Monday, May 30, 2016

SIFF 2016: 'WTF?!' Shorts

Short films are a notoriously tricky form. For every fantastic offering, you have to wade through a sea of less-than-stellar dreck. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the Seattle International Film Festival runs their annual shorts program, and while the WTF segment has its share of problems, it was, by and large, a strong collection. And every title on the docket certainly lives up to the moniker.


Just to get this out there, Tampoon director Jeanne Jo is a friend of mine, and it’s always dicey experiencing the artistic endeavors of people you know. Sometimes all you can do is cross your fingers and hope and pray that it doesn’t suck.

And this was one of the times where I got to breathe a sigh of relief as Tampoon is pretty damn awesome. Funny, clever, and slyly feminist, the story of a conscious, possibly possessed, tampon doing a young woman a solid by taking down her shitty dude stereotype boyfriend, is worth a look just to watch a room full of guys squirm. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a synth-driven score straight out of a John Carpenter movie enhances an ‘80s style horror vibe.

The Procedure

Unsuspecting people being kidnapped and subjected to bizarre medical experiments has been fodder for paranoid thrillers since day one. In Calvin Reeder’s short, The Procedure, this is given an adroit, fiendishly juvenile makeover. All I’m going to say is this involves a blow-dart, a man strapped to a table A Clockwork Orange style, and a butthole slowly descending from the ceiling. Yeah, this is quick, crude, and one to see.


A truly unfortunate title, one that has nothing to do with the actual film, Bitchboy made its world premiere at SIFF. The black and white family drama follows a young black metal kid and his attempts to keep the corpse of his bastard of a grandfather from being buried in the family plot. Funny at times, Mas Berthas’ short plums some dark territory, implying abuse on multiple levels. But what’s not to love about a junior metal head stealing a dead body and trying to light it on fire?

These were easily my three favorites of the night, though there were others with fantastic moments. Musicals Sumo Road and The Boombox Saints, were both fun, though in typical short film fashion, they drag on far too long. Don’t Tell Mom is full of mind-bending, crudely drawn, sexually explicit animation. And Beemus, It’ll End in Tears follows a PE teacher preparing his young wards for an apocalyptic event.

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