Festival Award Shorts 2 Review

By Nicole Koehn and Vivien Pong

German Shepherd

    This animated film, directed by Nils Bergendal (Sweden), was based off of an interview with David, the son of a Jewish Holocaust survivor. Bergendal decided to animate the film in a simplistic manor to keep the audience focused on such a heavy topic. The film itself brings up many ideas and thoughts on how the Holocaust still impacts society today and begs to ask, “Will people do the right thing or will they just be passive bystanders?” Overall, German Shepard had a powerful message and makes the audience step back and look at how as society treats the past in the present.

Ghosts on the Mountain

    Directed by husband and wife duo, Jared Jakins and Carly Jakins (USA), Ghosts on the Mountain describes the secluded lives of immigrant sheep herders. This film tells the unheard story of the struggles these men face during their daily lives, as many of them have left their native countries and families behind in order to help them have better lives. Ghosts on the Mountain is beautifully shot with great visuals of how the solidarity the workers face overshadows the breathtaking landscape. The film work is even more impressive because all of the film and audio was recored by the directors themselves. Ghost on the Mountain helps to shine a light on a topic that is heavily argued in today’s media and gives the perspective of individuals rather than a faceless percentage.

Grand Canal

    Directed by Johnny Ma (China), Grand Canal tells the story of a young boy and his relationship with his father, a self dubbed “boat man”. Filmed in grainy 16 mm film to mimic the style of home videos, Ma created a film that is both highly personal, yet at the same time detached from reality. Grand Canal takes the audience on a powerful journey through thoughtful lenses.

Houses with Small Windows

    Directed by Bülent Öztürk (Belgium), Houses with Small Windows illustrates the horror of “honor killings” in places such as Turkey. Inspired by the director’s own mother, the film is touching even in its most tragic moments. Houses with Small Windows is a film of little words, yet manages to portray a heartbreaking reality through strong visuals and a deep emotional thread.

Showfolk

    Directed by Ned McNeilage (USA), Showfolk is a lively look back on some truly extraordinary entertainers of the past and how they are faring today. An uplifting film that showcased some of the veterans of Classic Hollywood, Showfolk is filled with an abundance of insight into show business. Beautifully put together with fantastic transitions, Showfolk is a worthy ode to some of Hollywood’s brightest stars.