The 13th annual Fear No Film Festival is currently underway at the Utah Arts Festival representing filmmakers from Utah and around the world. Fear No Film is a awesome festival bringing to Utah quality short films that most people would never be able to see. The films are broken up into seven categories: Filmmaker Impulse, Audience Impulse, Physical Impulse, Mental Impulse, Soul Impulse and Impulse to Connect and Disconnect. All of these explore and deconstruct the impulses we all share.
Impulse To Connect
The Story Of A Rainy Night
Director: Mehdi Fardqaderi
A sad and beautiful film surrounding the events of an old man on his birthday, and how he is affected by the arrival of his family during his day of celebration. Most of the short shows the joys the old man gets with what seems to be his entire family showing up. They talk and celebrate as most normal families do—lots of small talk, hugging and kissing, but while watching it, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dread. Fardqaderi does an excellent job of conjuring up this dread even though there is nothing on screen that would suggest anything nefarious is happening. With a nice twist ending, this was an excellent film to kickstart the fest.
Directors: Jing Wang, Harvey Goldman
I’m honestly at a loss for words in describing this … film. Is it even a film? The plot synopsis reads as follows, “Passahhdi is an abstract experimental animation. A melding of sound and image that explores both the emotional relationships and the commonality of their formal language.” Now, what I got from it was a bunch of white noise with weird shapes drifting across the screen, kind of like what my first gen PlayStation used to do. Obviously, this short didn’t do it for me, but hey, to each their own.
2 Way Radio
Watching 2 Way Radio, I’m reminded of Chris Parnell’s character in the movie Hot Rod. In it, he plays a talk radio host who lives and dies by the power of AM. Although not as extreme, 2 Way radio plays like a PSA for saving talk radio and how it’s on the verge of dying. Interviewing folks from K-Talk AM radio and others from the AM community as well as the listeners, we hear stories on why radio is important and should be saved. If you’re a fan of radio and the troubles that that industry goes through, you’ll like this short film.
At Different Times
Over a cup of tea, an elderly woman has a quaint chat with her interviewer over a wide range of subjects, from the many different photographs that hang throughout her home to growing old. The camera never focuses on a subject or person, but rather drifts throughout the house as the old woman talks about whatever comes to her mind. Although there was not much substance to the film, I enjoyed hearing the stories from this woman.
Past A Moment
Directors: Andrea Peterson, Dru Watts
Infidelity is the name of the game in Past A Moment. While out jogging, a happily married woman bumps into a happily married man. It’s apparent that the two have chemistry and become good friends. Of course, it’s all downhill from there, as the two hang out more and more until the inevitable happens—they sleep together. Naturally, this is more than shocking news to their significant other who don’t take the news lightly. Apart from a few cheesy moments involving the cheating duo, like running in the park while laughing at nothing and clumsily bumping into things, this was an eyeopening insight to what goes through the mind of someone who is cheating on a person they claim to love.
Director: Oren Gerner
Greenland tells the story of a young man who is about to move away from home, all while saying his goodbyes to his mother, father and girlfriend. The cinematography is topnotch, featuring lots of still shots that draw your attention with the way they are staged.
Although the narrative is hard to understand at times, with the dialogue being mumbled between the mother and father, there are great scenes of creepiness. One such scene is the father showing his son a medical procedure that was done to him in all its gory glory. Greenland was a strange short that I won’t forget.
“Albert Einstein” A Poem By Matthew Zapruder
Director: John Akre
This was a short and sweet, a poem that was animated, basically boiling down to a man whose father trying his hardest to understand relativity. He keeps journals with arrows connecting to towers and other such oddities. I really didn’t get much from this short—the animation was a little rough and the poem itself didn’t speak to me. But, that’s just, like, my opinion, man.
Director: Shahid Kamal
Smell is one of the five senses in the spotlight in Cinnamon. An unnamed man relives painful childhood memories after opening a jar of cinnamon and is instantly brought back to the painful memory in question. The man, now a boy, is getting a warm glass of milk with some cinnamon in it. It’s at this point his father comes home and starts to beat his mother. The boy tries to stop this by offering the father the cinnamon milk. This goes on for years, the father being abusive and the boy trying to stop it by offering the milk. I loved this short mostly because of the twist ending and the acting. Check this one out for sure.
Will I Scatter Away?
Director: Emma Penaz Eisner
Will I Scatter Away? is an interesting black and white experimental short film, but I honestly have no idea what it’s about. A man follows a shadow, and then he’s looking in a mirror, the mirror breaks, weird noises are heard. It plays like an ode to David Lynch, and that’s fine by me. Although I would expect that most people would fine this film odd and confusing, I found it to be both those things but interesting as well.
Love And Commando
Director: Laurent Ardoint, Stéphane Duprat
Taking place in 1944 during the Second World War and having most of the dialogue sung, this was a goofy and funny short film. In it, the main character is shot and is sent to the hospital, where he falls in love with his nurse. It’s here that the two hit it off, until the man is sent on a special mission, but before he can say his goodbyes the nurse is kidnapped. Will the man save her? Will they sing a song as they dance off into the sunset? If you like your humor goofy and extremely French, Love and Commando is the film for you.
I’ve Just Had A Dream
Director: Javier Navarro
I’ve Just Had A Dream is about two girls, both roughly 8 years old, who have the exact same dream. Both of the girls are clearly from different backgrounds and had different outlooks on the events that transpired within their dreams. I suppose the keyword here is “interpretation” or “attitude.” The story itself was simple in nature—one of little girls described it as a “bad dream” or almost a nightmare, while the other described it as a “good dream.” It’s hard to deny the undertones of racial/cultural difference and social class affecting both of these two girls’ unique outlooks on the dream. An effective short that I hope all of the children get to see.
It Hit Upon The Roof
Director: Teymour Ghaderi
This is the type of short film where, as you’re watching it, it seems as nothing is really happening, then the credits roll and you realize you’ve missed some deeper point the filmmaker was trying to conjure. This film is about a boy and his mother in a small rickety hut trying to catch rainwater as it falls from the leaking roof. It’s the small things you notice throughout the film that show the depth of it. You can see the deep care this boy has for his mother and the difference in situations most, if any, American family would never be conditioned to. I can’t help but think that this works into a message reflecting on how situational circumstances and cultural differences affect the bond between family members in such a way. Throughout the film, there were no words spoken, there are no subtitles, but the nonverbal communication and the affectionate gestures show a loving bond between mother and son.
This was a fun short film much in the sprit of the children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Basically, we get a timeline of someone having an off day where nothing seems to go right, hence the title: “Those Days” It had slight comedic undertones throughout the whole duration of this young man’s day, many of which give off that “I can relate to that” feel. There were some funny parts and relatable parts throughout, which gave the audience the ability to sit back and enjoy the film for what it is. It’s essentially about someone just having one of those days.
Director: Aaliyah Rose
Taking a different approach to storytelling, we get a music video with a short narrative on bullying. Covering the song “Elastic Heart” by Sia, Aaliyah Rose is an 11- year-old Utah native who’s popular on the YouTube circuit as a child singer, covering today’s hit songs. The main idea of this video was a basic Mean Girls scenario where none of the cool girls liked the unpopular one with braces. It carries on with the bullies picking on her and throwing things at her. It all leads to the inevitable conclusion that bullying is wrong and shows how it affects the person getting bullied. Another short that I hope all the kids (and adults) get to watch.
I had a lot of fun getting to watch these smart and experimental films from around the world and here at home. If you happen to make it to the arts festival, I strongly recommend seeing the Fear No Film Festival as well. Most of these are shorts you won’t be able to see anywhere else, plus you’ll have the advantage of watching some great local films from up and coming filmmakers.