Billie Walker

IndieFlicks – February’s Selection.

I am not sure where it was due to the panel’s selection choices or perhaps the selection that was offered to them, but this month’s edition of IndieFlicks had a somber tone in comparison to January’s showing which equally balanced humour and harsher truths. Perhaps it is a signifier of the hopelessness that February often leaves us feeling, making this bleak selection apt for the season of broken new years resolutions and cold hard reality.

The Italian entry Choice, was a particularly chilling chapter of the evening. Rafael Valerio’s short focused on a post-coital conversation between two men, in which ones vulnerability and the others horrifying secrets are revealed. The yellow tinge lighting signals a warning of the risks of online dating. Choice staunchly highlights the ever-growing threat of our choice of sexual partners, in the age of app based dating, we often only discover the true nature of our bedfellows after the act.

Last month I had been in full agreement with my fellow IndieFlicks fanatics that Yonoko Li’s Ur Dead to Me, was deserving of the People’s Choice award. However this month I found myself disagreeing with popular opinion. February’s winner Back Story, while not the worst of the selection, I don’t feel it merited top spot. It felt more like a darker version of a dental advert mixed with a Talk to Frank educational video than an award-winning piece of cinematography. Its message on the brevity of life was a little blatant. Two pieces that were deserving of their positions as 2nd and 3rd runner ups were, State of Emergency and Teenage Threesome. The former questioned racial profiling and the paranoia that terrorism inspires. Although it was a German short, the choice to locate it in Paris suggested a specific criticism of the liberte – promised but often compromised. Arkadij Khaet’s Teenage Threesome – all of the top three were of coincidentally of German origin – was one of the only light hearted shorts of the night and a welcome Skins-like break from the severity.

A personal favourite, was USA entry Cubicle by Mischa Livingstone. A light finish in contrast to its dark, political predecessors shown last most likely to slightly elevate the mood. It was a simple concept, the short showed a woman in her cubicle consistently conversing with clients, dishing out rehearsed line after line of commercial packaged politeness. What made the piece was the interjected clips of her ‘motivational’ quotes and sickly sweet aesthetics that had been plastered all over the dingy cubicle: a truthful portrait of commercial America.

During the interval Indieflicks invited Alan Donohoe co-writer and co-producer of I Have A Bad Feeling About This for a Q+A. His film inspired by the work of Edgar Wright, is a homage to the cult classic series Spaced, the adventure of two science fiction fanatics trying to get tickets to a Star Wars viewing. It’s an all Liverpuddlian production, the filming, the set and the cast. Alan Donohue gave some tips to making a feature film on a budget, including make your own steady cams, if you were a high viz person you won’t question whether you should be there and maybe don’t shoot in your mums house. Haphazard Production’s nerdy comedic adventure film is free to view online now.

The night closed once again with the Director’s choice: Ablution. A sobering piece looking at Islam’s issues with homosexuality through a closeted gay son who takes care of his father. The use of American flag imagery and the selectively timed moments in which the call to prayer alarm clock rang articulately demonstrated the conflict between the obtained freedom of the American way, Muslim values and the responsibility of family.

February’s selection may overall have had a solemn note, but that didn’t stop the event from being entertaining. Once again a great selection of independent shorts was provided that provoked a lot of discussion in an open inviting environment; with the added bonus of a witty interview giving us a taste of the ad-hoc adventures of budget filmmaking. I am looking forward to see what IndieFlicks offers up when they return to FACT on the 12th March!

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