FILM FEST PETALUMA
May 5, 2012, Mystic Theatre
Saturday Afternoon Shorts (2:30pm)
THE PULSERA PROJECT
Fiona Becker, USA, 5 minutes
Santa Rosa High School student Fiona Becker chronicles a student initiative to support children in Nicaragua. Through interviews, music, and photo montage, her short documentary demonstrates how service to others brings a sense of purpose and unity to her high school class.
Kirsten Lepore, USA, 6 minutes
This stop-motion adventure follows two lonely figures engaging in transoceanic conversation via objects sent in a bottle. The two complete each other, yet must endure a fateful journey in order to finally meet. Kirsten Lepore uses sophisticated animation technique to tell a simple story about the sacrifices made for love.
THE PIANO TUNER
Olivier Treiner, France, 13 minutes
When a piano prodigy witnesses an act he wasn’t meant to see, his performance will have to be that of a lifetime to escape potentially deadly consequences. This stylish, psychological tale utilizes crafty cinematography to explore the dark side of performance anxiety. 2012 Winner of the French Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.
Vicky Mather, UK, 11 minutes
A young man who doesn’t leave the house loves to make clockwork toys and kiss his mother goodnight. But when he gazes out the window he notices a young woman dancing through the fields and forests, capturing his imagination and turning his clockwork world upside down. Extraordinary stop-motion animation technique using live actors provides a totally fresh and highly expressive aesthetic to this innovative and internationally acclaimed short.
Aprile Ruha, USA, 8 minutes
An unusually cheery criminal engages in a battle of wits with a convenience store cashier until a feisty old woman spoils his plans. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, this offbeat comedy constantly keeps us guessing who will get the last laugh.
Alister Lockhart and Patrick Sarell, Australia, 11 minutes
Road rage takes on new meaning in this battle of wits set across the vast and barren landscape of Australia’s Nullarbor Plain. 2012 Winner of the Australian Oscar for Best Animated Short.
Karni & Saul, United Kingdom, 10 minutes
When three elderly aunts join a young boy for his birthday, they recite a story that ignites his wild imagination. This acclaimed experimental short mixes live-action and stop-motion techniques to construct a wondrous meditation on childhood fantasy.
Inès Sedan, France, 6 minutes
This experimental animation from France examines a man who has another identity hiding inside him. As he deftly navigates through the dance of life, he struggles to embrace himself in spite of the narrow, traditionally-defined roles in which he has been forced to conform.
Guillaume Foresti, France, 12 minutes
Guillaume Foresti’s portrait of a woman going through the motions of daily life utilizes atmosphere, understatement, and a complex visual style to represent her inner turmoil and loneliness. As she becomes increasingly withdrawn from the world around her, one wonders whether her escape will become her new reality.
THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE
William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, USA, 16 minutes
Inspired in equal measure by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. 2012 Oscar Winner for Best Animated Short.
World Shorts Showcase (7:30pm)
Amy West and Jacob Bellochio, USA, 5 minutes
Local student filmmakers Amy West and Jacob Bellochio tell a delightful story about a young girl rebelling against the expectations of her mother. The result is a refreshing and original take on gender, identity, and personal style.
Christopher Kezelos, Australia, 5 minutes
A strange creature races against time to make the most important and beautiful creation of his life. Chris Kezelos employs stunning stop motion animation to craft a tale that reminds us of the truth that, in life, every second counts.
Dean Yamada explores the rhythms and cycles of life in this beautifully realized meditation on death and learning to let go. Exploring the traditional Japanese concepts of haiku, taiko, and persimmons, the film teaches us that even in sorrow, the sweetness of life is something to be savored.
Sara Verhagen, France, 8 minutes
While looking after dogs in Paris to make ends meet, an English student discovers that man’s best friend can sometimes be an unexpected burden. This clever dark comedy from France serves as a cautionary tale about the kindness of strangers in a foreign land.
Lindsay MacKay, Canada, 20 minutes
When a young man begins working as a lifeguard, he encounters a lady swimmer with a mysterious talent. And when his curiosity gets the best of him and he attempts to get closer to her, he discovers a secret more amazing and alluring then he ever could have imagined. Lindsay Mackay orchestrates great performances and a compelling visual design to weave a fantasy of temptation, pursuit, and unlikely love.
Maria Bock, Norway, 12 minutes
When a young man returns home to tell his parents about his newfound love, only song and dance can express the heights of his joy. This humorous and flamboyant short from Norway examines the human need to love who you want and be who you are out loud.
MADAME PERRAULT’S BLUEBEARD
A.J. Bond, Canada, 6 minutes
This fantasy re-envisioning of a classic fairytale depicts the inner adventure of an author’s young wife as she reads herself into his dark allegory of mistrust. Stunning camera and design work pervade this exploration of the psyche and imagination by Film Fest Petaluma alumnus A.J. Bond and cinematographer Amy Belling.
Stéphane Demoustier and Guillaume Foresti, France, 13 minutes
This subtle psychological drama from France depicts a chance meeting between a woman who is reaching out desperately for contact and a man who also seeks to be felt. But as their encounter grows more passionate, might he find that her grasp is in fact a stranglehold? This artfully executed story of human connection explores the risks inherent through the power of touch.
Christopher Stollery, Australia, 10 minutes
When a youngster brings home a startling picture he drew at school, it sparks a conversation between his parents that brings out some surprising secrets. Chris Stollery’s Australian comedy reveals the perils of guilt, self-doubt, and the danger of jumping to conclusions.
Jacob Frey & Harry Fast, Germany, 3 minutes
Bob tells the story of a little hamster that tries to follow his true love around the globe. This short animated crowd pleaser from Germany has screened at hundreds of festivals the world over.
Midnight Shorts (12:00am)
ANCIENT ALIEN ICE ROAD TRUCKER WARS
Nick Nuebel and Ben Hughes, USA, 6 minutes
Where do they come from? What is their purpose? How much do they make? The world’s foremost experts on ancient galactic trucking offer evidence and speculation that sheds light on the most profound mystery ever. High School filmmakers Nick Nuebel and Ben Hughes unite the most absurd elements of the History Channel in one spoof that spans past civilizations, remote cosmic truck stops, and the depths of modern man’s gullibility.
What comes around goes around in this Spanish short about a man who gets up and prepares his morning coffee only to repeat the task again and again.
Bobby Young, USA, 16 minutes
When a farmer who’s down on his luck can’t pay his mortgage, he happens upon some magic squash seeds that seem to be the answer to his problems. But as he uses the power for ever-increasing personal wishes, it appears that he has one final lesson left to learn. Bay Area filmmaker Bobby Young’s skillfully shot comedic allegory of greed and true fulfillment offers a unique spin on an age-old tale.
This dark and stylis thriller from France follows a frisky couple in a hotel room bed who face as an unknown peril that threatens to cut short their romantic endeavor and their lives. Frightening magic comes to life in this creepy yet intriguingly conceptual tale of lust, linen, and gruesome ends.
LA MEDIA PENA (Half as Bad)
Sergio Barrejón, Spain, 14 minutes
When a powerful businessman finds himself at the end of his rope, his saving grace may arrive in the unexpected form of a disgruntled employee. When he is forced to hear her perspective, can he bring himself to sympathize with her, and in the process save his own soul? This comedy-drama uses black and white cinematography to paint a stark morality tale exploring the power of regret and forgiveness.
Momoko Seto, France, 10 minutes
This experimental expedition into the vast and the very small cleverly depicts the cyclic nature of the universe in a visually stunning fashion. Time lapse macrophotography transforms the familiar into a wondrous new cosmic landscape that mixes biology and fine art.
Chris Hanratty, Canada, 7 minutes
Returning home from college for a family dinner, a brother and sister have an announcement to make that might just horrify their doting parents. This shocking and hilarious comedy from Canada reminds us that true love does conquer all even when the odds (and their family) might be stacked against them.
When three innocuous college kids find themselves stranded on an empty desert highway, their only hope of salvation comes in the form of two inane hillbillies and their disgusting RV. But when they take them up on their offer, the group soon discovers that there is no such thing as a free ride.