HollyShorts Pt. 2: Amanda Seyfried, Sofas and Cigarettes

This article originally appeared on The Film Experience

The virtual HollyShorts Film Festival is in full swing and begins to focus on specific genre categories as the days roll on.  It’s an Oscar Qualifying Festival so nominees or even a future Oscar winner could well emerge. In part one we looked at nine shorts with a couple of familiar actors appearing. While there is just too much to cover, here are nine more highlights and a few more celebrity actors, too…

Birdwatching (d. Samantha Soule)
Two women talk about their lives in the middle of nature.  Beautifully lensed and existential.  Amanda Seyfried and Sharon Washington have a comfortable chemistry, though the film seems to ambiguous to actually mean something.

The Right Words (d. Adrian Moyse Dullin)
A young French teenager tries to muster up the courage to talk to his crush as his sister and her friend dole out advice.  A great group of young actors play off each other’s insecurities and deliver something that feels real.  Fun use of social media and how much it factors in to all facets of young people’s lives

Women in Film

Good Thanks, You (d. Molly Manning Walker)
Following a date rape, a girl’s interactions with authorities don’t help her trauma.  The short shows a factually bleak reaction to reporting a rape and a wide range of authorities who drop the ball and ask the wrong questions.  Jasmine Jobson’s emptiness is palpable and conveys the true toll it takes on this girl’s soul.

Sofa So Good (d. Noa Osheroff)
Broke and needing a sofa after her roommate reneges, a young woman searches for a sofa in New York City.  Star Omri Anghel is deadpan comedy perfection.  The film is well shot and bitingly funny.  Hiam Abbass is spectacular as a doting but realistic mother.

Cinematography

The Angler (d. David Darg)
A young mother and a fisherman have a chance encounter when their lines come entangled.  Beautifully shot and clean to look at in both the dark and the light of the day.  It’s a simple story told with general kindness, warm colors, and a bittersweet ending.

Empiric (d. Ioana Turcan)
Romanian authorities attempt to crack down on abortion as a factory worker attempts to protect herself and her family.  Stunningly bleak but with a true sense of atmosphere.  Two series of extended tracking shots show impressive control over the setting and the story.

Comedy

Animal Food (d. Jonas Ljung)
A man resorts to dark measures in order to catch a meal.  The darkest of comedy, but with a funny payoff, as long as you don’t dwell on the reality.  Lack of dialogue is the film’s secret weapon.

This Will Be My Last Cigarette (d. Joscha Bongard, Alma Buddecke)
A terrible woman is down to her last chance at changing her life with dire consequences if she fails.  Unhinged fun from stars Adele Journeaux and Joe Sheridan.  Stepping into the surreal, this one delivers the most on consistent laughs.

Two Jacked (d. Jon Huertas)
A desperate man attempts a carjacking while his victim remains incredibly sympathetic.  Sometimes the most simple premises can be the most enjoyable.  Currie Graham excels as the world’s most sympathetic and unaffected victim.  Graham and writer/co-star Kenny Stevenson make the most of the comedy without falling into hack jokes.

Next time, we’ll cover film blocks feature Animation, LGBTQIA shorts, and International offerings

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