Wednesday night's Tower Theatre "Open Screen Night" featured some winning short films and plenty of originality.
The program of 11 shorts for the first Open Screen of the 2011-2012 season was similar in some respects to any collection of short films: varying wildly in style and substance and unlikely to have everything appeal to everyone. Documentary, comedy, romance and horror were all represented -- some effectively, some not so much.
My choice for the evening's Critic's Award, though, was exceptional both conceptually and in execution. Chris Rogers' Yellow Pill followed an unnamed man through his day, reaching for a pharmaceutical solution to every emotion or bodily sensation: "Bored," "Hungry," "Sad," etc. Rogers kept his visual approach fresh, allowing the film to feel like much more than a grand attempt at metaphor. And clearly I wasn't alone in my admiration, as Rogers' film also took the audience award.
Other highlights included:
ZICSM: The SLFS Staff Pick winner by Christopher Hanna featured a rapid-fire montage of masked faces to eerie effect.
Otis: P. M. Baird's funky re-mix-up of "Try a Little Tenderness" with a pair of gyrating dudes was strangely, hypnotically silly.
Your Friendly Neighbor: Ben Burden & Austin McManus concocted a very funny faux documentary about a rabid gun enthusiast clashing with his new roommate. Extra points for managing a clever masturbation punch line.
The next Open Screen is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 9.