Caballero Águila (aka EAGLE KNIGHT) is Alejandro Blázquez de Nicolás’ feature-film directorial debut. The 1-hour 44-minute coming-of-age drama, also written and produced by Blázquez de Nicolás, is about Pastor, a high-school graduate, who lives with his head in the clouds. As a matter of fact, his life-long dream is to fly.
His dreams start coming true when he finds a job within the hang-gliding community and starts learning the craft from them. Despite his family wanting him to have a more stable, profitable, and probably boring job, he is committed to becoming a professional hang-glider.
All this, whilst trying to conquer the love of his life, Flor, and trying to keep her brother, Nacho, out of trouble.
This film is no short of heroic gestures, with Pastor risking his life several times in order to save a friend, and the result is a bit candid. Like it often happens in fables, there is very a clear separation between good and bad, between those who try to move forward — or, in this case, fly high — and those who will forever stay where they've always been.
Pastor’s relationships with his friends are very well portrayed, the acting is subtle yet meaningful, and the whole mood of the film transports us to rural Mexico. The use of the music is extensive and matches perfectly the beautiful cinematography of the film.
In addition to that, Blázquez de Nicolás does a great job at depicting the community of hang-gliders, their closeness, their trust, and the devotion they have both to the sport and to each other.
A beautiful fairy tale, that doesn’t necessarily end well for everybody, with lots of good sentiments and gorgeous scenery. If you like dramas with a big dose of good sportsmanship and a bit of romance, you will definitely like this film.
Twin Cities Pride 2020 was shot during the days the Pride was supposed to take place in 2020, in Minneapolis.
There are no dialogues in this documentary short, just the sounds of the city overlapped with sentimental music, and the image of a man, walking through the city, almost looking for something or someone. But apart from closed doors, the only things he finds are raised rainbow flags scattered here and there in the city.
There is a deep sense of sadness in this film, of emptiness. A man was deprived of his community and is now left to face the city on his own.
The close-up shots of the man create an atmosphere of Minneapolis increasingly upsetting and alienating. Almost dehumanizing. After all, we’re talking about the very city that witnessed, just a few months before, the brutal murder of George Floyd.
The music we hear throughout the film is suggestive, and it allows us to enter the mind of the protagonist and see the city with a nostalgic eye. The direction is very simple, and the concept is clear.
A nice and evocative film about an important moment in the history of Minnesota.
Directed by Craig Murray
Dead Dreams Falling is a music video about the bond between two twins that goes beyond the earthly state.
The video, directed by Craig Murray, opens with a home recording of a woman, pregnant, who gives birth to two twins. The film goes on to show the twins as adults, facing away from the camera, and holding hands. One of the two twins, the man, is wearing his hoodie and won’t show his profile till halfway into the video.
Through these powerful opening scenes, the director is already establishing a strong concept: we’re seeing two very distinct human beings with an unbreakable bond.
The rest of the song is visually supported by a 6-minute long montage of three images: the image of death, represented by red-hooded figures, several images of tunnels with a bright light at the end, and the two bodies, pierced and hanging lifeless.
Moreover, adding the sympathetic death of the woman is incredibly powerful.
Murray does a brilliant job in creating a subtle but strong image of reincarnation — a soul leaving the body and being transmigrated to another one ready to be born.
The cinematography is beautiful and the editing is fast-paced and perfectly synchronized with the song. The music is dark and piercing. It conveys a very tense atmosphere and evokes agitation within the two characters, not knowing what will become of them after their respective souls will leave their bodies.
An artistic, moving, and thought-provoking music video about the separation of two souls that lived like one.
Becoming Sam is a thriller short script written by Gary D. Jaworski and set in California, in 1974.
The script follows a nineteen-year-old boy names Sam, who escapes New Jersey’s “suburban sameness”, looking for a paradisiacal reality in California. But Sam is not really escaping the routine and boredom of the Garden State, he is rather escaping his past and his family, trying to leave his demons behind.
The narrative of the script is non-linear, the scenes are skillfully alternated with visions and memories of the past. Right from the beginning, the fragmentation of the scenes indicates a clear confusion both in Sam’s mind and identity.
There are several allusions to mental disorders in this script. For instance, each time Sam’s mother appears in flashbacks she appears as a whole different person — going from being a well-groomed and soft-spoken woman to being messy-looking and coarse. Or the reference to Sam’s stay in a mental institution.
The dialogues are very well written and kept essential, never too verbose. The back and forth between reality and illusion really keep the interest alive and leave the audience wondering what — and who — they should believe in. However, the final key of the film is never revealed and left to the audience to find.
The plot is intriguing, very well developed, and full of unexpected twists.
A deep and thrilling story that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats.
Like.Share.Repost is an 8-minute comedy short film directed by Stanislav Shelestov and produced by Alexandra Tomilina about two goofballs, Seryoga and Andrey, who convince their friend Lena to film them while performing stunts for their youtube channel. Their trump card: they have pills that don’t make them feel pain.
So the two start stabbing themselves, breaking each other’s bones and smashing glass bottles on each other’s heads. All of that, without feeling a thing. What the two clowns forgot to consider is that, apart from pain, there is only so much that a body can go through before shutting down…
The acting is energetic and the film is fast-paced. The actors are funny without being grotesque. Shelestov’s direction is dynamic and the editing is very good. The use of prosthetics makes everything more believable and adds good production value.
Like.Share.Repost is a metaphor, taken to the extreme, of how far can people, and influencers go in order to be relevant in the virtual world.
An irreverent and effective comedy about the potential harm of social media.
Yes, Darling! is a 25-minute thriller film written and directed by Stanislav Shelestov. An enigmatic short film where nothing is what it appears, and everything is to be questioned.
At the beginning of the film, Gosha's evening seems to be pretty normal, tidying his house, talking to his mom on the phone, and waiting for his wife to come home from a night out.
But when his wife comes home early, we find out that Gosha is a man who is submissive to his abusive wife Galya. So that night, tired of being mistreated, he decides to leave her.
However, as the film unfolds, will later find out that Gosha is delusional, and is only fantasizing about leaving the woman, who left him instead.
In the past, we've seen films that, halfway through, switch points of view and show the same events from a different perspective. The abused becomes now the abuser, and the narrative turns upside down. Here, an initially innocent-looking Gosha now becomes an obsessive man who can’t let go of his ex-wife.
This film isn’t also short of funny moments. For example, when the corpse of the woman, who we initially think dies in a grape-related accident, keeps bossing around her husband, mocking him for his murdering skills not being up to par. Or when the classical nosey neighbor character won’t let Gosha complete his job in peace.
The cinematography is great, as it radically changes halfway through the film and gives the two main characters a completely different interpretation from the initial part of the film.
The production design is beautiful, and it's very well directed.
A cynical and unexpected film that you’ll want to watch over and over again to try and put the pieces of the story together!
If life was a series of evocative clips of nature, it would definitely be represented by the film STAGES, a visual short film written, directed and produced by Camille DeBiase.
This short uses visual elements of nature to explore 13 stages of life — with the first and the last stage coinciding.
The first stage of life has to be in a water element, the fetus doesn’t see colors so it was only appropriate that the first scene would be black and white, which also reminds us of the pregnancy ultrasounds people proudly hand on their fridge doors.
After that, the moment before birth is shown by the dynamic movement of a camera traveling through a dark hole surrounded by red and orange textured walls, the human flesh, almost like a roller coaster ride. Then the first moment after birth, a blue body of water alternated with air bubbles — the first breaths of the baby.
The scenes that follow show a meadow of flowers, indicating the playfulness of childhood, the turbulence of adolescence shown by an erupting volcano, the great energy of the waterfalls presumably brought by young adulthood, then serenity of the adult age, the appreciation of life in the images of sun-drenched sunflowers, the peace in the dawn of life, the grayness of old people’s hair in the images of a calm and grey water.
Then finally, the dandelion that blows away with the wind, the lightness of a life that is about to dissolve. Then back again, the black and white water is there to remind us that life is a circle, and we end just the way we started.
The editing is fairly simple, all scenes follow one another with simple crossfade. The music accompanies the images perfectly through this life-long journey.
There is a sort of resignation that comes out of this film. We can but surrender and accept that nature is bigger than ourselves, and that the relentless tendency of life is to grow up, get old, and become again part of a black and white body of water. And that it’s ok, and it can even be beautiful.
Considering that DeBiase also wrote a children’s book, as well as a script about foster care, it appears as she has a true passion to help, cherish and represent at best human development.
This visually appealing film offers the audience a time pause, sit back and experience life from a natural and peaceful point of view. A beautiful work, full of great intentions.
Butterfly is an apocalyptic 10-page script written by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel that explores the traditions of the Native American culture, represented by teenage Wabanaki Ket, and how they would manifest in a post-apocalyptic world.
The script is set in 2123 in New Island, a future New England which, due to climate change and the dramatic sea rise, detached from the mainland and became an island. A whale flu pandemic is also devastating the local population.
The script starts with Macky and Ket, two teenagers and longtime friends, who seem to be the last ones on the island. They look at the shore, waiting for a boat to rescue them and bring them to the mines, where, apparently, they will be safe from extinction.
The dialogues of this short are very well written, they are poetic and subtle and everything we understand from them is implied. There is also a mystery that comes out of them, we don't know who Macky and Ket met, how Macky knows Ket's grandmother and what were their lives before they were left alone in the island.
From early on we find out that Macky, a Japanese-American poet, is secretly in love with Ket, and tries to force many romantic moments with her. But when Ket, in turn, writes her own Haiku and hands it to Macky, we understand that she knows something about the future that Macky doesn’t. And when something appears on the horizon, Macky clashes with the reality that there is no boat coming to rescue them. However, a prophecy that Ket’s late Wabanaki grandmother made is about to come true.
In this film, the two main elements contrast beautifully: poet Macky, who lives in the real and material world — despite it being a poetic one — reading and writing poetry, playing music and listening to the radio. Then there is Ket, a sort of futuristic prophet who lives the lives of her ancestors, filled with traditions, beliefs and hopes for a more noble and brighter future.
A wonderful script, a simple concept but beautifully elaborated, that gives a lot of room for a director to experiment with images, sounds and colors.
The only two characters — plus the divine creature that appears in the end and the two voices on the radio — make this film quite easy to shoot.
This script would absolutely be worth being developed into a film!
Directed by Paul Arthur Rothman
Girl on the Ledge, a 1 hour 34 minutes film directed by Paul Arthur Rothman, is about Ana Bauman, played by Irina Abraham, and her husband Harry, played by Pascal Yen-Pfister, who together form a power-couple in the world of commercial photography.
Ana is a young woman who married a much older and accomplished photographer quite early in her life. One evening, attending a slam poetry event, Ana starts talking about her desire to find more truth and beauty in her photography, and when Harry tells her he always wanted to protect her from herself, she blatantly replies: “Are you afraid I’m going to leave you?”, almost as a prophecy of what will soon happen to the couple.
Harry’s character is almost like the sublimation of all of Ana’s fears as a woman and as an artist: he is successful, confident and comfortable in his own skin, while Ana is fidgety, anxious and insecure. So her only chance to free herself from a life she doesn’t fit in anymore is to sabotage their relationship and eviscerate her own life.
We’ve seen film characters get lost many times before; it’s not uncommon for characters in any story to temporarily lose their paths when searching for greater happiness. Changes are often difficult to overcome, but usually, it’s for the best. In this film, Ana becomes more and more morbid and tormented as time goes by. Nothing can seem to make her happy, not even her successes, and nothing makes sense to her anymore as she slowly deprives herself of her desire to live.
The cinematography conveys a lot of Ana’s anxiety, the beautifully shot final scenes of Ana getting lost in the Halloween parade give us a tangible sense of loss and abandonment, while the extreme closeups of Ana’s as well as other character’s faces really make us wonder: what is truly tormenting them?
The writing is scarce and kept bare minimum, which is a good thing in films that treat heavy and deep topics like this one. You don’t want the dialogues to overpower both the images and the actors’ performances.
There is no resolution in the plot, and maybe that’s what makes this feature so captivating and moving: the fact that there’s no story, but just the incessant and inevitable downfall of a soul who tries her best to live her passion without any rules, is what makes us empathize with her so much.
The anguish and melancholy of the main character are perfectly conveyed through this film and it's hard to let go the sadness once the film is over. A beautiful direction, with a very truthful photography and a great performance. Definitely a film to watch!
THIS IS THE END is an 18-page script by Roman Jenni about the unusual encounter between 19-year-old Holger and two tiny aliens on a destructive mission.
One night, after a party, the teenage boy gets a visit from two extraterrestrials. The two harmless-looking beings are then able to enter his conscience and turn his entire life upside-down.
Poor Holger is left to his own devices as he attempts — and fails — a mission on behalf of the aliens. He is sent to a psychic ward where he meets Eva, 20 years old, and together they will embark on a journey that culminates with the overthrowing of their small dictators.
But little do Holger and Eva know that the two little aliens will leave an unexpected gift behind.
Eva is the perfect sidekick any hero needs: free of judgment, she is wise and grounded. We’re in fact wondering why she ended up in the clinic in the first place.
We also don’t have any detail on Holger’s life before the aliens nor why he is “the chosen one”, all we need to know is that Holger cares enough to risk his own life to try and save the planet from destruction.
As we’ve seen and read many times before, aliens are usually portrayed as horrifying and gruesome beings who land on our planet in an effort to take over our lives. But Jenni’s aliens — described as long-legged miniature men with small noses and pointy teeth — don’t seem scary at all.
Quite the contrary, their presence is almost pleasant in the script, with lighthearted scenes full of music and comedy. Not to mention that thanks to their visit they will actually help Holger find true love.
A cute and original Sci-Fi comedy script with a pinch of political satire that will reconcile us with the possibility of any encounter of the third kind.
42 Ideals of Ma’at is an artistic video that recounts the modern re-writing of the ideals of the ancient Egyptian goddess.
Ma’at, the winged goddess that embodies the Egyptian values of morality, justice, and harmony, is beautifully portrayed by a statuesque Heather Regal Salmon, who is also directing, producing and editing the film alongside Donny Regal.
Salmon – who is dressed in a gorgeous shimmering and flowy cape – moves like a divine bird gliding over the wonderful nature in Maui and, by watching this film, we almost feel like we’re following her through a journey of endless love.
The two directors bring everything to the next level by combining the images of the goddess with visual effects as well as overlapping shots, and mixing them with some mystical music. The music is definitely one of the best things about this film and it's composed by the couple.
The result is a meaningful and captivating film that offers the audience a 4-minute calm and contemplative moment to stop and reflect on life, on our society, and wonder: how can our daily actions be improved to bring more peace and harmony to our surroundings?
MINNEAPOLIS by David Anderson is a love dedication to the city that witnessed George Floyd's brutal murder.
A short stroll through its sidewalks, its parks, under its sky. A sky that saw it all: The beauty and the nightmare. A touching soundtrack follows the protagonist, and it works as a second character of the short movie. It doesn't take too much space, yet it's there. It's a little bit like Minneapolis itself, ashamed of what happened on its streets yet willing to get better, starting from its citizens.
Minneapolis knows they are trustworthy because they don't close their eyes or turn their back.
And so does the entire world.
And when people hold themselves accountable, and as long as there is memory, there can be hope. David Anderson helped not to forget.
Catherine Gropper’s work “His Transformation” is a four-minute short movie.
A touching soundtrack accompanies a montage of different types of images that embrace nature, life moments, paintings, faces, words.
Its genre could be considered experimental, and it reminds us of Hermeticism. The meaning of the work is indeed not objectively clear. It could be read in different ways depending on who is watching and what the audience wants to see in it (that’s also likely why the author uses a slide that cites impressionism).
One meaning on which probably everyone could agree on is hope. Both the music and the choice of some images seem to deliver a feeling of hope.
Enjoyable, as every work that gives a positive vibe can be.
TIMELESS, directed by Susan Mey Lee Lim, Samudra Kajal Saikia, and Christina Teenz Tan, is a super short video music of 3 minutes and a half.
The video is animated, and it follows the adventure of a little girl and her stuffed lion around the world.
Their journey goes from a sunset in a forest to a snowy landscape, from a beautiful fading of one of Dalí’s most famous paintings to faraway cities. After a close-up with the characters in the space, they dissolve into small paintings made of memories.
Memory is the main topic of the song and the video. And characters live within it and above time. As Susan May Lee Lim states in her director’s note, connections beyond reality are the key to her research. She is not only a director but a surgeon and creative director of a project about companionship between humans and inanimate creatures, empowered by “the new sciences of synthetic DNA, the technologies of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Physics, to address the global challenge of loneliness and the need for new approaches to companionship in a future world.”
This project makes even more sense in a world that has to fight a global pandemic and has already been challenged by the over-use of social networks that connect us throughout the globe. But do they keep us together?
The music (by Ron J Danziger, lyrics by Christina Teenz Tan, arranged by Matthieu Eymard) is charming and reminds of the sounds of the Country genre. It starts with only voice and guitar and then adds bass, drums, and keyboard.
Timeless is surely a lovely project, a mirror of our current times, and a reason for hope.
Best friends Jaik and Wyatt guide us in a love-oriented adventure in Jaik Andino's script, 2ND DATE.
The story takes place in two different time sets: present, and past (the 90s), where flashbacks show the two protagonists when they were kids and tell what happened in their lives that made them be the adults they are today.
The structure is well developed, and the pace is excellent. It doesn't feel you are reading a very long script (+130 pages). This happens thanks to the dialogues, which are funny and have a nice rhythm, and thanks to the double-time set that almost makes it look like a script in a script (storyline A and storyline B).
The plot embraces several topics that are pretty sensitive nowadays. And while it is a comedy, it also underlines a prevalent condition among young people, who are struggling more and more to find happiness (whether it is made of love, friendship, self-esteem, or social acceptance).
The protagonists come from different social backgrounds and races. This choice makes the movie very inclusive and up to current times.
It's been a pleasant reading, and we would love to see these two best friends' adventures on a screen soon.
Everything about Edsta's short film TAKE THE VAX is great.
From the plot to the photography, from the flawless editing to the protagonist (played by the talented Fesal Jaber).
From the first images, we realize that we are in front of a quality product, packaged by someone who has been dealing with a camera for quite some time, both behind it and in front of it.
The idea, current but gutted in a very original way, is implemented through a genre that could be considered horror, which also certainly winks at comedy, mainly thanks to how they have chosen to represent the antagonist.
However, what makes this short film perfect is the free interpretation subtext that embodies the script: governments invite everyone to get vaccinated with pounding advertising messages, and relatives and friends (and in this case also strangers passers-by) perceive as enemies those who have decided not to get vaccinated and vice-versa.
But is there someone right and someone wrong about it?
The author does not respond directly but shows a character who defeats the enemy and transforms him into an ally simply by accepting his fate, although literally persecuted and violently pushed in the direction desired by the government and the people around him.
And from there on, his life improves.
However, as the audience, we are left with a question that everyone can answer according to their opinions. And isn't this the primary purpose of a successful story?
Congratulations to the director and author Edsta and to the producer and protagonist Fesal Jaber (a face that we will surely soon get used to recognizing in the industry) for this ambitious project. It's not easy to succeed in telling a story about something that it's still occurring without either overreacting or ending up being trivial.
But TAKE THE VAX made it, and we enjoyed it.
Directed by Susan Lim, Christina Teenz Tan, Samudra Kajal Saikia
Fantasy Of Companionship Between Human and Inanimate is a 14-minute animated short film written by Susan Lim, Christina Teenz Tan and Thomas Z. Shepard.
It's the story of a small lion whose soul, once flown from his body, finds a home in the body of a small stuffed lion, which will become the little girl Chistina's best friend. Christina will take care of him, she will call him Alan, and she will not abandon him even when, now grown up, has to leave home to go to college to become a scientist. And it is precisely here that Alan decides to entrust his body and soul to a scientific project to acquire a synthetic DNA that will allow him to transport himself and have artificial intelligence.
The illustrations chosen by the directors (Susan Lim herself, Samudra Kajal Saikia, and Christina Teenz Tan) are realistic but at the same time retain a fairytale atmosphere, also enhanced by the narration of the voice over by Adrian Peacock who, together with the perfect soundtrack (created by Manu Martin, Joi Barua, Ron J Danziger, and Matthieu Eymard with the super well known and awarded Stefano Civetta and Greg Calibi as sound engineers) offers 14 minutes of story in which the audience can dream with the characters through the numerous settings, ranging from the jungle of Tanzania to California, from exteriors to interiors, from days to nights.
This short movie is also a tribute to science, an additional attribute to be considered precious, especially in this historical period in which science is considered fundamental (it is no wonder that Susan Lim, writer and director of the short movie, is also a scientist herself).
And it is precisely the combination of dream and science that makes this work extremely original and necessary.
Science has always embodied rationality but we rarely focus on the most important characteristic that unites all scientists: imagination.
And imagination is the main ingredient that dreamers are made of.