NHFF Shorts Block 7: Seven Spectacular Shorts
Movie lovers filled the historic Moffatt-Ladd House venue to capacity for the seventh block of short films at eighteenth New Hampshire Film Festival. Seven films were shown, showcasing the range of diverse, interesting and innovative films one can see at NHFF.
The Mud was the first film of this block. The film, written and directed by Brandon Lake and produced by Valerie Martinez and Carolyn Mao, begins in a dark room and follows a surreal journey of sounds and sights. The only “actor” of the movie is a living puddle of mud, animated by Brandon Lake and Richard Zim, who seeks to understand its place in this strange world.
Next up was Fight Science, a documentary on Chris Algieri, former junior welterweight titleholder for the World Boxing Organization, as he prepares to fight an up and coming boxing star, Errol Spence Jr. Directed by Theodore Collatos and produced by Carolina Monnerat, the film establishes Algieri as a confident and calculating boxer who seeks more transparency in the dangerous sport and details his training and preparation for the big fight. Algieri, who has a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from the New York Institute of Technology, approaches boxing like a science, unlike many of his competitors. At the championship fight this science is put to the test.
The following film, Maude, follows Teeny, who arrives at a lavish home to start a new babysitting gig. It turns out the home belongs to Priscilla, a woman Teeny used to go to school with and she is to babysit Priscilla’s daughter, Celery. Initially skeptical of the job, Teeny begins to realize the opportunity she has on her hands when one small lie begins to snowball out of control. This comedy was directed and written by Anna Margaret Hollyman and produced by Bettina Barrow and Jason Klorfein. The film also stars Hollyman, along with Megan Ferguson and Nico Evers-Swindell.
The second documentary of the block, David’s Voice, presents the story of David Worobec and his unique stage troupe. David and his mother describe him as lover of theater and music, which David brings to audiences through his toy theater, where David recreates classic plays on a miniature stage using toys as his performers. David states in the film that, “music is one of the greatest expressions of sharing one’s soul”. Despite the unorthodox nature of the toy theater, David strives for this connection with his meticulous and passionate performances. David’s Voice is directed by Graham Hill and co-produced and co-written by Hill and Chad Carbone.
Learn more about David’s Voice on their website.
Caroline, starring Caroline Falk in its title role and co-starring Brooks Falk, Sally Falk, Celine Held and Tam Jackson, was the next film of the block. When young Caroline’s mom is given the opportunity for a job interview, she must leave her three children in their car with Caroline in charge. Caroline tries her best to keep her younger brother and sister safe but things quickly spiral out of control for the six-year-old. The film was directed and written by Held and Logan George and produced by Kara Durrett.
The penultimate film of the block, Counterfeit Kunkoo, comes to the festival from India and tells the story of recently divorced Smita, played by Kani Kusruti, who seeks to rent a house in Mumbai. While a seemingly simple task, Smita’s search for a new home is met with one pervasive roadblock which ultimately threatens to upend her newly won independence. Written and directed by Reema Sengupta, produced by Surekha Sengupta and co-starring Vijay Varma, Counterfeit Kunkoo, presents the reality of life in a country far from New Hampshire.
Directed and written by Jovan James and produced by Chester Algernal, Tadpole was the final film of the block. The short begins with Chris, played by Shaun Brockington, inviting two of his friends, played by Jackson Anderson and Mateo Ferro, over to spend the night. While the hang out begins as one might expect from three teenage boys, as the night progresses the audience is presented with moments of subtle and intimate self-discovery.
Some of the most exciting moments at the New Hampshire Film Festival are getting to hear about these films from the creators who bring them to life. After the screening of Tadpole, James, along with Brockington and Anderson, were present for a Q&A with the audience. When asked about his inspiration for his films, James stated that he drew from a mix of “personal elements and issues I’m passionate about,”
James revealed that the plot of the film was originally different but had to be changed last minute and commended his team and the young actors for continuing to move forward to make a great film. When asked why they wanted to be in the film, Brockington and Anderson both replied with the importance of this different kind of story being told when many stories like it have not been told before. James described Tadpole as being representative of what’s it is like to a be young person going through many new changes and challenges and stated he is working on a feature film in that thematic vein. If Tadpole is any indication, perhaps we can look forward to seeing that feature at a future New Hampshire Film Festival.
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By Ben Bradbury-Koster