals an overt blind fear and hatred, motivated by understandable personal tragedies. Eventually, we must understand the world and its rules aren’t clear-cut, and a grey area for humane connections is always present, even and perhaps especially in the most stressful of situations. Benrath’s work is moving, intimate and brutally honest.

3.STEMS by Ainslie Henderson

This Oscar long-listed stop motion animation is short and sweet. This work reveals to the audience something that isn’t obvious at first glance- the creation of stop motion characters is an organic, slow and detailed process. The specific characters in this animation evolved from everyday materials, sometimes considered garbage. The stop motion puppets truly have an inherent gentle sadness about them, which makes them all the more thrilling to observe.

Stems trailer from ainslie henderson on Vimeo.

4.NERO by Natasza Cetner

Nero is an impressive, perhaps hand-drawn animated short. The seemingly simple, yet obviously quite evolved, unique, and established style of the artist is a pleasure to watch, especially when thematically it is reminiscent of another animated masterpiece from 2003- Destino. Through this world, the audience enters a world of strange ethereal places existing on the edge between sleep and wakefulness. Beautiful and bizarre shape-shifting creatures reveal the gradual, yet fatal transformation of a dream into a nightmare.

Nero excerpt from Natasza Cetner on Vimeo.

5.JAKOB by Eymeric Jorat

This French drama was the winner for Best Sci-Fi at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards 2017. Set in a futuristic reality, Jakob exhibits signs that he possesses artificial intelligence with no natural one, which serves to prove that he is a product of human technological evolution. However, the protagonist struggles with his unforeseen development of sentience, making his existence torn between logic and chaos almost impossible to bear. After reaching a climactic point of acceptance of his inescapable acquired humanity, Jakob reaches a final resolution.

6.EDITH by Christian Cooke

Edith is a Scottish short drama concerning a quite typical story of loss and overcoming a devastating personal romantic tragedy, but presented in a charming and personal manner. The production quality of this work speaks of extreme professionalism with its crystal clear image, balanced framing, text-book perfect shots and unflinching camera. Furthermore, the subtle and obviously experienced editing of the film creates a sense of flowing action and natural transitions. The breathtaking and cleverly filmed natural landscapes leave the viewer in a state of rapture, further emphasising the emotional impact of the plot.

7.FOREVER NOW by Kristian Håskjold

Possibly one of the most intimate and emotionally excruciating films I have seen recently, Forever Now tells the story of two young lovers’ intense and compressed ride through their sentiment spectrum from ecstasy to sorrow in the spam of a Copenhagen night in their apartment. The gentle devastation arising from the final hours of a love story is both painfully familiar, yet insightfully different. In terms of production and post-production, it is necessary to state that the short film is pristine- setting the feeling of the scene with the use of light and contrast, interesting angles of shooting, and intimate close-ups of high emotional strain all come together to construct a remarkable work of art, which quite literally could bring tears to your eyes.

Forever Now - Trailer from Flying Films on Vimeo.

At the end of the screening the winners of this year’s awards were announced and congratulated:

1.Rising Star Award: Salt & Sauce by Alia Ghafar, 2017

Salt & Sauce - Teaser from Alia Ghafar on Vimeo.

2.Best Short Animation: Tis by Chloé Lesueur, 2016

3.Best Film: Paco by Catalina Jordan Alvarez, 2016

PACO (Teaser) from C a t a l i n a on Vimeo.

The Edinburgh Short Film Festival ran from 27th October to 11th November 2017. More information about the festival and its programme can be found here.

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