While most of the attention goes to features at film fests, short films are just as worthy of eyeballs. These tiny terrors can offer a glimpse into the minds of up and coming filmmakers from around the world, give creatives a chance to experiment with new techniques and offer just as much gory genre goodness as their feature length counterparts. Atlanta’s Buried Alive Film Festival offers 4 days worth of well curated carnage, but here are 5 prime cuts you shouldn’t miss. Ticket information and the full program schedule are right here).
While Uruguay may not be as well known for cinema as other countries, writer/director Piter Moreira’s sexy and sinister Labryrinth could easily compete with any of the other recent neo giallo homages out there. When Laura (Anaclara Ferreyra Palfy) tells her lover Juan (Rafael Soliwoda) of a violently erotic dream she had, he becomes obsessed with making that particular dream a reality. Elegant cinematography by Adrián Nogueira and a muted color palette turns the couple’s elegant home into a gilded cage as Juan’s psychosexual obsessions blur the lines between real and imagined, life and death, fact and fiction. A stylish and slick descent into one man’s madness that utilizes its runtime far more effectively than most short films.
A couple and their new baby move into what they think is the perfect new home for their life as a family…..except no one told them it was haunted by exactly what the title promises, in either sense of the word. This faux red band trailer/short film is cheerfully crass, full of double entendres, and is one of the single funniest things I’ve seen thus far this year. Someone needs to give writer/director Jason Cook the funding to turn this story of sexorcisms, hard banging bedsheet ghosts and broad puns into the deliciously silly B movie it was meant to be. With Ti West’s X opening the floodgates for horny horror, there’s no better time than right now for more F*cking Ghosts.
Ghost Dogs was one of the few selected animated short films at Sundance, and it will likely be received just as well at Buried Alive. With a raw edged but still adorable art style that sits somewhere in between the works of Brad Neely and Rocko’s Modern Life, Ghost Dogs’ Joe Cappa and J.W. Hallford are incredibly clever in packing narrative details into background of a completely wordless story. A family’s new puppy is left alone after a wild party, with only a Roomba for company. While he manages to escape the baby gate and wander the house with his tennis ball, the ghosts of dogs haunt him in all corners of the house. Equal parts precious, paranormal, and overtly psychedelic, the story behind the story is surprisingly affecting in a way you won’t see coming until it happens.
Declan(Jack Holden) just wants to get through the day at his boring white collar job, but can’t even so much as grab a cup of tea without being cornered by aged busybody Janice (Carla Mendonça). She doesn’t talk with people as much as she does at them, and her unsolicited ignorant opinions sorely test even the most patient person’s ability to respect their elders. When a catastrophic even hits what was once an ordinary office park and Janice is still nattering on about biases and biscuits, Declan must choose the lesser of the evils. Writer/director Rob Hayes shows how short films can make maximum impact from a simple concept. Making Hiya Janice an amusing object lesson in the very specific ways that Hell really is other people.
Sigurd Culhane’s short film finds a previously mild mannered woman(Colleen Foy) doing a documentary interview for the trade school that taught her new skill set. Rather than some multi level marketing shampoo scheme, it turns out she is an assassin with unique and incredibly feared methods of torture. This savvy “death technician” strikes terror into the hearts of even the hardest of hitmen. With a steady stream of clients from an equally Instagram ready crime boss (Greg Santos), the so called “Green Cobra” lives, laughs and loves…killing people for a paycheck. As this self aware horror comedy proves, Hell hath no fury like a pumpkin spice latte loving lady scorned.