Last week, we had the utmost pleasure of chatting with the Deputy Director of the Houston Film Commission, Alfred Cervantes, about the 2012 Texas Filmmakers Showcase. Cervantes told us it was a collection of the "best short films made in Texas." Was that statement a challenge for us to go see for ourselves? No, but we took it as such. So we ditched our regularly scheduled Thursday afternoon and headed over to the Cinema Arts Festival to rate the films for ourselves.
Our Rating Scale is based on a scale of Los Angeles to Houston; LA being the worst place in the world, Texas being the best, and then there are those cities in between.
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8 -- Julie Gould and Daniel Laabs, Dallas 8 follows a day in the life of a mother and daughter. What happens to be stand-out about this day is that it is the anniversary of the little girl's father's (and the woman's husband's) death. While the film was beautifully shot and interesting in the way it approached this topic, such a heartbreaking subject should have warranted a few tears.
Rating: Denver, It's Kinda Cold There
Fatakra -- Soham Mehta, Katy In Fatakra, an Indian man leaves his wife and young son to find prosperity in America. What was supposed to be a six-month journey turns into three years until his family is reunited. The film is touching and raw in its emotions about the difficulties of maintaining a cohesive family unit while trying to better your surroundings simultaneously. Rating: The Big D, In a Good Way LCD Soundsystem "Home" -- Mark Armes and Rick Darge, Houston There is nothing as gratifying as seeing I-45 on a large screen and actually getting excited about the traffic on it and that there is a giant robot walking across an overpass. The video is as visually exciting as it is awesome to see H-Town in lights. Rating: Clutch City, Don't Mess With It The Man Who Never Cried -- Bradley Jackson, Austin This short is about a man who never cried (duh), not when his wife leaves him nor when his father dies. Through comedy, the character explores the reasons behind his inability to shed a tear, until he discovers that tears of joy are as important as tears of happiness. This film is silly at times and touching at others, with a wildly out of the ordinary method to its madness; we just wish it didn't have such a cheesy ending. Rating: Phoenix, But It's a Dry Heat!
Noc na Tenecku (Night at the Dance) -- Annie Silverstein, Austin If you've ever driven up 290 and passed the Czech communities along the way and wondered what went on in those old dance halls, you need to see this short doc. Even if you've never wondered that, you need to see this documentary. Rating: Hereford, the Town Without a Toothache
Pioneer -- David Lowery, Dallas In this short narrative, a man recites an epic bedtime story to his inquisitive son. We appreciated that it was an engaging work, with little to no action, and relied mostly on close-ups and two shots, but it left us with more questions than answers, questions we weren't sure we even cared to know the answers to. Rating: Las Vegas, At Least What Happens There Stays There Sasquatch Birth Journal 2 -- David and Nathan Zeller, Austin Caught on camera - a Sasquatch giving birth! Rating: Albuquerque, We've Heard Great Things About It