[Note: This review of "Short Short Films" appeared in the Nevada City Advocate newspaper as part of a set of reviews for the 8th Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival.]
About 30 of the 135 films sprinkled throughout the 8th Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival range from a couple of minutes to about six minutes.Filmmakers have so little time to express their visions.It’s an advantage in many ways, if they do it right.
Pop, your awareness is raised.Pop, your appreciation attaches to someone making a difference.Pop, you're tickled by a few minutes of creativity.
How about … I’ll pop through short short summaries of some short short films to open your eyes to some of the individual and aggregate gems at this festival: (The number in parenthesis is the approximate length.)
“Bay vs. Bag” (2):A clever, satiric animation makes a telling point about the perverse number of plastic bags we let reach the San Francisco Bay.
“Change the World in Five Minutes at School” (4):Bing, bing, bing.It’s a bunch of ideas schoolkids are actually implementing.They’re learning.They’re accomplishing. They and the filmmaker are having fun.
“Drying for Freedom” (5): It’s just a trailer for a film being made about the right and reason to dry laundry on a clothesline … as if they haven’t made enough films on that topic already.
“Get Up, Stand Up” (4):Part of the festival’s extreme outdoor adventure tradition, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing river surfing for the first time.You can ride a natural river wave for minutes at a time.
“Global Focus” (each of 5, 5): The sixth year of Goldman prizes showcases the commitment and effectiveness of individuals in Africa (stopping destructive, exploitative mining); in Europe (partnering to reign in toxic industrial practices); in Indonesia (managing the garbage produced by growing tourism and population); in North America (thwarting mountaintop removal -- coal mining -- in West Virginia); in South America (saving the river lands of native people from usurping corporate behavior).
“Hot Bread Kitchen” (5):Watch a woman show you an idea she made into a reality. Teach under-employed immigrant women a trade and provide a socialized leg up, making organic bread.
“Lady Bug Swarm” (3):This video snapshot is just plain oh-how-cute, as a toddler expands his world with one, two, ten thousand lady bugs.
“Secret Life of Cell Phones” (5):There are soooooo many old cell phones waiting to be recycled to good use, needing to be recycled away from space-eating, polluting, hazardous disposal.
“Secret Life of Paper” (6):Using recycled paper in the United States of Amazing Consumption saves soooooo many trees, avoids soooooo much wastewater and greenhouse gases.
“Underwater Opera” (3):This is nothing special except fine photography of exotic sea creatures set to playful music plus a few funny accents.
“What Is That?” (5):An aging father sits outside next to his adult son. A tension arises too easily -- about a bird, of all things.The scene curls into a sigh-provoking, loving circle.
There are many ways to find satisfaction picking from dozens of separate film programs.Drinking in short film format is one of them.