Short films occupy a peculiar place in the world of art appreciation. Successful shorts establish a tone, draw viewers in and tell a story in less time than the typical beer run — an unlikely challenge. But unlike short stories, cassingles and other abbreviated art forms, mini-movies lack a convenient means of transmission, so they’re often overlooked by buffs.
Come see what you’ve been missing, then, at The Belcourt’s annual showing of highlights from the Sundance Film Festival, running tonight and Wednesday. These cinematic slivers range in length from 3 to 21 minutes, and in content from a Somali pirate thriller to an animation about disaffected robots in a cyber-slum, a comedy about text-flirting, and a semi-autobiographical portrait of a Korean-American gay man’s longing for family. (If you remember Nash Edgerton's festival favorite "Spider," which builds to a sick, splattery punchline, you want to see his follow-up "Bear.")
You’ll be viewing the best of the best from around the globe — all in just over 90 minutes. Above, the trailer for "The Meaning of Robots," a documentary short about a 65-year-old man's quest to shoot a stop-motion robot sex movie in his apartment. Watch and be astonished. Below, the list of films from The Belcourt's website.
ROBOTS OF BRIXTON
Dir. Kibew Tavares / England / 6min
Jury Prize: Animation Direction
The trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment.
FISHING WITHOUT NETS
Dir. Cutter Hodierne / Kenya, USA / 17min
A story of pirates in Somalia, told from the perspective of the pirates themselves.
Dir. Blerta Zeqiri / Kosovo / 21min
Jury Prize: International Fiction
A man comes back from a Serb prison to his wife and son. Much has changed since he was declared missing, and continuing where they left off four years ago may not be as easy as it seems.
Dirs. Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, Jessie Ennis / USA / 9min
Jury Prize: Comedic Writing
In an attempt to keep up with social pressure in a technologically advanced world, Chance starts a texting relationship with Genevieve, a girl he meets at a yogurt shop.
DON’T HUG ME I’M SCARED
Dirs. Joseph Pelling, Rebecca Sloan / England / 3min
A short film about teaching creativity by This Is It Collective.
Dir. Andrew Ahn / USA / 12min
A gay Korean-American man yearns for a family life just out of reach.
SONG OF THE SPINDLE
Dir. Drew Christie / USA / 4min
An animated, humorous and informative conversation between a sperm whale and a man. Each one tries to convince the other that his brain is bigger.
Dir. Charlotta Miller / Sweden / 9min
Katrin decides to face her old boyfriend, who is back to collect some of his stuff.
MEANING OF ROBOTS
Dir. Matt Lenski / USA / 4min
The benevolent Mike Sullivan, age 65, has been shooting an epic stop-motion robot sex film in his apartment for the last 10 years. Obsessed with constructing the miniature robot porn stars, his apartment now overflows with thousands of them.
Dir. Nash Edgerton / Australia / 10min
Jack means well, but sometimes, good intentions have horrible consequences.