NHFF Saturday Short Block 7: An Eclectic Mix of Great Short Films
The warehouse at the Moffatt-Ladd House and Garden was home to a diverse collection of short films for Short Block 7. The rustic conditions didn’t deter the festival’s eager film lovers, who packed the warehouse to its literal rafters.
First up was Houseplants, a drama starring real-life couple, David Rysdahl and Zazie Beetz, who move into a new apartment together. Their new apartment brings back old memories and challenges the couple at the start of their next chapter. Houseplants also stars Sophie Traub and Isabella Mehiel, was produced by Ernest Gold and Ria Tobaccowala, and was directed and written by Prashanth Kamalakanthan.
Kamalakanthan was present for a Q&A session after the block. Many audience questions focused on the choice of shooting the movie on film instead of digitally. Kamalakanthan explained that the ideas of memory and forgetting were integral to the movie and that film has a “living, breathing quality” that invokes these important themes more powerfully than digital means.
Next in the lineup was True Blue a drama about a pyramid schemer, played by David Warshofsky, visiting Atlantic City. After a presentation, he heads out on the town and makes an unexpected connection. As the night goes on, the pair realize they have more in common than they thought. True Blue co-stars Michael James Shaw and is directed, written and produced by Chris Osborn, with co-producers Breanne, Kati Skelton, and Riley Carithers.
The block’s only animated film was I Like Girls, which tells four stories of self-realization and love from four different women: Charlotte, Mathilde, Marie and Diane. These uniquely animated tales invoked laughter and introspection from the audience as they digested these private moments. This colorful and intimate film was directed and written by Diane Obomsawin and produced by Marc Bertrand and Julie Roy.
The first documentary of the block, No. 7 On the List, presented the audience with a look at the unassuming town of Springfield, Vermont. Once a bustling mill town during World War II, the town’s biggest claim to fame is its supposed inclusion on Adolf Hitler’s bombing list. Where this myth originated from is still up for debate, but its importance to Springfield is very clear. This NH-affiliated film was directed, produced, and written by Meagan Frappiea and Bryant Naro and stars Springfield residents John Keefe Jr., Hugh Putnam, and Donald Whitney.
Mickey’s Pets, the next film shown, was also a documentary but one with a very different subject. The film stars Mickey Alice Kwapsis, a young taxidermist based out of Chicago, as she prepares a peacock for competition in the U.S. National Taxidermy Championships. Directed and written by Ashley Brandon, and produced by Dennis Hohne, Mickey’s journey to the big leagues of taxidermy is punctuated with an upbeat soundtrack and vibrant montages. Despite most of the audience being newcomers to the world of professional taxidermy, by the end of the film, you couldn’t help but root for Mickey.
Changing pace again was the last drama of the block, Fry Day, directed and written by Laura Moss with co-writer Brendan O’Brien. The film takes place on the eve of notorious serial killer, Ted Bundy’s execution and stars Jordyn DiNatale as Lauryn, a young photographer taking advantage of the celebration surrounding the event. The film co-stars Jimi Stanton and Elizabeth Ashley and is co-produced by O’Brien and Laura Moss.
The final film of the block was Pet Monkey a comedy directed and written by Eric Maira and produced by Bri Merkel. The film stars Sky Elobar and Diana Kolsky as a couple having a quiet date night when Terry (Elobar) offers to purchase Gwen (Kolsky) a pet monkey. The night quickly goes awry as Terry’s insistence escalates and the comical lengths he is willing to go to convince Gwen are revealed.
By Ben Bradbury-Koster