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Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) – Day 1

Posted August 9, 2012 by Max in Featured

Thanks to the fine folks at the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF), I’ve been given the privilege of covering some terrific short films. These are the films that were showcased on opening night of the festival and showcase the very best of their submissions. It’s interesting to note that five films that premiered at RIIFF in 2011, went on to receive Academy Award nominations. Two of those were winners (The Shore and The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore).

The festival runs from August 7th, 2012 until August 12th, 2012.

ASAD

Bryan Buckley 2011
Categories: African, Coming of Age, Drama, Social Issue, Third World
Thoughts: They really opened with the best film in the lot. Set in a war torn fishing village in Somalia using an entire refugee cast, ASAD mixes drama and comedy effortlessly.  A young boy is given a fish and loses it protecting his friend from a gang. He must then set off on his own to find another fish, but you’ll never expect what he finds. The big reveal at the end is truly memorable and this was a fantastic short.
Grade: A

Trotteur

Arnaud Brisebois, Francis Leclerc 2011
Categories: Culture, Drama
Thoughts: The less you know about a short film the better it ends up being. Half the fun is trying to discover the story while your watching it. The problem with Trotteur is that I never discovered what was the conflict here. A man decides to race a train and its cut to include instances of his life that were difficult. The special effects were great though as that did a lot to make this film intriguing.
Grade: C

Pesaran-e-Buzkashi (Buzkashi Boys)

Sam French 2011
Categories: Asian, Drama, Social Issue, Third World
Thoughts: This was probably the longest short of the night clocking in at 28 minutes. Neat little fact was that it was funded using Kickstarter. The big draw for this film is easily that it was shot on location in Kabul city by an alliance of Afghan and international film makers. While it tells a compelling coming of age story, it’s all about the location and culture that make this interesting. I wasn’t ever blown away by the story, but the cinematography of Afghanistan was beautiful.
Grade: B

Friend Request Pending

Chris Foggin 2011
Categories: Comedy, Family
Thoughts: After the serious previous film, Friends Request Pending is a light comedy filled with laughs. It certainly helps that the leading actress is none other than Dame Judi Dench. It’s really funny watching her have a conversation via Facebook and try to gain the favor of a man. There’s another high caliber cameo near the end that had me laughing out loud. It was a fantastic short film.
Grade: A-

BRÛLEURS (Burners)

Farid BENTOUMI 2011
Categories: Drama
Thoughts: At first I thought this was just going to be a low quality film about France. Soon the film opens up and takes a turn into the realm of found footage films like Cloverfield. I was really blown away by this film, but they do have some very pretty sequences featured in the early parts of the film.
Grade: C

Mannen fra isødet (The Devil’s Ballroom)

Henrik Martin K. Dahlsbakken 2012
Categories: Drama, History, Human Rights
Thoughts: Considering the title of the piece I was prepared for the worst. The fact that the film opens with a burial, doesn’t seem to make this film a comedy. A man is excited to have been the first to discover the North Pole, but moments later a Japanese woman seems to have found it too. He can’t stand the thought and does something that will haunt him for the rest of his days. The Devil’s Ballroom felt like a complete story and really developed the central character a lot with little dialog. A very well done short.
Grade: B

J’aurais pu être une pute (I could’ve been a hooker)

Baya Kasmi 2010
Categories: Coming of Age, Drama, Romance, Women
Thoughts: I guess film festivals assume everyone is an adult, since this short featured a serious storyline and nudity behind the guise of a peculiar comedy. A young woman stumbles into a man while shopping for hedge clippers and somehow becomes attached to him. Her stalker movements are uncomfortable enough, but with every conversation she’s holding those hedge clippers in his face it’s uncomfortable. I really love how one element like hedge clippers could make things terrifying. This was one of the better shorts of the night.
Grade: B+
Come back again and see more coverage of the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF)
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About the Author

Max

Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.