The Long and Short of It

Fifteen minutes. It can feel like a lifetime or no time at all. Waiting at the doctor’s office? It seems like forever. Making out with your boyfriend? Time just flies by. The entries in the fifth annual Miami Short Film Festival? Well, there are films that fit into both of those categories.

With most films running less than 30 minutes, you will have plenty of time to catch many of the nearly 100 animated, narrative, documentary, and experimental shorts. One standout is by Barcelona-born filmmaker Lluís Quílez. Avatar, which means “an accidental event that usually implies a sudden change in the course of something,” is fifteen electrifying minutes of emotion-jarring family tension that needs little dialogue to convey the burden an unexpected disability can have on a once-happy home. Shot in 35mm, this is Quílez’s second short; his first, El Siguiente, was selected for more than 100 festivals around the world.

Another suspenseful ride is Los Elefantes Nunca Olvidan (Elephants Never Forget), a Venezuelan film by Lorenzo Vigas Castes about two young teenagers who seek vengeance on a man who has hurt them. And Marc Lougee’s slow-moving Claymation take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum brings back painfully boring memories from our high school English class.

And just because you can get big stars to act in your short does not guarantee you will have a winner. Club Soda was written, directed, and produced by Paul Carafotes -- a character actor you probably don’t remember seeing in CSI, Fight Club, NYPD Blue, and Knight Rider – and stars James Gandolfini, Joe Mantegna, and Louis Gossett Jr. It falls flat. Maybe Carafotes should take some advice from Jeff Reilly’s silly short-short: Edit This.

The festival runs from November 27 through December 2. Films will be shown at the Tower Theater and AMC CocoWalk (3015 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove). Tickets cost $12, $9 for students and seniors; ticket packages are also available. Call 305-854-2229, or visit www.miamishortfilmfestival.com for a complete schedule.
Nov. 27-Dec. 2

 
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