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Short film showcase

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Exquisite Fear in Kreuger: A Walk Through Elm Street

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The excellent Blinky Productions are back with the third installment of their Nightmare on Elms Street fan films.

I urge you not to be put off by fact that these are fan films as this entry throws some well yearned for light on the background of the Springwood Slasher before he became the Dream Demon.

Filmmaker Chris R. Notarile‘s third entry in the saga, entitled Kreuger: A Walk Through Elm Street has been edited in a particular fashion to reflect his fragmented way of thinking, exploring his “hunger” as he eyes his prey – the children of Springwood. Whilst the acting is a touch on the mahogany side the short more than makes up for this by brilliantly capturing the feeling of being back in the original nightmare, something that the eerie, almost pitch perfect soundtrack more than ameliorates.

If you missed me harping on about how good the previous two entries were well you are in for a treat as we have included all three for you below. Is it just me or are we in need of an all new Nightmare feature film which does away entirely with the supernatural in favour of portraying how much of a monster Kreuger was before the parents condemned him to their children’s nightmares?




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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: One Bad Day

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Josh Crooks. Remember that name because guaranteed in a few years it is going to be bounced around the award circuit with levels of appreciation. This young director from up North, who learnt his craft down South is simply full of cinematic talent from intense script writing to directorial skills. Working on his first feature film, which will hopefully come out this year or so, Narcissists, is full of fraught and tense emotions and his teaser is only several seconds long.

The reason for all this praise on Josh Crooks’ work is because of One Bad Day, a Batman based movie that has already solidified my faith in Crooks’ talents. One Bad Day is a fictionalised account of the period after The Killing Joke and Death in the Family. Batman has been driven to rage by The Joker. But will The Joker push Batman to break his uttermost rule? Will Batman be pushed to kill?

This is a short of an excellent calibre. Wonderfully written, with the inner turmoil of Batman well portrayed on the screen. Although there is sounding issues and the lead of Bats isn’t as enthralling as other depictions, Crooks develops a truly ingenious version of the caped crusader. It’s obvious that Crooks has an eye for the sublime as One Bad Day oozes with these beautiful angles and shots that capture the tension and atmosphere of the scene.

But truly, all applause goes to actor Reece Mahdi who doesn’t just riff off a caricature Joker based solely on Nicholson or Ledger. In fact, he encompasses a different element to him while still portraying the beloved villain from the comic books and making him dance delightfully on screen.

One Bad Day is an excellent stand-off between two icons; one good and one bad. It is the words that The Joker throws around that is truly enthralling and this movie hits the spot.


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Short Film

A Short Mission: We’re Having Sex

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This short will have you feeling both uncomfortable and raw.

That isn’t a friendly warning for you to turn away and not watch it because by all means, this is a phenomenal piece of work. But the intensity of the emotions and the breakdown of a relationship are so undeniably real that watching it will no doubt make you relive those past loves that just didn’t end happily ever after.

We’re Having Sex is written and directed by Michael Callahan and stars Brandon Bales and Hannah Peal Utt as David and Kate, a couple who have spent quite a bit of time in their comfort zone. When Kate realises that it’s been a while since they have had sex, she tries to suggest it to David who is less than keen to do it. However, it soon becomes apparent that it isn’t the sex that’s the problem, both of them have lost the affection and lust that makes love much more than companionship.

Callahan superbly lays bare a realistic love that gradually falls away at the seams. With Bales and Utt portraying extremely strong characters, We’re Having Sex becomes less of a romantic comedy than you think it is going to be and resonates with this painful comfort where passion has been traded for friendship. Rather than break up, the pair have become accustomed to this clunky routine that neither fulfils nor excites anymore. With each attempt at capturing that excitement, the couple are driven further away and it becomes harder to connect.

The awkwardness of being with someone you aren’t sure you want to be with anymore oozes with each second feeling more tense and long. The effective use of stripping back the audio makes the film feel naked and uncovered. Building towards a long take and honestly, emotionally brutal end scene, this short is haunting and full of anguish.

And a lot of people will relate to it’s unnerving series of event.


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Short Film

A Short Mission: Call Back

Call-Back

“We all do things we regret, things we want to erase, forget, change. What if you are offered a dose of hope?”

Call Back is one of those short films that will immediately grab your attention. Today we look at the fast paced, intriguing short film directed by Rani Naamani and Carols F. Puertolas. One thing these guys got right is the simplicity of the entire project. When it comes to short films, it is very easy to get caught up with over loading the screen with everything just because it looks good. Not only does Call Back look good, it leaves us wanting more after the six and a half minutes we get a snippet of.

We are introduced to a man who appears to have murdered a couple in an apartment. And just like the tag-line above, this man is offered a small dose of hope and a backdoor away from his actions. Call Back is a stimulating thriller incorporated with a hint of sci-fi, or should I say dose? In fact, the entire film feels like just a small dose of what could possibly be turned into a much longer feature length film. The narrative is interesting and the story never feels like it is lacking in substance and almost acts as a teaser trailer for a bigger project – it certainly leaves you wanting more. Wouldn’t you take the chance to erase the things you want to forget? Considering this film was selected for the San Jose Short Film Festival 2013, it shall be interesting to see what else this bunch comes up with next. 


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Short Film

A Short Mission: Brain Divided

brain divided

Have you ever been on a date? Wow, that makes me sound really lonely. Most of us have been on a date and a first date is actually the most nerve-wracking experience that you will go through. Your mind is torn. On one hand you want to have dignity, be poised and be intellectual. On the other, you don’t want your date to be bored so you have to dazzle and impress.

That is what happens here in Brain Divided where two sides of the mind fight to control Jon as he tries to impress the beautiful Scarlett. Unfortunately, his brain is split. There is the quiet Blue and the erratic Red. Battle for ownership over Jon causes him to turn crazy and freak Scarlet out completely, but can Blue and Red ultimately join together to save the date and help the boy woo the girl over?

Brain Divided is the enjoyable little short from The CGBros, a University born group of animators who have created this brilliant and breezy movie. Simple, the triumph here is how inspiring the technology is despite its creators being fairly new to the game. Feeling like a short you’d find in front of Pixar movies, this is a fun and light-hearted story that is comedic boasting an impressive flair for character design and expressions. Stated that this was a showreel for their University project, it is still such a fantastic effort that showcases enough talent for a more than lengthy career in animation, short and feature.


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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Still

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Are you sick of Zombies? Or do they still scare and excite you? Or do they shuffle along, moaning and groaning?

Whether or not you are fed up with The Walking Dead and everything Z, I can guarantee that this small web series will ignite some spark back into the lifeless corpses of the genre.

Still is a web series with a bite and although it follows a lot of tropes, it really is the set up that draws you in. Still is about an unknown infection that takes the small town over and it is up to the residents who are still alive, to keep their status of not being dead. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for our heroes to start getting infected themselves and the race for survival is on.

Director Jonathon Holbrook really does something special with this series even if it wobbles and drags on for the first couple of episodes. True, it does take a while for Still to really kick in but when it revs up, it truly does. Our characters are likeable heroes and they are acted well from players such as Michelle Stahl as Jane or Joseph R Porter as Hank. Frankly, this is a more polished and glittering production that does more for smaller web-series and the genre than most do.

Holbrook really works at bringing the situation to some degree of realism. As it increasingly becomes claustrophobic, the fear intensifies and the tension mounts. Drawing you in slowly, the series begins to gain some weight. It creeps on you; soon you’ll want to look away feel it crawl under your skin. But that is the brilliance of it, because as soon as that happens, you may not want to look away.


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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Mega Plush

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Here is something you never knew you wanted but in the back of your head the need was strong. Move over Woody and the gang over at Andy’s, Toy Story this ain’t. It is fast wheeling and a gritty warfare between Sock Monkeys and Teddy Bears. After all, who hasn’t always wanted to see a Skull Punisher-esque T-Shirt wearing Teddy Bear with a gun? Exactly.

In this web-series, Mega Plush, there is an underbelly to the dark city that no one knows of. An army of terrifying vigilantes are trying to defend their beloved (if bleak) city. The enemy, a society named the SOC Army (Society of Chimps), are poised to take over the city thanks to the ruthless skills of their evil leader. Their masterplan? To take over Plush City at any cost. The aim is to take over Plush Kingdom but there is something stopping them. That is The Mega Plush.

The team behind Mega Plush deem this a labour of love spanning over five years, with Matt Burniston. It’s hard not to see this. The animation is of a stellar quality that looks so authentic and crazily good. This action-packed first episode gives us a great little taste of a series that is high octane even if it is bustling with so many different things. So the story isn’t fully formed yet, well not to audiences anyway. But it the plot goes the same direction as the animation, this is going to be a must see series with epic amounts of followers hopping on the bandwangon. This is an original series with a lot of heart. And much more than that, has bouts of roads to go down and a whole world of fluffy things. Brilliantly crafted, Mega Plush looks all kinds of awesome.

Keep an eye for more episodes. Our cuddly toys have started to pack a punch.

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Short Film

A Short Mission: I Forgot My Phone

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Have you ever been sat around a dinner table or a night out with friends to find that they attention is caught by something else? It is frustrating and quite frankly rude to plan a night out only to be immersed in the blue and white screen of a smartphone. And while it is an annoyance we have all had to bear, it is even truer that we have been the perpetrator of this act; following every act we do with “that is so my status right now.” But since we have become so addicted to the use of smartphones, iPads and whatever gizmo and thingymabob that is big this year, are we missing out on life?

The short film I Forgot My Phone, written by Charlene deGuzman & Miles Crawford, centres on a day in the life (or a few days) of a woman post-technological boom. Everything she does or tries to do she is met with blank faces and people mindlessly staring at their phones.

If you, like me, first discovered this smash hit on Youtube whilst browsing the internet on your phone then don’t be too alarmed that this movie is judging you. It’s not exactly saying that phone use is bad. What it is saying is our interactions with society have changed so much that we are missing out moments, key moments and face to face interaction because we are so absorbed in them.

This beautifully written movie, acted so well, doesn’t need many words with the awkwardness of being in a three person relationship, one of them being a machine, conveyed so well. It’s asking us to look at the sunsets, enjoy talking to one another and play. Life is not just about information and technology, it is about people and nature. I Forgot My Phone is wonderfully scripted and directed greatly. Now, where the heck did I leave my phone?

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Short Film

A Short Mission: Coloured Snow

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Coloured Snow is a short film series (or just a short series, but let’s class them as different points of a film.) Today’s A Short Mission centres on the life of Terry, who has unfortunately just lost his young fiancée. However, Terry refuses to believe this and with enough clues and nods, starts to wonder if she isn’t quite as dead as he first thought

It is refreshing to see a short independent series that doesn’t exactly spoon feed you. At times its unnerving; presenting a well written script that smatters of Memento and other great thrillers. Here in Coloured Snow, it is up to the audience to decipher just want is going on in Terry’s world. Enigmatic at points, the films are incredible well done considering the limitations that director Ioan Holland has encountered (especially some impressive sweeping scenes blossoming in the heart of the U.K.) And actress Cerian Holland is particularly entrancing as the “is she dead? Is she not dead?” role of Hazel.

It isn’t a perfect production. Unfortunately, some of the acting here is off putting, in particular the lead, Matthew Jameson doesn’t feel entirely right for the role of Terry; a character that is already slightly unlikeable and controlling. There are moments here that feel a little too forced, sometimes clichéd and almost predictable. The unpolished production, particularly the irritating shaking camera, makes you feel like you are on your 100th cup of coffee while watching it.

But as it was urged to me, I have to similarly urge you. Don’t be put off by the lack of budget that makes the production value feel a little bit underwhelming.  Despite its faults, the story and the way it develops is an intriguing one. It is also a series to watch repeatedly because each viewing unearths a different clue or angle of the story. With each episode, new turns are added and you are absorbed in Terry’s journey. All the slices of Coloured Snow are unique, layering a story and creating an intriguing series that smatters of a lot of potential. Coloured Snow may be a no budget production but they prove that a lot of talent can override a few dilemmas and hopefully a few more people will drive towards this series, giving more opportunity for the talented Holland to squeeze some fresher, juicier stuff.

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Short Film

A Short Mission: Top Hat

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Top Hat is a movie you may want to watch again and again because it really is terribly delightful. At just over two minutes, it spins with the brilliance we have come to expect from Disney shorts. Top Hat follows a young man working in a launderette domineered by a man who is constantly having a go at him. When a client comes in and asks for his hat to be dry cleaned, a mishap leaves the hat in a bit of a disarray.

The ending here is the crux of the movie and it works like a marvellous punchline. Director Michael Middleton-Downer has tried to work short films with different genres but feels the best work in this format. Together with Sam Hutchinson and based on the latter’s story with the same name, Top Hat becomes a fascinating and marvellous short that is funny, quirky and hits the right notes. Certainly brimming with childlike wonder this short provides epic amounts of comedy. With Top Hat a mixture of influences comes through. Middleton-Downer says he is a massive fan of the magic of cinema and what better way to praise classic stars and humour such as the Marx Brothers or Charlie Chaplin. With such a short air time, it may seem impossible to fit all this into a concise and excellent short film. But the super talented team managed it, which is impressive as it was simply an experiment.

We Move Pictures has a great array of different movies under their belt, largely their Beast trilogy which is completely improvised and provides some excellent end products. Their third entry is due this year and it is highly anticipated. We Move Pictures productions is going to be a team to look out for. If Top Hat and their previous works are anything to go buy, a long and lengthy career is due.

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A Short Mission Christmas Greeting: The Snowman

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It’s Christmas Eve everybody and the festivities will soon kick off. If you haven’t noticed, your televisions have been filled with the greatest Christmas movies to fill your hearts with yuletide glee. And if you are looking at definitive Christmas shorts to watch with your loved ones, then look no further than The Snowman.

Based on a children’s picture book by Raymond Briggs, this 1982 short has been delighting audiences for over twenty years. The story is about a child who creates a snowman in his garden one winter’s day. At the stroke of midnight, magic happens and his frosty friend comes to life. In different sections, the snowman tries to adjust to life and appliances at the boys home. That’s when the story lifts off as The Snowman takes him on a journey through the skies and through his world of ice and snow.

The Snowman boasts some wonderful animation that still stands up today. Touching on every level, The Snowman is still as incredible now; with a heartfelt ending. Directed by Dianne Jackson, this adaptation is magnificent in the most genius of ways. And let’s not forget the music. As the pair explore each other’s world, the score by Howard Blake dances and fills us with the most ironic warm feelings ever. With Aled Jones’ Walking in the Air, it is delightful and superb. Even in the sequel with The Snowdog, the Snowman is untarnished. It is innocent and pure; an incredible feat of imagination.

Brilliant and iconic, The Snowman is one of the definitive Christmas movies. CinemaChords would like to wish each and every one of you a superb Christmas and New Year and thank you all for joining us since launch earlier this year. Here’s to a fun filled, film filled 2014.

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Short Film

A Short Mission: Blinky

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Here is a little warning now it is coming to Christmas; a toy is for life (or til it breaks) and no present can fill the voice or love missing from your life. Oh, and never tell your servant robot to kill everyone – that can only be bad.

This is the harsh reality in this futuristic short Blinky. Young boy Alex is sick of his parents fighting all the time. When he comes across an advert for a robot and the whole family is smiling, he asks for one; believing that the robot would solve all the household problems. When this doesn’t happen, Alex is infuriated and lashes out against Blinky. Unfortunately, that leads to a whole lot more issues than just a broken circuit board.

Director Ruairi Robinson has done a magnificent job on portraying futuristic technologies. Blinky is extremely life like, as in, if you weren’t sure that this was done on a computer you would believe that the advancement of robotic technology was upon us. Robinson designed him, voiced him and motion captured him so his movements are astonishingly beautiful and fluid. More to the point, Robinson has delightfully crafted a darkly comic movie that is certain to be the spark of a sentinel warfare.

But underneath that, there is a semi-heart breaking story of a boy who just wanted things better.

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