RESFEST: DIGITAL FILM FESTIVAL at the Royal Cinema (608 College), Friday to Sunday (October 24-26). $8, fest pass $50. www.resfest.com. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Despite the presence of three feature films, ResFest, organized by Res magazine, is really a series of short film programs with a heavy focus on music video, including full programs devoted to Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry . On the non-music front, there's a fairly broad assortment of films, from straight clever sketch films like Rocky Morton 's The M Word to wild experiments like Fast Film by Austrian filmmaker Virgil Widrich , which treats the history of cinema as an assortment of images designed to be folded, spindled and transformed by some wizardry within his computer.
We can dismiss music videos if we like, but in the current climate no one else is throwing money at people making short films. Thus, the music video biz has nurtured the careers of people like David Fincher (I've always loved that the director of Fight Club did the major videos for the first Paula Abdul album), Spike Jonze and others.
(Those who'd prefer short and experimental filmmakers to remain poor but pure are welcome to their opinion. We have some pre-89 East German animation allegories for you to watch in that room over there.)
There is, after all, no theatrical market for short films any more. That's simply how it works out in the commercial cinema world, so filmmakers rely on events like this.
It's true that we're starting to see shorts on DVD. Palm Pictures is bringing out collections by Jonze and Gondry later this year, and I was browsing a Korean DVD site and discovered it's offering multi-disc collections of new short films. No idea who the market might be for that, but it's reassuring to see.
It's ironic, because a program of shorts has one big advantage over a feature film.
If you don't like a feature, you can be stuck in the thing for two hours. If you don't like the short you're watching, wait five minutes - another will be along directly.
Three nights at the Royal, and a series pass gets you into the afterparties.