Movies

Shorts On Tap: Two Become One

Last week I was invited to go along to Shorts On Tap’s Two Become One film night. There were ten films shown, and three other judges – Sebastian, Mujden and Michael – and I had to choose three winners for the evening.

Below are the trailers for the films, in the order in which they were shown on the night, followed by a brief commentary about each one.

Short Love Story

My initial thought at the opening of this film was ‘Well, this has been done before’. And it’s true: using plastic models and miniature sets certainly isn’t something new. But the full-length feature was nicely arranged, and made you think about its themes: something about being removed from the scene not only by viewing it through a camera lens, but also by it being created completely from inanimate objects, worked really well. It was a touching sequence with a predictable yet still poignant ending.

Scar’s notes on the night: 

shortlovestorynotes

Strong Heart 

It was unanimously decided by all the judges that this was the worst film of the night, which is a shame because I love Glastonbury and I like folky music. This sort of killed them both. A vapid, vacuous video in which a woman sings what is essentially a throwback to Wonderwall, the most overdone busking song of all time, but calls it Wonderman instead. Another woman walks around Glastonbury and keeps seeing those irritating “Don’t-worry-bee-happy” type quotes staring up at her in ugly fonts from the backs of buses, the windows of shops, etc. And then a bird shits on her hand and she takes ages to wipe it off because she’s in such a dreamy state that her brain’s been sucked into a vacuum of hippy crap.

Ahem. Sorry. Didn’t like it though. Can you tell? 😉

Scar’s notes on the night: 

strongheartnotes

In Berlin We Die Alone

I don’t have a trailer for this one unfortunately; it was, however, a reasonable film about going out and partying hard as a young gay man. I didn’t feel much during it, but I thought it could have potential if the storyline had been more developed.

Scar’s notes on the night: 

inberlinnotes

Sugar Cane

You get the whole film for this one, not just a trailer. I thought it was passable, but it looked like a coffee ad, and I felt like the ending was trying to add meaning to something that ultimately wasn’t very interesting. Having said that, one of my friends whom I brought along for the evening loved it, so it can’t be all bad.

Scar’s notes on the night: 

sugarcanenotes

Crave

Another full video – a music video, this time. I felt like this one was a shame. The director obviously has a way with the camera, he knows how to make a good film. I asked him why he’d shot it in black & white, and he replied that he wanted to make sure he understood black & white before he moved on to trying to understand colour. I do like a perfectionist.

However, the guy singing makes me want to punch him in the face, which doesn’t help, and he horrendously overacts throughout. I felt like the director knew this – he kept saying that the singer had had a lot of input into the video, and that he’d made some decisions that the director didn’t really agree with.

I wanted to like the song – one of my friends loved it – but the guy’s voice had that overly-educated vibrato going on. He’s studying music at Oxford, and you can kind of tell. Personally, I prefer my music a bit more raw and gutteral. But, you know, A+ for effort.

Scar’s notes on the night: 

cravenotes

Beyond Darkness

Another one where  you get the whole thing. In this case, though, the whole thing was quite short. I asked the director why this was, and he replied that it was an entry for a film competition and there was a limit on the length. I felt like it would have benefitted from being longer, and also from having better actors, but it was a lovely concept and the execution was ultimately pretty good.

Scar’s notes on the night: 

beyonddarknessnotes

The Neighbours

And here is the whole of this one as well. I didn’t actually make any notes on the night, other than giving it 8/10, because I was just enjoying watching the film, which is always a good sign. I thought it was a funny, poignant take on how a relationship can become routine, and the weird things which can end up reminding you why you love the person you’re with.

The Station Master 

Just a trailer for this one. I didn’t love it as much as the other judges did, but I thought it was good. A bit overblown, and a bit of an overdone concept, but good.

Scar’s notes on the night: 

stationmasternotes

How To Date 

This was alright – an accurate take on the awkwardness of dating – but it was so short, and not particularly well-acted. I’m not a huge fan of shaky-cam either.

Scar’s notes on the night: 

howtodatenotes

Honey Pie

Full video above. I thought it was interesting – definitely a change from all the other videos of the night – and I didn’t take any notes, beyond giving it 6/10, because I was too busy watching it. Definite shades of Lars & the Real Girl, but in documentary format. I liked it. I learned something, and I enjoy doing that.

The Winners

We put our heads together and judged all the films – there wasn’t total agreement, but we came to a compromise.

© Oscar Tornincasa
© Oscar Tornincasa

Ultimately, the three winning films of the night were Short Love Story, The Neighbours and The Station Master. We also gave an honourable mention to Beyond Darkness for having a great concept, and Honey Pie for being interesting. We all hated Strong Heart. The rest of the films fell somewhere in between love and hate for most of us, though one judge also liked In Berlin We Die Alone.

Shorts On Tap is a fun film event that’s definitely worth a look – I took three friends along and they all seemed to enjoy themselves as well. You can find out more by following them on Facebook, and if you’re a director, send them your short film to be featured. Most of the judges probably aren’t quite as harsh as I am…

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