Friday, May 11, 2012

VSIFF 2012: Not Short of the Good Stuff!

Funny how things something happen the way they do.

A stray invite for VSIFF 2012 (that is Very Short International Film Fest to the uninitiated) dropped into Red Dot Diva's colleague's email inbox one morning. And knowing that Red Dot Diva is quite the film buff, astute colleague promptly forwarded the invite and said, "This is something I know you'd like."

And that's how Red Dot Diva found herself at a comfy theatre in the Marina Bay/ Raffles Place area for the preview screening of VSIFF 2012 on 9 May. She didn't even know that such an auditorium existed in the financial district!

To give the invited guests a taste of the range of Very Short Films that were going to be screened on 12 and 13 May at Alliance Francaise Theatre, Selection A of both the International segment and Singapore segments were shown.

The International segment kicked off on a right note with a humourous 3D animated piece called "High Strike" (by Colin Laubry) about an unfortunate pigeon attempting to get to a chewing gum that was stuck to the weight of a carnival strong man's high striker. The screening then proceeded through an array of subjects - romance & relationships being the most popular, documentaries, nature, and real life footage. Most of the subjects and style were decidedly European in nature, with a smattering of British and American.

"Timeline" - a touching short about a mother's love by Singaporean Alvin Lee, was chosen for the International segment. Quite an honour. Bravo!

Red Dot Diva thought that some of the "Very Shorts" screened were simply Very Good stories. Like the charming piece called "School Portrait" about a grumpy photographer and a cute young girl who just wouldn't stop smiling. Then, there was an amusing and slightly sad one that speaks to any comic geeks' heart entitled "Ms Marvel's Day Off". The animated piece called "Miniscule - "L'artist" about a house-spider with artistic inclinations was totally adorable, and "Murmuration" (that is what you call a group of starlings BTW), showcased Mother Nature at one of her most astounding.

The Singapore segment was shorter and as expected, generally more emo as most Asian films tend to be. Red Dot Diva heard that a total of 178 entries were submitted for the Singapore segment - a record number from the time the festival was held here.

There were a few local "Very Shorts" that attempted to be a little too arty and Red Dot Diva found herself going "huh??" a few times. And also, this is Singapore, folks. So what are the chances that there will not be something propaganda-ish? Total Defence anyone?

Still, there were a few gems in the list. "Sob Story" - aka a taxi driver's lament - was absolutely a hoot and identifiable by locals immediately, and "Hello Daisy" was quite touching. But Red Dot Diva's favourite in the Singapore segment was "Love Doesn't Need Words". She usually isn't one for mushy sentiments but this apparently simple tale "spoke" in many levels.

It is probably an easier affair to go on long expositions and create movies that seem to go on forever (including all that CGI and noisy explosions or slow-mo dreamy landscapes), but when one is able to tell a visually convincing or moving tale in just 3 minutes and under?? Red Dot Diva says that takes sheer talent.

She also noted that for a "Very Short", the score or backing music became even more important, and in the films that had very few words, she founds herself more aurally aware and attuned to the story's sentiments.

Some short facts:
- this is the third year that the festival is being held locally
- there are 45 films in the International segment from 13 different countries
- the VSIFF is screened in participating countries at the same time each May.
- this year, there will be screenings in up to 20 countries and 80 cities
- The International Jury is based in Paris and each participating city has a local jury.
- Eric Khoo, local film meister, is chief judge for the Singapore segment.

There will be public screenings held this weekend on 12 and 13 May at Alliance Francaise Theatre.
One can get ticket from Ticketbooth's website. Single session are at $10 and the festival pass is at $15.

Not wanting to give away too much spoilers here, Red Dot Diva says you can head to VSIFF FB page for videos of some of the shorts featured there. She also recommends that aspiring story-tellers - in film or in other types of media - should go take a peek at the "Very Shorts" that are being screened.

You would be surprised at how inspired you might be after watching them!


Vote for your favourite film, and win an iPad.
You can do the voting by going to the VSIFF FB page!

VSIFF is organized by ZoMedia Pte Ltd.

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