Short of the Week

I Love Sarah Jane

A ton of festival kudo’s have poured in for this special effects-laden, post-apocalyptic, zombie-film. That is probably because of its twist—it is actually quite sweet.

While I’m always open-minded when it comes to the hunt for new films to get excited about, I have to admit there are certain elements that just push my buttons, and Spencer Susser’s I Love Sarah Jane hits through them with military precision:

Post apocalyptical world – check
An underdog to root for – check
A bully to get his comeuppance – check
Kick-arsed girl to pine over – check
and, of course, Zombies!

The thing about ILSJ—co-written by Susser and David Michod—is that if you were to strip away the high production values and outlandish world setting, there’d still be at its core a touching age-old story of teen awkwardness in relating to the object of your desire that places our hero Jimbo in the shoes of Kevin Arnold or Dawn Wiener before him, it’s just that their obstacles were slightly less brain hungry. Susser’s direction and the central performances from Brad Ashby and Mia Wasikowska completely sell the story and illustrate that when it comes to world-changing events outside of our normal experience, we’ll adapt with worrying ease. But that doesn’t mean our personalities will change; a bully’s still a bully, brother and sister still fight and the kids aren’t gonna do the washing up if no one’s around to make them.

Of course, even with all that, it’s a hard sell if things just don’t look right. However, not only are the visual effects flawless—helmed by Mike Seymour of fxphd who also filled the role of Executive Producer—but I have to admit, Richard Mueck’s nerve-jangling zombi turn had me tauter than the rope holding him back as the kids taunt and mock him; this is, after all, a zombie flick and those critters have a pesky way of managing to sink their teeth into all but the overly cautious.

Much has been made of the technical achievements of ILSJ, with it hailed as “a showcase of the most modern digital production techniques” by Digital Producer Magazine. Director of photography Adam Arkapaw shot the film in Sydney, Australia on a Thomson Grass Valley Viper FilmStream digital camera with Codex Digital recording technology enabling shots to be checked on set in full HD for focus and special effects.

ILSJ has rightly kicked up a storm of festival praise at both Sundance and the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival where it was awarded the Prix Canal.

MarBelle has a strange compulsion to watch as many films as he can get his hands on and find jobs that give him a legitimate excuse to drill filmmakers about their work. Directors Notes is the latest incarnation of this disorder and so much cheaper than film school. Twitter: @MarBelle
  • Andrew S Allen

    This is now one of my all-time favorites of the year. A nice zombie film where zombies are a mere backdrop in the story. Beautiful, touching, unique.

  • Ryan « Short of the Week

    [...] films into this series as the last couple of weeks have showcased Short of the Week 2008 faves, I Love Sarah Jane and The Bloody Olive. Thanks go to NFB Canada as well for their continued production support of [...]

  • Spider ‹ Short of the Week

    [...] This is a film that has been on SotW’s radar for a while. A 2008 Sundance online offering, it was posted to the net even before that, thanks to the progressive views of director Nash Edgerton and the folks at Blue Tongue—home incidentally of 2008 fave I Love Sarah Jane. [...]

  • Best of 2008 ‹ Short of the Week

    [...] I Love Sarah Jane, 14min—A zombie movie that’s not really about zombies but the confusion around falling in [...]

  • Crossbow | Short of the Week

    [...] Collective, whose films have been featured numerously on this site and others. Spider and I Love Sarah Jane have appeared on our lists of our favorite reviews from 2009 and 2008 respectively. However I [...]

  • Miracle Fish (Live-Action Oscar Nominee) | Watch the Best Online Short Films

    [...] my excitement was high. Part of the famed Blue Tongue Film family which gave us 2008 favorite I Love Sarah Jane, and featuring 2009 Favorite alum Nash Edgerton as an executive producer, Miracle Fish has great [...]

  • SotW: I Love Sarah Jane | Directors Notes

    [...] Have a read and watch. [...]

  • I Love Sarah Jane | Directors Notes

    [...] already waxed lyrical ad nauseum as to why this is not only one of the greatest short film romances, but [...]

  • Alan

     If this were a feature Id go see it in a second

  • Payload by @stuwillis | Short Film

    [...] also worked on Spencer Susser’s 2008 apocalyptic short I Love Sarah Jane, an experience that showed Willis that “character-driven genre films can find a wide [...]

  • Lazarus

    Can I get an MP3 for that credit song?

  • Bear by @nashedgerton & @bluetonguefilms | Short Film

    [...] at Blue Tongue Films—the coalition of Aussie filmmakers  behind numerous acclaimed shorts (I Love Sarah Jane, Netherland Dwarf, and Crossbow just to name a few) it’s certainly not a shock that their most [...]

  • Someone’s doing it right. | Cinemartini

    [...] at Blue Tongue Films—the coalition of Aussie filmmakers  behind numerous acclaimed shorts (I Love Sarah Jane, Netherland Dwarf, and Crossbow just to name a few) it’s certainly not a shock that their most [...]

  • The Ellington Kid by Dan Sully | Short Film

    [...] in Vice’s I’m Short, Not Stupid series (along with fellow SotW picks—Bear & I Love Sarah Jane), Dan Sully’s gritty and inventive short film debut The Ellington Kid demonstrates exactly [...]

  • Six Dollar Fifty Man | Art, Love it.

    [...] seen in other films like Ben Briand’s Apricot, Justin Kurzel’s Snow Town Murders, and Spencer Susser’s I Love Sarah Jane to name a few. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like [...]

  • Undying Love | Short Film

    [...] Cargo, Rest, I Love Sarah Jane and the rest of our favourite zombies shorts here on Short of the Week, Undying Love wins us over [...]

  • The Easiest Way To Make Your First Movie and Get Into The Business of Film Making

    [...] filmmaker went onto direct 2 features, a short, and is currently in talks to make another one.…ve-sarah-jane/ The dude above directed this zombie short and directed the successful feature, Hesher. The main [...]

  • Orange Drive by Mark Lester | Short Film

    [...] featured all kinds of shorts that function on these principles, from Sikumi (Time/Place), to I Love You Sarah Jane (Place) and countless others. When used properly, the unities help focus things, and focus [...]

  • Eugene by Spencer Susser | Short Film

    [...] name Spencer Susser sounds familiar to you – it should! Director of apocalyptic short film I Love Sarah Jane, Australian filmmaker Susser has gone on to make the critically acclaimed feature Hesher and is [...]