Premium cable channel, Showtime, has rolled out a new batch of visual pieces from established short-form creators, via its “SHORT Stories” program. We covered the first season here, and the lineup this year is just as impressive in terms of talent, bringing back PES and Cyriak, as well as adding big names like Bill Plympton.
Slightly less impressive in my eyes is the actual program unfortunately, but with 7 films averaging only around 2 minutes, you can decide for yourself with a relatively small time commitment.
Fresh Guacamole; dir. PES, 2min— PES continues his delightful, trademarked style in Fresh Guacamole, and it is hard not to crack a smile. We’re longtime, fans, Game Over, was Short of the Week’s first post, but, by repeating the food prep conceit of his viral hit Western Spaghetti, we CAN be disappointed in the decision to traverse familiar ground.
Cobwebs; dir. Cyriak, 3min—Like PES, Cyriak stays true to his signature aesthetic, but in Cyriak’s case, his imagination is so ingenious and demented, its hard for anything he produces to feel derivative. In Cobwebs he also plays with a sense of scale similar to his Cereal Spiller vid, that really cemements the freaky nature of this film. My pick for the best of the bunch.
Summer Bummer; dir. Bill Plympton, 2min—Such a short piece probably doesn’t do justice to Plympton’s style, as he excels in variations on a theme—how to stretch an implausible scenario into a patently absurd one. Think of 25 Ways to Quit Smoking, or the follies of his “Dog” series. Here he imagines the way a shark might find its way into a surburban backyard pool. There is some magic in the buildup, but the punchline is too expected.
Juxtaposis; dir. Floris Kaayk, 3min—
Along with Cobwebs, the standout piece in the program. Dancers in contrasting green and red bodysuits act out a weird dance and the division between bodies blur through chromakey techniques.
Haven’t heard of Floris Kaayk before, but after this, I’m going to do some research.
American Faces; dir. Rick Mereki, 2min—
As humans, we’re endlessly fascinated with each other, and this film plays off of that powerful predilection. Newly famous Rick Mereki, (Eat. Learn. Move.) showcases a bunch of faces, has them mug for the camera, and executes some cheesy effects. Compulsively watchable, but not exactly a strong piece of work.
Simon’s Cat: Lunch Break; dir. Simon Tofield, 1min—
Simon’s Cat is a really cute, black and white, line-drawn series that gets millions and millions of views on YouTube. I imagine that the group of people for whom this brief film works for, has a high crossover with cat-owners.
Time; dir. Mystery Guitar Man, 1min—
Oh man, this is lame. Is there something I’m missing? Yes, the flower blooms. Whoop dee doo.
All the films are on YouTube, but they are also available as iTunes podcasts! Nice to watch them on your iPhone on the subway (like I did last night!)