If you're tired of watching short indie films shot on harsh video, one of the best places to feast on the rich colours, graininess and old-school charm of Super 8 film is Splice This! Alas, this year's fest, the ninth, will also be the last.
But it goes out in style. Only four shorts were available to pre-screen, but they capture the excitement and diversity of the thriving Super 8 scene.
Lisa Kannakko and Geoffrey McPeek's I Don't Wanna is a renegade rock video performed by the local indie band Clothes Make the Man. The group enacts an archetypal scenario about society and power featuring a suit, a lady, a cop and a street person. The narrative gets a few tweaks thanks to clever editing and some reverse-motion tricks.
George Unger's Four Play is a clever experiment in single-frame motion. Using a few props and Luigi Allemano's delightfully retro score, Unger immaculately captures four escape scenarios in just two minutes. It's a bravura mini-feat of filmmaking that gets better with multiple viewings.
Steve Bal4's Is*asPERaspe* leaves you hypnotized by its abstract images that start out like scientific findings but soon become a teasing, coy examination of shape, colour and texture. Who knew that looking at scratches on film (albeit for 4 minutes) could be so compelling?
Keith Cole's The Stars Are Ruined adds glamour to the program. Shot by Splice This regular Robert Kennedy at Buddies in Bad Times's 27th-anniversary party last fall, the film features a who's who of the alternative arts scene. Everyone is there, and the Super 8 makes them look all shadowy and sexy. The film has the feel of an underground archive document, which must be Cole's point. By the way, La Cole, looking like Pink's older, Chanel-knockoff-wearing gay brother, hosts the event and of course gets the final word, upstaging everyone from comic Elvira Kurt to a Greco-Roman wrestler who kicks him in the crotch.
All four shorts screen June 24 as part of the fest's Soundstripe program. (June 23 and 24 at Xpace)