On Sunday afternoon Brock, Angie, and I checked out the Arizona Shorts Program B.
The big draw was the Ronalds Brothers film, Little Victim. This local short film, written by Bruce Dellis, was a big step up for the Dean and Brian, their first film on 35mm. It stars Robert Wagner and Lori Singer, along with locals Laura Durant and the aforementioned Brian. This is a big deal, about as big as they come in Phoenix. Sure, major motion pictures occassionally film here and bring big stars (okay, very rarely), but this time it was the locals putting on the show, bringing in the big names.
The film premiered last August, but was sold out by the time I tried to get tickets. This was our first time seeing it. The plot synopsis is wonderfully intruiging without giving away a single plot point. So, we knew it had to be good, but every second was a pleasant surprise. Here is an talky ensemble piece, all of Bruce's wonderfully dry humor, completely absurd, thoroughly engaging, and hilarious. It was a great short film in just about every way. Great writing, acting, cinematography, sound, and even a few effects. What more could you want?
Another standout was Reflect, a moody reflection on memory and loss, with excellent cinematography and direction. I came in a few minutes into the 20 minute film, so maybe I didn't follow everything, but I doubt the missing minute or two would have filled in the gaps. The film was intentionally elusive, like a prolonged dream. Well done, total suspension of disbelief, which is sometimes tough to come by in local shorts.
The other notable was In the Eye of the Beholder: The Diane De Vries Story, about a woman born with no arms and no legs. She's quite the character, has led quite a life (Masters from USC, talented social worker), and gets around well. The scenes of her amazing improvisational activities to get through normal human functions were mezmerizing. In the end, she's probably overachieved based on her handicap, and its catching up to her. Currently, she's quite down on her luck, yet still optimistic. A well done local documentary, probably just the right length for the subject.