2009 Florida Film Festival Shorts Chizfilm Movie Reviews
April 6, 2009

“Original Cinema” Shorts at the Eighteenth Annual Florida Film Festival

by Jonathan Chisdes

Last week, I was privileged to attend seven of the ten days of the 18th annual Florida Film Festival in Winter Park, FL. The theme this year was “Original Cinema” (a pun on original sin in case you didn’t get that) and it was certainly a good theme since the festival was filled with original and creative films.

For me, it was an intense but wonderful and exciting week. During that time, I managed to see 34 films: eight feature-length and 26 shorts. I’ll be very happy to review the features later, but today I’d like to tell you all about the shorts. In the interest of space, I won’t comment on every one; but I will at least share with you the dozen that I most enjoyed. For lack of any better way to organize this, I’ll approach them alphabetically.

If you get a chance to see any of these shorts, I highly recommend you do. They are the best of the ones I saw.

But before I end this article, I do want to comment on one last short. It was called “Glory at Sea.” Of all 26 shorts I saw last week, it was the one I liked the least. In my view, it was just terrible. Survivors of a storm make a boat and sail out into the sea to find their loved ones under the ocean who are still alive. It made no sense to me. Maybe it was supposed to be some sort of religious metaphor or something, but I thought it was just poorly done and quite confusing.

So maybe you can imagine my utter astonishment yesterday when I discovered that “Glory at Sea” had been awarded the jury prize for best short of the festival. I was completely floored. What did the jury see that I didn’t? What did I miss?

I have to tell you, this really made me rethink my own abilities as a critic. If my opinion of films is so grossly off, I wonder if it negates everything I have ever done as a critic in the last two-and-a-half years. If so, perhaps I should consider giving up my career as a film critic.

Well, before I do that, though, I do have at least one more responsibility. I must review the rest of the festival. There were eight feature-length films I saw last week and I have an obligation to write about them. I’ll do that within the next few days, so keep an eye open for that.

After that, who knows?

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