Palm Springs Shortfest – Some Shorts I Saw

Better late than never: I volunteered at this year’s Shortfest in Palm Springs, and in the process, got to within hugging distance of James Franco.

James Franco

Alas, I did not get to hug Mr. Franco. I did, however, get to see some of the shorts, so I thought I’d say a thing or two about them here. Honestly, I am sorry this is so late, I mean, this festival ended almost two weeks ago. I’ve been depressed and scattered; I’m hoping a regularity in blogging, if I can find it, will alleviate the introspection.

Poppy, 11 minutes

From New Zealand and James Cunningham, an interesting GCI film about two Kiwi soldiers in the WWI trenches who find a live baby. And of course, what they do with the baby. I liked the message and the overall feel of the movie. Always assumed that trench warfare was no picnic, and this little movie does nothing to dispel that notion, nor should it. The only question I bring up is why CGI? I think the story, effective as it was, would have been more wrenching if we’d had actual actor faces to look at. I have some bias, of course, as I’m always thinking about employment in Hollywood and here are several roles that went to pixels. But don’t let that remark keep you from watching it when you get a chance. It’s quite good.

Born Sweet, 29 minutes

On the site link above is a trailer – I was unsuccessful on posting it directly here. This is a short film that told me about something I had no idea even went on – a huge problem of arsenic poisoning from wells dug by well-meaning aid groups in Cambodia. They actually made the lives of the people living in the areas they served so much worse by introducing this toxic substance into the water system. The film tells this story through the eyes of Vinh, a 15-year-old boy (who to me looked more like he was 10 or 11) and his daily struggles with the poisoning. The highlight is when he gets to video a karaoke for the country on the dangers of drinking the wrong water.

Gorgeously filmed, Born Sweet also fulfilled a major mission of the documentary form, which is to teach – as well as entertain, at least in this case. Filmmaker Cynthia Wade won an Oscar for Freeheld.


~ by jimarnoldla on July 10, 2010.

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