Overtime: Easily the most fun I had at the festival. I actually had the opportunity to sit down with Brian Cunningham a couple of weeks ago, so I was especially looking forward to this one, and I was not disappointed. In the film, Ralph and Max are hitmen sent on an unexpected job, and they find themselves locked in a factory full of zombie aliens – and Ralph has to get home in time for his son’s birthday party! The true joy of the film came from watching the wacky interactions between lead actors Al Snow and John Wells. (How Wells didn’t get a Best Actor nomination, I’ll never know.)
Short Group D & E: The short films in the festival were screened in groups totaling about eighty minutes in length. There were some serious gems in these collections: “Employee of the Month,” a French film about a career-finding agency for zombies, vampires, ghosts, etc.; “Air,” a British film wherein the air suddenly turns to poison without any explanation, and our characters struggle to survive – and a clown is involved; “Wonderland,” a Kuwaiti retelling of Lewis Carroll’s story in which Alice is trying to “rectify the situation of the Ace” – it should equal 1 and not 11, she says; and my personal favorite, “A Finger, Two Dots, Then Me,” a performance of a spoken word poem intercut with related images, which was so beautiful that I am not ashamed to admit that I cried a little.
Below Zero: The festival closer, and my third favorite feature film from the weekend. The story of the film’s creation is quite interesting: the movie’s writer, Signe Olynyk, was suffering from writer’s block, so she arranged to have herself locked in an abandoned meat freezer to achieve isolation in order to write. While in there, she wrote the script about a screenwriter with writer’s block who arranges to have himself locked in an abandoned meat freezer to write his script – and once there, the lines between fiction and reality start to blur. It is an engaging and creepy film until the end when it gets needlessly convoluted – but still a fun movie, and definitely one to watch for.
Information for all the films that screened can be found at the Derby City Film Festival’s website. If you see anything that sounds interesting, find them on Facebook or IMDB – most of these filmmakers are currently seeking distribution, whether theatrically or by DVD, and large numbers indicating interest go a long way towards making this a reality. Support independent film!
Best Actor – Sean Elliot (It’s In the Blood)
Best Actress – Kristin Booth (Below Zero)
Best U.S. Short – Bizarnival: Tuxedos in the Attic
Best International Short – Donkey
Best Student Short – Thin Air
Best Documentary – Bailout
Best U.S. Feature – It’s in the Blood
Audience Choice Award – It’s in the Blood
Videoblocks/Footagefirm Award for Technical Achievement – Grounded
Photo courtesy of the festival's website.