Austin Film Festival has been filled with so many great films and short films. Here are a few short films we loved included the animated films like the “Pearl,” the comedic and heartfelt, “Jeremy and Margot Make a Baby” and “Goodbye, My Big Cat” to dealing with loss in “That Day.”
Reviews by Dana Summers and Catherine Gutierrez
Shorts Program 8: A Reunion
“Jeremy and Margot Make a Baby” (Canada, 11 min)
Margot has agreed to be a surrogate for her friend Jeremy and his partner Cruz. However, when they decide to make a baby the old fashioned way, Margot’s already strong feelings for Jeremy become even stronger.
This was such a fun and awkward film to watch because this situation that Jeremy and Margot find themselves in doesn’t seem too far fetched for most of. I mean maybe having sex with your gay best friend would be a little far fetched for most of us, but the actual decision to raise a child with your friend, not so much. Writer, Clara Altimas throws in comedic elements, yet the story always feels real and heartfelt.
We can see the terror in Margot and nonchalant attitude Jeremy has toward the situation, but both of them through this awkward experience both have moments of epiphany. Margot feels a little more than she thought she would and Jeremy is surprised about the experience he had with Margot, but quickly snaps out of it when his boyfriend rings him.
Overall, I really enjoyed this film because we can all relate to Margot longing for something more, yet knowing it’s not in grasp, but still enjoys the experience and the music composed by Lisa Savard-Quong adds the overall experience by enhancing the characters’ awkward and sincere tones.
“Goodbye, My Big Cat” (USA, 11 min)
Harry, a young Chinese man, travels to America in attempt to reunite with his first lover.
Oh first love. We can all relate to writer, Oates Wu’s story of wanting to reunite with your first lover to reconnect and experience those intense first emotions. This story was heartbreaking, but touches on real emotions that we can all connect to.
Sometimes we imagine that our first love was the greatest thing to happen to us and don’t realize why so we try and revisit it, but it’s not the same. The diversity and issues being tackled in the film are a great thing to see as an audience member. A chinese actor that is not only reuniting with his lover, but his gay lover.
These are real stories with diverse people that are happening every day, but are never portrayed on the screen, so it’s a great thing Wu is showing us and continues to show with his work.
Shorts Program 10: Everything’s shorter in Texas
“That Day” (USA, 10 min)
While friends and family mourn her father’s passing, 15-year-old Mishelle needs to deals with grieving in her own way.
“That Day” really gets you in the headspace of Mishelle who is dealing with the loss of her parents. Although few words are spoken in the film, everyone who’s lost someone can relate to the fact that the day becomes blurred in not knowing how to deal with emotions.
Writer and director Stephanie Ard showed great restraint in not pushing too much dialogue and over the top grief in our face, but simply showing us what a teenager experiencing loss would look like and finding hope that life will go on.
Shorts Program 13: Animated Shorts
“Pearl” (USA, 6 min)
“Pearl” is a short animated film directed by Oscar-winning animator Patrick Osborn that takes full advantage of 3600-degree video and VR tools to create an engaging and interactive story.
“Pearl” is a sweet coming-of-age film that follows Pearl through her childhood with her father, a traveling street musician who gives up his dream to provide a stable life for his daughter. The film has very little dialogue and is set around the song “No Wrong Way Home,” which gives the film a sweet folksy tone as it is played by the characters themselves or on the radio.
The 360-degree video and VR element allows the viewer to take control of how they view the films and truly see the story through the immerse world of the characters through their eyes. The film is only six minutes long, so I would definitely recommend it for everyone because it’s a loveable story that takes fully takes advantage of the expanded world 360-degree video allows.
If you’re headed to the Alamo Drafthouse Village, you can still catch “Jeremy and Margot Make A Baby” and “Goodbye, My Big Cat” at 2:45 p.m. – 4:42 p.m. If you’re looking to watch “That Day” you can head over to the Rollins Theatre at 4:00 p.m. – 5:48 p.m. For ticket info, head to the Austin Film Festival website here.