Special Report By Moira Sullivan
The Uppsala International Film Festival receives hundreds of entries of film each year from film schools around the world and the competition is keen. Everything from under one minute up to 60 minutes is the general rule to qualify as a short. Shorts can be compared to sonnets, haiku's, or baggage limits on air flights. Brevity and a concentrated format is their beauty as witnessed bythis year's pageant
The 2001 UPPSALA GRAND PRIX went to Apples Pears and Figs, (LA POMME, LAFIGUE ET L'AMANDE directed by Joel Brisse from France. The film is about a woman who leaves her husband because of his cruelty to a horse and who later findsconsolation from an Arab farm laborer. MO[NU]MENT [UM] directed by PeterCollis also won a special prize, a rich film about a coastal community called RyeHarbor in the UK-- a film which according to the jury "transcends the boundaryof the documentary genre, through its extraordinary images and multi-layered text on the relationship between time, space and memory.
The BEST CHILDREN'S FILM went to Soother directed by Jennifer Kierans of Canada Selected, by a jury of children, the film deals with the manipulations of young girls who hone their skills at an early age, and their tests of loyalty. One of the AUDIENCE AWARDs went. GOSTA AND LENNART directed by BabakNajafi, about a man and his dog. A young filmmaker at the Swedish National Film School, Najafi could help to rejuvenate the iconography of Swedish film.
In addition to the winners were numerous exceptional films in terms of style and content. Aussie Janet Merewether's Contemporary Case Studies is a rich andstylized show room of contemporary phenomena in today's relationships. Though erewether hopes that men and women will eventually become friends, she chronicles the obstacles in the way ( interviewed by Movie Magazine in conjunction with Uppsala report). Giles Borg and Duncan Telford from the UK make an equally strong point in Laws of Motion. What happens when you walk too close to someone or worse, neck to neck?
Deadly Boring by Henry Moore Selder of Sweden breaks ground in an interesting music collaboration, a 'narrative' music video set in Mexico. Les Chausettes Sales (Dirty Socks) by David Lanzman from France is an innovative tale of a man in need of a shower fresh out of prison. Swedish director Per Carlsson of the 'Department of Short Messages' claims that he is only interested inworking with short subjects. His film Magic Evening is a succinct tale ofa night of love where everything goes right until it suddenly goes wrong. ..et j'ai vu l'hermitage (..and I Wanted to See the Hermitage) by Olivier SÚror of France set in Russia's 'Versailles' employs fast action cinematography with acryptic story.( interviewed by Movie Magzine International in conjunction with Uppsala report)Stefan Prenh and Jury Wagner of Germany combine the horror genre with an homage to industrial safety educational films in Forklift, a shortfilm about safety practices which even Ripley in Aliens could benefitfrom. Le Mal du Pays (Homesick) by Lauren Bachet from France based on a novel by Marc Villard--Bienvenue au Paradis--tackles the subject ofillegal immigrants from Rwanda who are forced to either smuggle in heroin or ride the landing gear to a new life in France. Finally Richard Reeves from Canada inSea Story etches both sound and image onto film in a technique called 'animation flicker' used at the turn of the century by early filmmakers. Thereis quite an international following who use this method says Richard who livesin a peaceful place called Gulf Islands which has an outstanding film and TV school.
Making shorts can have its advantages agreed all the filmmakers. Some prefer the format to feature films, others want to eventually make a successful feature, and why not in Hollywood. Atom Films which displays films in Broadband on the net would not necessarily be a choice among the filmmakers at Uppsala this year. Whyshow your film before it has a chance to make the festival route, which basicallytakes place at all the large festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin and Rotterdam. Uppsala is a smaller venue of course but one in which if your filmwins best short can qualify it for an Oscar nomination. On a later show we will hear from some of the filmmakers who attended Uppsala this year. (Merewether and SÚror).
© 2001 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 11/01
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