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SIFF 2024 Day 8 Recap: Horror Shorts and Lots of Faces

Posted by May 17th, 2024 No Comments »

Seattle International Film Festival
May 9-19, 2024 in Seattle
Day 3 Recap
 (Sunday, May 11)

The one thing that sucks about SIFF is parking. It’s expensive and nearly impossible to find, which can break your spirit. But as my friend and fellow critic, Tim Basaraba, likes to say, “Not today!”

Driving up Pine, I was nervous. Sound Visions (8 short films from Pacific Northwest directors) started at 6:30 p.m. It was 6:15 p.m., and it could take 15 minutes to find parking and walk back to the venue. But as I neared the SIFF Egyptian, the parking gods took pity on me. Literally across the street from the venue was a wide-open curb. I didn’t even have to test my parallel parking skills—which are legit—and there was no need to rush. I was early.

Feeling blessed as I waited at the crosswalk, I was surprised to see a line wrapped around the building. Why were so many people in line to see short films? Because it’s a Thursday? Or was there a buzz about these shorts? I wasn’t sure, but I was jazzed. This is what film festivals are all about. Tuesday afternoon or Thursday evening. It doesn’t matter. We’re going inside to see a show!

And what a show it was. Eight short films with eight different ways of using the language of cinema. I was thoroughly impressed. Now I know why there was such a big line: The directors were in the audience, and they brought lots of friends.

Dream Creep

There wasn’t a theme to the Sound Visions program. The films ranged from funny to deeply disturbing. One film in particular, Dream Creep, even had a title card warning before it started. The only thread that tied them together was a passion for film. Directors Bunthoeun Real, Carlos A.F. Lopez, Dan Fromhart, Mischa Jakupcak, Lael Rogers, Brianna B. Murphy, Stephan Gray, and Tommy Heffernan poured their passion into ten-minute gems about social media, carpool romances, meat thermometer nightmares, and elderly exhibitionism.

Maybe it’s because I think social media is the root of all evil, but the first film, The Influencer, was my favorite. A free-form satire of our self-obsessed, narcissistic culture. Director Lael Rogers is able to take a simple premise and build it into an allegorical mirror for society. The whole experience was poetic.

Mischa Jakupcak’s I’ll Take Porn for $200 is utterly charming. But that’s all I’ll say. You’ve gotta see it.

I Think I’d Like To Stay is a semi-autobiographical exploration of one woman’s psyche. Brilliant set designs. Director Brianna B. Murphy’s day job is in the costume department, and this film is her passion project. Brilliant editing as well. It’s hard to believe this was her first film.

Dream Creep was another winner for me. It had an absolutely brilliant premise that created immediate tension. Director Carlos A.F. Lopez then built a story around that premise that was at times funny and frightening. The sound design was superb as well. This man has serious talent, and I hope to one day see a feature film from him.

I’ll Take Porn for $200

Oddly enough, the mother of one of Dream Creep’s producers sat down next to me. She was very proud of her son and influenced me into a five-star review of the film before the show had even started. Luckily, she was right.

Other notable films that played on Thursday included the challenging chamber piece, All Your Faces. It’s a film that takes an honest look at the relationship between criminals and their victims. I would recommend it to anyone. At SIFF Uptown, the mimetic Making Of was shown. This film is a home run for SIFF goers, especially SIFF filmmakers. It uses the chaotic backdrop of film production to tell very human stories. Director Cedric Kahn has a great talent for changing the tone of the film from one act to the next. Check it out this evening at SIFF Downtown (formerly Cinerama). It starts at 6:30 p.m., but I would get there early. Parking’s gonna suck.

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