A Small Thing
Short-film programs are always a mixed bag. You can sit through a lot of dross while waiting for eight minutes of brilliance, and it's not always worth the trade-off.
If you're interested in catching a few good shorts at imagineNATIVE, I'd advise you to check out Shorts Program 1, screening October 18, 7 pm, at the Al Green Theatre.
A Small Thing (Rating: NNNN) is a solid if conventional work about a young Toronto woman trying to understand the roots of her disconnected emotions. It's driven by Meredith Cheesbrough's strong performance and Adam Garnet Jones's fluid direction.
Coffee & Allah
A less urgent work, Coffee & Allah (Rating: NNNN) follows a Muslim woman (Zahara Abbawaaji) as she navigates her small New Zealand town dressed in full burka, slowly expanding her sense of community while retaining her sense of self. Director Sima Urale keeps it from getting too saccharine, and cinematographer Rewa Harré has a fine eye for the unexpected composition.
You Are A Lesbian Vampire
That said, the most satisfying imagineNATIVE short I've seen is Thirza Cuthand's You Are A Lesbian Vampire (Rating: NNNN) in Shorts Program 2, screening October 19, 3 pm, at the Al Green Theatre.
A monologue delivered over black-and-white footage of women groping each other in appropriately moody settings, it's a mordantly funny litany of the downside to the doubly alternative lifestyle described in the title.
Running just three minutes, it doesn't push its central joke any further than it needs to. Cuthand accomplishes so much within her limited means that I'd be happy to see her stretch her next work out to six or even seven minutes.