Saturday, September 06, 2008

ACE Film Fest: Shorts

Events seem to be conspiring against the ACE Film Festival. After facing stiff opening night competition from a historic RNC convention (better to be up against Sen. McCain than Gov. Palin though) the organizers will have Tropical Storm Hanna to contend with today. At least a couple shorts which screened Thursday should have cheered them up.

L.A. traffic can be a killer, to your social life at least. It also leads to a fair amount of bruising in Crystal Liu’s Speed Dating. Single and rather depressed about it, Kate is having difficulty meeting anyone, spending her days hermetically sealed in either her car or her office cubicle. After an unsuccessful night of clubbing, she accidentally nicks a single (but fortunately understanding) guy while pulling out of her parking spot. In the sober light of day, Kate realizes this can be quite an effective ice-breaker and loads up the car to deliberately clip eligible pedestrians. Hit them then hit-on them being the strategy.

Speed has pretty clever concept. While it might get a little thin if stretched to feature length, at about fifteen minutes, it maintains its comedic energy quite nicely. There are probably more laughs in this short film than most of the supposed relationship comedies produced by Hollywood for either television or the big screen.

While L’amie de Zoé would probably be more appreciated in this morning’s children’s program (at only two minutes, why not throw it in as a bonus?), it is an endearing little film, that actually tells a fair amount of story in its relatively short running time. In general, I think it is more effective when festivals thematically organize their shorts programs, but I have to admit the hodge-podge approach does sometimes get me to see films like Zoé which ordinarily I would not seek out.

You can see Zoé online here, but like any film, shorts are best viewed on the big screen. ACE screens another shorts program tonight, for those bold enough to brave the storm.