The Shorts of Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 – Part 1 [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Each year Fantasia showcases a ton, almost a literal ton, of shorts films.  Reviewing them can be a bit demanding, so it has been decided to review them in groupings.  The following shorts were attached to feature films that played the fest and were viewed on the big screen.

End of Decay (USA) (2017)
A researcher who has lost the capacity to use his legs is experimenting with stem cells to reverse the damages made by multiple diseases and health issues.  As he experiments on himself to try and walk again, something go wrong and weird.  In this short written by Patrick Palmer and Christopher Todd with Todd directing, the story builds slowly towards its horror elements, bringing the viewer with it as it becomes clearer and clearer that something is not quite right.  It’s a good way of telling this story and also of building a sort of cautionary tale about human experimentation and the limits of medicine.  The cast is led by Brian Villalobos who does fantastic work with his wheelchair bound character who is not giving up on his dream of walking again.  He creates a character here that is relatable even as he goes too far.  His acting teamed up with the writing, directing, special effects (which are gross and well done), and the music create a feeling for the film that starts hopeful and slowly turns to dread.  This short is a powerful one with a message most can identify with.

Emily (USA) (2017)
After an accident that killed her entire family but herself, a young woman shows how the accident has affected her life in a bizarre way.  Written by Mamady Condé and Kyle Meade, with the former directing as well, this short film is a strong performance-based film about what happens after all one’s loved ones die and they (she) find themselves with a unique ability.  It’s a film that plays on themes that are often seen recently but in a new way.  It’s dark yet almost refreshing in how it’s told and shot.  The film has stunning imagery and great, strong performances, especially by lead Lindsey Shaw.  With its 8 minutes runtime, this short takes just the right amount of time to tell its story and stay mysterious, creating a great interest in what is on the screen and leading to some questions more than answers.

Red Handed (Australia) (2016)
A young woman being stalked just wants some peace, she wants to live her live in safety.  As she receives yet another call, she contacts the police who can’t do anything unless any real harm has been done.  Not being able to get the help she needs, she takes things in her own hands in a surprising way.  Written by Renée Brack and directed by Tony Tilse, this shows tells a story much too familiar to those having lived through being stalked and have fought with the justice system to get help and safety.  Here things go dark, very dark, something that is needed to make the rest of the world, those who have never been stalked, see how desperate things can get.  This film is powerful and manages to hit hard in just 6 minutes.  The cast is fantastic and passes this message to the audience as it captivates them.

Fantasia International Film Festival ran from July 13th to August 2nd.