Short short films command an important niche. In fewer than 10 minutes – often fewer than five – they range in subject, substance, and creativity. Below are a bunch of the films that help shape the language of each festival session.
Comfort of Cold, The (4): In nipping waters of San Francisco Bay, an old man swims. Some examples of adventurous extreme sports take the form of mundane devotions to just doing it – whatever your age.
Daisy Cutter (7): The visual qualities offer enough to recommend this animated film. It’s the poetic telling, though, that lifts a positively sad story of spirit and message.
Dark Side of the Lens, The (6): An extreme adventure seeker turns surfing and swimming in rock bound waves into a deft photographic essay, enhanced by an enchanted Celtic brogue.
Eel – Water – Rock – Man (7): Sometimes environmentalism isn’t about making an issue of things. For instance, this guy found his unique version of “enough” in life and work.
I Wish I Went to Ecuador (6): The animated visuals join the sound effect of a proper Brit teacher interacting with young student voices. Concern over rainforest devastation reaches an appropriately sized wagging plea.
Liter of Light, A (2): We live and feel far away from teeming poverty. To see one simple low-tech idea lighten people’s lives in one small palpable way is heartening indeed.
Deep Down’s People Power Series: Mountain Roots (3): One down to earth person lends intelligent voice to the badness of big coal.
Polar Bear Migration (2): A seemingly lightweight animation, about do-gooder media wonks in a helicopter, turns into biting satire.
One Plastic Beach (8): A husband and wife weave their loving relationship with simple, practical activism. They remove tons of garbage from one chosen beach and turn it into art.
Save Sharks, Get Involved (4): This film churns its message quickly, mounting tension toward the impact of its closing shot.
Saving Valentina (8): Not so much filmmaking, it is more like a spontaneous video recording of one palpable, satisfying opportunity to save a whale.
Story of Citizens United vs. FEC, The (8): Annie “The Story of Stuff” Leonard is always succinct, with informed, easy to digest perspective. This time, she spotlights a Supreme Court case that gives corporations even more power over us.
Timber (1): The shortest film in the festival, it nonetheless takes its time to totally fool you.
Tuned In (5): This oddball environmentalism starts with a quote by Thoreau (“music is continuous; listening is intermittent”). A guy finds quiet places to optimize listening to radio waves generated by nature, not by human technology.
Weed War (6): It’s nice to feel like part of the solution instead of part of the problem. In this case, a personable man uses goats that eat invasive weeds in lieu of applying harmful and expensive pesticides.
Yelp: With Apologies to Alan Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ (3): Rapid-fire imagery serves up a poetic shout about modern electronic overload and a need to unplug.