Walk into O Cinema during an Indie Film Club function and you may forget you are in Miami. In the parking lot, you'll pass spoken word poet Oscar Fuentes and his band rocking out to the delight of a rather unpretentious crowd. Inside on the walls, one of which is a huge chalkboard, hangs art worthy of any SoHo New York artist scrap.
On Tuesday, a sold out O Cinema played host to IFC's "I'm not gonna move to LA" short film competition. For the first time, two films tied for first place, which was determined by audience voting with a stuffed animal.
Yale Moon, by director Hunter Wolk, was actually commissioned by Yale University to show to graduating students. The movie explores the actions of students as they prepare for the school's impending destruction by an asteroid. Wolk cut the movie down from his original edit, removing inside jokes without taking away from the narrative, in order to appeal to a broader audience.
"I loved the way [Yale Moon] took on a challenging topic in a delightful manner without seeming too contrived," said audience member Patrick Tylicki.
The other movie that tied for first place (and our personal favorite) was Frank and the Rabbit by director Paul Vincent Alexander. Retired detective Frank Bullseye is called back into action by a stunning seductress. The movie does a great job of providing bits of humor without sacrificing suspense. The rabbit plays the quintessential villain, and the storyline was well thought out for such a short film.
"All the votes were so close, everyone got a pretty good vote count...five great Miami films," said Diliana Alexander on behalf of IFC.
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The three other films that competed include El Torero,the story of a young, penniless bullfighter who loses his cape and is forced to steal another one shot on location in Spain; Mace & Hatchet, presented by director of photography Giovanni Torres, starring a couple of wacky detectives trying to catch an evil "but pretty-faced" drug lord; and Boob Envy, presented by director and Pembroke Pines resident Verena Faden, a short documentary about Miami's plastic surgery culture created for Current TV.
IFC Miami holds a number of events every month for club members, moviegoers, and members of the filmmaking industry. Membership for IFC ranges from $30 for minimum enrollment to $200 for the full array of privileges. For more information, visit indiefilmclubmiami.com.