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Atlanta Film Festival (part 4)

One of the joys of film festivals is the variety of subjects and genres covered. Another good fortune is encore screening of most films or short films if missed the first time. I had the opportunity to view six short films selected for the Lesbian Short Films for the Atlanta Film Festival. The following is a review of each.

The Roe Effect
Directed by Kiel Scott
19 minutes

Dawn (Nia Fairweather) is a high schooler hiding her romantic relationship with girlfriend Sam (Cher Santiago). After finding out she's pregnant via sexual abuse, she finds herself at a Catch-22. Meanwhile, a male classmate Sean, who is unaware of Dawn's pregnancy and relationship with Sam (James Holloway), takes a liking to Dawn thus giving her an outlet. Even though this movie is 19 minutes long, it's extremely heartbreaking and emotionally intense with Dawn's situation. It is recommended if you are interested in this subject matter, but not if this subject is too much. 

Grade B+

Simple Pleasures
Directed by Matthew Mendelson
10 minutes

Susan is one night away from her husband at a teacher's conference. Trying to rekindle her romance with a former female colleague, she ends up getting picked up by a feisty stranger at a bar. This appears to be the least developed story of the series of short films. There were a couple moments of comic relief, but otherwise wasn't effective. The chemistry between Susan and her one-night stand is not there thus the intensity of their lust is lacking. If a few more minutes were added to the story, then it might work. Otherwise, skip it.

Grade: D

Directed by Antoine Arditti
6 minutes

This animated short tells the story of Yulia, a young woman experiencing a deus ex machina by being transported from her kitchen to a bare room with five levers on a wall. Pulling them one by one, she is lead to her true love. This was one of the best shorts of the screening. The best part about this film is there are no words spoken - it's told in jibberish! With the power of the internet, it is available to view online. See this sweet story here.

Grade: A

Public Relations
Directed by Gianna Sobol
18 minutes

Geared toward the twenty-somethings, this is an update of the pen-pal relationship. An LA-based assistant finally meets her online/phone buddy when she moves from New York to California. After their seredipitous meeting at a cupcake shop, one thing leads to another... Even though this short has great chemistry for the two attractive female leads and great comic relief, the ending cuts short. It is recommended for those who want a good laugh and something entertaining. 

Grade: B

One Night
Directed by Laura John Cronin
14 minutes

Allie is a socially awkward young woman with her mind set on wooing a fellow baseball member. Told in flashback, she recalls trying to pick her up. Unfortunately, things turn for the worse making the potential night of fun into a nightmare. The storyline was intriguing up to the point of the "twist" that occurred. After that, it went downhill and was a disappointment.

Grade: C

To Comfort You
Directed by Marc Saltarelli
15 minutes

What appear to be a regular phone call between a mother, Angela (Susan Blakely), and daughter, Theresa (NCIS's Pauley Perrette), takes a turn for the worse. Living with HIV/AIDS, she and her mother talk about life, her condition, and so on. This is by far the best short of the series. It's funny, touching, heartbreaking, and very well done. The acting is superb and is a must see.

Grade: A


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