Friday, December 12, 2014

AIFF 2014: Seeds of Time and Mixed Bag Shorts Make Great Film Night [Updated with Video]

This turned out to be the most satisfying evening at the festival.

Seeds of Time was inspiring in many ways.  The film is about a man from a farm family who eventually sets up the world's biggest seed bank in arctic Norway to collect seeds of the different varieties of food crops.  While our politicians are ditzing around, there are people doing things to be prepared for the impacts of global warming on agriculture.  There was a line in the film that went something like:  Politicians are about winning, while scientists are about finding solutions.  When I see a film like this on a critical issue facing humankind, I shake my head in dismay at all the people who will spend their time on activities that don't lead to any growth in understanding.  But they'll never see this film.  A thoroughly satisfying film, despite the dire implications for future food security.

We were going to sneak out of Seeds of Time  to at least catch Universal Language, which I'd enjoyed so much the first time, but Seeds of Time was too good to leave.  But we did get to catch the end of the Love and Pain program - Reaching Home and What Cheer?  were just as good as they had been the first time.

Then we saw the Mixed Bag program - the only time it was shown.  One after another we saw great short narrative films.

  • One Armed Man | Tim Guinee 2014 -  A Phillip Seymour Hoffman production, about a worker in a cotton gin factory who lost an arm in a work accident who confronts the owner of the factory, drew me in immediately.  This has to be a scene from what will be a feature length film eventually.  

  • Samantha '66 | Dan Wainio 2014 -   
A young man is looking at super 8 film of a man and woman which he tells us at one point, was his dad, several years before he met the woman he'd marry. Not great, but playful and interesting.

  • Tom in America | Flavio Alves 2014  -  Another serious production that's going on to be a longer film, looks at a couple who've just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and the wife finally figures out her husband is gay.  The Brazilian director, Flavio Alves, answered questions at the end of the program. (See video below)

    • The Ladder | Pete Fitz 2013  - 
    • Compared to the previous ones - especially Tom and One Armed Man - this was a little lighter, but it
    • was still a nice, solid, little film

    • Life and Perception | Andre Stamatakakos 2013  - I'm still thinking about this one about a scientist who is being dismissed by his colleagues because he's trying to communicate with plants.  As he's about to give up, the experiment works.  Then the film goes into an animated scene and the Indian sounding music takes off in a different direction.  It worked for me. 

    • Zugwang | Yolanda Centeno 2014  - If there was a weak film in the group, this would be it.  Even so, it was wasn't bad.  A nerd sees life as a game of chess.  

    • Enfilade | David Coyle 2014  WOW! Things work mysteriously in this white room with red trim.  A very nicely thought out and executed film.  

    • Break in Reality | D.K. Johnston 2014  -  We've seen films by people from this Alaskan team of film makers for some time now and this was the most professional of all.  

    All in all, this program should have played more.  I was told they wanted to have more times for the Alaskan films.  I don't mind that, but this program was better, in my humble opinion, than some of the features that are getting two shots.

    I'll be putting up some video of the Q&A, but it's late now and the video is uploading slowly.
    [UPDATED 7am:  here's the video:]


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