awhile back i had posted about the journal of short film. well, i finally got around to ordering the first issue and it arrive a week or so ago.

overall i’m quite happy with it. there are a few minor things i’d like to see improved upon. for one, there are no subtitles at all on the disc. this is a disservice to people who are deaf as well as to those whose english is not that great. luckily, alot of the films have very little dialogue, so it’s not always a major issue. also, i would have liked to have more information on what format the films were shot on. some of the films had some sort of slight pixelization or artifact problem going on, and i’m not sure if it’s a codec problem, the way it’s supposed to look or something my dvd player may be doing. knowing what format a film was shot on at least could give me some suggestion as to which of these it may be.

some thoughts on the films in issue one:

no ordinary sun by jonathan brough. a sci-fi film about a scientist working solo in antartica when time starts to slow down. it was refreshing to see a sci-fi film that isn’t just an excuse for a war film. i wanted this to be longer. it just seemed to start to get interesting when it ended. it’s based on a short story – so i’m not sure if that’s how the story is or something just in the film. the main thing i didn’t like about the film is that there was a pop song used on the ending sequence. it’s a pet peeve of mine. in general i dislike pop songs in films(there are exceptions – wong kar-wai for example). unless it has an explcit reason for being there, most of the time i just feel like it’s there either as product placement or because the filmmaker feels that the audience needs a pop song to tell them what this scene means.

post-partum by marie-josee saint-pierre. this was probably my favourite film in this issue. about a woman who was abandoned by her mother and raised by her grandmother. my favourite scenes were shots in an empty playground that were suprisingly emotional.

gravel by steven bognar. a film about a single mother, her teenage daughter and her daughter’s friend who go to visit a man her mother is sort of interested in who has just gotten out of prison. every character in this film felt real. from the way the kids spoke to the awkward silences between characters.

sigh by ann steurnagel. a found footage collage i’m still not sure how i feel about. i need to see it a few more times to see how things fit together. the footage used was great, but i’m not sure of the meaning behind it. is the footage of the men wrestling supposed to be a comment on homoeroticism, the joy of sports or something else?

amelita destruction by potter-belmar labs. a collage/deconstruction of found footage. upon reading the notes i see this is just a portion of a set of “improvised cinema” where leslie raymond and jason jay stevens manipulate various sources of footage live in front of an audience. there were portions of this that i really enjoyed, though i suspect i may have more appreciation for it if i saw it being manipulated live.

corner, los angeles by joe merrel. the same location shot from varied times and at slightly different angles so you see what is going on in various sections of the same shot simultaneously. it reminds me of a film by zbig rybcynski, only i think the rybcynski film is the stronger of the two.

back to misery by heidi mau. re-examinging footage from a film made when you were young. has the film changed? has the meaning? what does it tell you about yourself then and who you are today? i really liked this. but with these kind of films a lot depends on the narration. it succeeds here, but i can see how it wouldn’t or how someone else may even think the narration here doesn’t succeed.

tascam 224 by luke lamborn. manipulated video footage. part home movie part surrealism. reminded me of something you might’ve seen on alive from off center. a show i wish existed in some form today. well, i guess this dvd could be seen as sort of filling that gap in some respects.

long strugge by ashkan soltani. a documentary about two native american sisters and the u.s. government. the government kicking the sister’s off their land and telling them that they are doing this because(among other reasons) the damage they are inflicting on the land. of course once they’ve been removed from the land, in comes the mining companies. depressing, but sadly not all that surprising.

after finishing the dvd, i was sad to think this was only the first volume and i’d have to wait for the next issue. at 10 bucks a pop(+ postage) it’s a real steal. when the next volume is released i’ll be subscribing for sure.

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