Mike Reviews: Future Shorts One – February Edition

Future Shorts 1 – February Edition

Future Shorts is one of the biggest global short-film networks that exists, supporting hosts of short film-makers across the planet. Future Shorts 1 is a night where several countries around the globe watch exactly the same short films at exactly the same time, to create a universal cultural experience.

The Venue

This years London event was at Old Cholmeley Boys Club in Dalston. This is without a doubt one of the greatest venues in London. Superbly quirky with the odd smattering of naked people in paintings, that haven't been hung up; they're just left lying around, as if they're weary participants in whatever is happening around them. There was even a hole in the floor filled with these abstract flakes of paint, just sitting there in the void between floors.

One problem I would say about the venue, is that the Future Shorts bit of the building was not signposted, which left myself and a partner sat upstairs at one of the funkiest weddings I've ever witnessed. It was like walking into a true representation of a period drama. None of this ultra-clean good teeth kind of deal, but utterly dusty vintage, where the lead based make-up caused a madness that ripped through the lot of them, making them bang pots and pans together. They were severely confused by my presence.

I did get to the screening hall, which was beautifully mad with odd chairs and tables dotted in a semi-order, containing a whole host of Hackney-esque arty types. All in all, find a gig or something there and go, or have your wedding there.

The Films

1. Numerical Engagements – Dir. Chelsea Walton/2004/USA

This was labelled as an 'optically printed love poem' where the narrative came mostly from visuals rather than words. The editing of the footage was fantastic, but the thing to point out with the first film is that it was accompanied with a live score by Bleeding Heart Narrative. This live score added such an extra depth to the images on screen. Bleeding Heart Narrative are a six piece who were mixing post-rock with classic strings, atonal structures through a post-minimalist aesthetic (probably). On its own the film would have faltered, but having the live cello and bass guitar rumbling through it was utterly hypnotic.

2. SOURPUSS – Dir. Oliver Barett/2010/UK

This was a 20 minute film scored by Bleeding Heart Narrative and was told in a triptych of emotive scenes. The three screens you constantly viewed created an almost stereoscope effect, where your brain began to construct multi-layered images, by staring at three different yet similar things at once. The music once more was powerfully seductive. The bass had you stuck to the seat whilst the visual, and sometimes verbal, story was told. The main problem with this piece is its length and the fact it does fall slightly into the realm of weird for the sake of being weird. There was a clown crossed with a mime-artist crossed with the Joker, circa Heath Ledger. It didn't quite feel right with the rest of the visual imagery. Around 15 minutes in the piece had a perfect moment to end, however they tacked on another 5 minutes for no reason whatsoever. It should have ended during this tunnel sequence where the strings were getting violent with the atonal dissonance rumbling, the whole thing was getting louder and louder, then when your orifices could take no more, it finally subsides and crashes with a cadence. Then 5 minutes of nothing happens....click the pic for more info.

3. Lars and Peter – Dir. Daniel Borgman/2009/Denmark

After the battering of ears via scary cellists, came the 'proper' films. You read in the program about Lars and Peter. It is about a young boy who's dad gets drunk then has a fight with his neighbour. The argument ends and the dad goes off into the garden and masturbates; all this is witnessed by the boy. The son must work out what he's just seen, all by himself. This did intrigue me. So, projector starts, some pretty wicked shots of the boy making a cake, then the subtitles come up on screen...backwards. No one could read backwards fluently in the audience, so the film could not screened. Online there are no subtitled versions of the film, which is slightly distressing. Click the pic for some words on the piece from the people at Cannes.

4. KLAXONS – Twin Flames – Dir. Saam Farahmand/2010/UK

This was a sweet music video. Think the Human Centipede but people are stuck together via different bits and getting freaky. The song itself is nothing much, the visuals carry the piece all the way. You definitely see the Chris Cunningham influence on the work, with strange androgynous bodies morphed into vexing shapes. It was pretty pornographic too, showing complete nudity and getting oiled up. A lot of oil. The song maybe average KLAXONS but the video is sheer muck. Click the pic for a visual treat.

5. The Mystery of The Flying Kicks – Dir. Matthew Bate/2009/Australia

This was another film that could not be shown and there are only adverts available online. This also sounded very interesting: the phenomenon of abandoned trainers and shoes slung over telephone wires is prominent around the world. Using photos, videos and testaments of self-confessed shoe slingers, this sounded like an interesting doc to watch. Oh well, c'est la vie. Click the pic for a vert.

6. Flying Lotus – Kill Your Co Workers – Dir. Beeple/2010/USA

This was a wicked music video with decent music to match. The DMT loving brain of Flying Lotus resides a very warped place. This animation, set during some crazy parade, where robots are entertaining the crowds, turns into a bloody violent mess when the robots are set to kill mode. The animation itself highlights a world now completely desensitized to violence where the crowd are still laughing and cheering when arms and legs are torn out their sockets. This can be watched by clicking the pic. Check it out for some cartoony, blocky blood.

7. The Drift – Dir. Kelly Sears/2007/USA

This was a surreal short film, recounting the story of the space race via psychedelic rock. The visuals were made entirely from books the director found in book shops and car booties. At first I was slightly confused believing that I'd completely forgotten my history. The story tells of a music that came from space during the first ventures out into the unknown. The music came back to Earth and caused many people to drift uncontrollably. The narrative maybe strange but the quirky animations on the visuals compliment the alternative story on history, whilst maintaining the spirit of that psychedelic era. Can be viewed by clicking the cosmonaut.

8. Mary Last Seen – Dir. Sean Durkin/2010/USA

A couple seek a retreat from the world...journey...test....resolve.....NEXT!

9. Goodbye Mr Chu – Dir. Stephanie Lansaque & Francoise Leroy/2005/France

This was a brilliant little animation about a young boy taking his carp for a walk; the synopsis for a great film. The film is set in the dizzying streets of Saigon, and at times used real images of the city slightly worked over by the animators to create backgrounds with a lot of depth. The main problem I had with the film is that there was bloke in front of me with a massive head who blocked the majority of the subtitles. This means I cannot truly convey the story, but the animations blew me away. For a tiny independent company, it was like watching Studio Ghibli and A Scanner Darkly running headlong into each other. Hypnotic, visual and contains a scared carp – look out for it.

All in all this was a fantastic experience despite the technical hiccups that occurred. This actually added to the event. The nature of the victorian style building and decour, mixed with experimental visuals and sound, coupled with an inability to hold some of the aspects together (at one moment the organiser was holding a big stage-light up, so the band could see their instruments, for half an hour), created a superb atmosphere that is definitely worth a trip in the future.


Mike Bridges, born in Southampton at the tender age of zero to parents. He is an arty Masters student studying Creative Entrepreneurship with a silly Lit degree behind him. He likes to consume as muc