Phoenix Fear Film Festival 3: The Shorts

Rating: N/A

While we certainly had a number of features capable of kicking your ass, I think we were particularly proud of the short-film selection at this year’s festival, which had some really good work in it. The award for Best Short deservedly went to John Francis Conway III’s Blockhead, about a book-store owner who lures women to his basement where… Well, let’s just leave it at that, shall we? It’s an excruciatingly brutal tale to watch, with some startlingly-good FX and thoroughly-convincing performances. Also up there, at almost the same level, were Sinkhole and Dead Creek.

The former is about a wheeler-dealer who heads out into rural Pennsylvania to buy out some land, only to find the owner has been staring into the abyss which is the coal-mine beneath the property, for a bit too long, while Creek (picture, right) was a beautifully-shot tale about a two sisters who get lost as night falls, in the same woods that was the location of a childhood tragedy. The trio were all excellent examples of how it’s possible to tell a fully-fledged story in twenty minutes or less. I’m also particularly pleased to report a strong representation from the old country, with four shorts from the UK making their way over to us.

Two of these came through Alex Chandon, whom we last saw swigging champagne from the bottle at our wedding reception in London! He’s still keeping active, and did SFX work on both Teleportal and Neon Killer. Teleportal was the shortest film of the whole day, at only three minutes (including credits!), but none the less fully-formed for it, while Neon took home the “Short we most want to see become a feature” award [If they’d been here to take it home… And if there’s been any actual award…] for its beautiful replication of the content and style of 80’s giallo films.

Shrove Tuesday certainly had the most sheer style of the day, throwing shadow puppets, comic-book pages and a ton of digital effects into its mix, looking very expensive as a result. Finally, there was Bloody Daisies, a tale of a blind-date that goes wrong in just about every way imaginable. These are just some of the most memorable entries. It’s a shame there is no real distribution channel available for shorts like this, because the talent on view is hugely impressive, and certainly deserves a bigger audience. Maybe someone should package ’em together into an anthology? You know where to find us.