Fantasia Film Review: International Science Fiction Short Film Showcase 2016

The International Science Fiction Short Film Showcase 2016 was curated by Fantasia’s own Mitch Davis.

In Eternity Hill, the memories of the departed, their social habits and even their purchasing information is used to create a digital representation that can be interacted by family and friends. Directed by Marc Jozefowicz and Alex Feldman, the film toys with the idea of our personal information and digital footprints being enough data to create an accurate portrayal of someone’s personality. If we’re able to make that leap, would we want to? A starting point for several questions. Worth your time. It feels like it wants to tell a larger story.

(Source: Fantasia)

(Source: Fantasia)

Director Leah Johnston brings us Ingrid and the Black Hole, a film in which two children grow up together, fall in love and age. Ingrid, the girl who once believed black holes are key to time travel, now travels in time in her own mind. We see Ingrid and Conrad be kids, then teenagers in love and then adult parents with a child and then the camera moves and their ages change back and forth as we pan in and out the house. In the words of the director, she was inspired by her grandmother’s own experiences with Alzheimer’s disease. When an old Ingrid, confusing her own son with Conrad, tells him she has found the black hole between two stars you believe it. It is a heartbreaking story, delicately told. Should not be missed.

F Meat brings us a corporate thriller set in the not too distant future, where a CEO has to pick his replacement. His company is the number one provider of F Meat, a protein supplement. The catch? Think Soylent Green. The CEO has picked someone who has done time in prison for his beliefs. He’s locking himself in with his last candidate hoping to convince him of the secret and the necessary solution. The premise lends itself to the excuse of haste, but I found it too familiar in the moral question it asks and too hectic in its execution. Directed by Sean Bell.

Reversal, directed by Michael Lippert, is another tragic love story. A scientist has discovered time travel through 16mm film. What he wants is to return to the time before his wife’s death and prevent it. His tries fail continuously as he runs out of time. Another nostalgic tug at the heartstrings, this one also bringing 16mm home movies in the spotlight. It feels more of a fantasy than science fiction, and it ends exactly like you think it does.

David Gaddie directs Beautiful Dreamer, the longest short at 26 minutes. With more time to stretch its legs, this story spans several decades as the protagonist learns she only has a few days to live. Set in the near future, she opts for a way to freeze herself. This way she can use each day with her daughter Amy as she grows up. Amy certainly loves her mother as a kid, but once she disappears and reappears in her teenage years, the difference is notorious. A few years forward and Amy is of age to go dancing with her Mom. But the next jump finds Amy a divorced single parent with two kids. Is Amy really sharing her life with her time-traveling mother? Is this a benefit or an extended heartache? Well done film, that focuses more on the questions. I could have done without the CGI drones flying around everywhere.

Alternate, by director Conor Holt, is not too far away. An immersion visor transports a weary man to the beach, to the club, to literally a ton of supposedly fun places. The man takes off his visor to return to his small dreary apartment. The man tries putting it on again, then he takes it off. As he contemplates his life, his hands lift his hands to his face and, just in case, tries to see if he’s still got a visor on. Short but effective film that less about virtual reality and more about accepting reality. I almost brought my own hands to test if I had a visor on… Then I remembered I still have some Fantasia days to go, so I won’t be trying to do that just yet.

Carlos Lesmer directs Take Off. An astronaut is lost in a planet far away. He finds an unusual portal through which he can communicate with… a little girl playing in the woods. Can he really make the girl understand the gravity of his message? With his oxygen supply running low, does it really matter? A short film about using the time we have left to make human contact. Nice and sweet.

Unfortunately, the last film which was Javier Chillon’s They Will All Die In Space, couldn’t be screened due to audio issues.

Highly recommended: Leah Johnston’s Ingrid and the Black Hole for saving herself the transition as she switched eras within the same scene, also giving us a sense of time travel. It’s a very smart storytelling technique that fits in with the genre.

Coming up, who knows. I’ve been making the schedule up as I go for a while now.

That will do for now.

 

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