The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Summer 2020 Short Film Festival – Films 3 and 4: “The Red Carpet” and “I Feel”

By Andrew Buckner

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Summer 2020 Short Film Festival continues with films 3 and 4 (of 14) in the festival: “The Red Carpet” (2018), which was directed by Richard Griffin, and “I Feel” (2017). The latter work was directed by Steve Blackwood. The connection between these witty and hilarious gems are their shared genre: Comedy. In a related note, this will be the first of two of these related categorical pairings in this festival.

As promised, the festival continues with:

Film 3: “The Red Carpet”

Cast information:

Directed and Edited by Richard Griffin

Written and Produced by Lenny Schwartz

Starring: Anthony Gaudette, Sarah Reed, Geoff White, Lee Rush, Dan Martin, Laura Minadeo, Graham Stokes, Bill Pett, Jim Kelly, Erin Archer.

Director of Photography: Dan Mauro

Production Designer: Margaret Wolf

Art Director: Angela Shulman

Assistant Director: Nat Sylva.

Plot:

When a young boxer suffers from a near-fatal hit in the ring, his slow struggle back to glory will fill you with hope and a promise of a new tomorrow. “The Red Carpet” is a movie for anyone who wants to know the true meaning of the nature of the human spirit, and what it means to be a hero.

Color.

Runtime: 4 min. 15 sec.

Contains profanity.

Film 4: “I Feel”

Summary:

A mockumentary about a couples therapy session gone wrong.

Cast:

Director: Steve Blackwood.

Writers: Karen Blackwood, Steve Blackwood.

Starring: Elle Matarazzo, Jeremy Labrie, Marty Smith, Marybeth Paul.

Music: Mathew Solomon.

Editor: Chris Esper.

Cinematography: Chris Esper.

Produced by: Steve Blackwood, Chris Esper.

Sonic Cinema review of “I Feel”:

http://sonic-cinema.com/movie/i-feel-short/?fbclid=IwAR0zV1_BbfNCEgHqaFxZVYyejUT3onA_5j34IqUyVZQ5C0ixRFcg2ZfVeZE

Color.

Runtime: 9 min. 53 sec.

*All films included in this festival are shown with the kind permission of the filmmakers.

 

The 10 Best Short Films of 2020 (So Far)

By Andrew Buckner

*The inclusion of the short films on this list is based on the criteria of a 2020 release date.

10. “The Never Was”
Director: Mike Messier.

9. “Waffle”
Director: Carlyn Hudson.

8. “Dear Guest”
Director: Megan Freels Johnston.

7. “Thankless”
Director: Mark Maille.

6. “Wives of the Skies”
Director: Honey Lauren.

5. “Stuck”
Director: Steve Blackwood.

4. “The Dirty Burg”
Director: John Papp.

3. “Being Kris Salvi”
Director: Gabrielle Rosson.

2. “Fire (Pozar)”
Director: David Lynch.

1. “Yesteryear”
Director: Chris Esper.

Runner-Up:

“The Onlookers and Him”
Directors: Susruta Mukherjee, Saswata Mukherjee.

“Stuck”(2020) – (Short Film Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****.

Director Steve Blackwood’s fourteen-minute short film, “Stuck” (2020)”, is an all-around clever and well-done comedy. It finds a plethora of successful laughs and a subtle undermining of heart amid its engrossing premise.

Such concerns the goings-on of George (Blackwood) and Helen Simon (Sandy Bainum). They are a couple from New York, employed in advertising, who are thrust into a situation of dire emergency. The duo bought a machine of an erotic nature. It is one meant to enhance their relationship. This is as well as their routine lives. Yet, when the inebriated young delivery guy, Finn (Max Schochet), passes out and becomes unmovably entangled in said device during its installation, the scenario becomes more than a little nerve-racking for the pair. Not only is this because they are unaware of how to get Finn out of the gadget, but also because their overly judgmental friends are on their way for dinner.

The script, from Blackwood and David Susman, does a fine job of telling this tale in an engaging, hysterical, and always credible fashion. It develops the all-too-relatable characters of George and Helen in an equally organic and satisfying manner. This is often through the knee-slapping banter between the team. Blackwood and Susman keep the pace brisk throughout the endeavor. There is not a wasted frame in the storytelling department. Moreover, the humor is successful and witty. The project gets funnier as it goes along. This is with it becoming even more effective in the second half of the production. Blackwood and Susman’s narrative also weave a nice bit of dramatic symbolism with the title word involving George and Helen themselves near the finale.

What also works in the undertaking is the cheery, sophisticated, and stylish opening and closing credit sequences. They beautifully echo the overall tone of the effort. The animation used in these moments is outstanding. Furthermore, the performances are pitch perfect. Blackwood, Bainum and Schochet are excellent in their respective turns. The cinematography is vibrant, and the musical bits are just as good. Blackwood’s behind the camera control of the venture is sharp.

In turn, “Stuck” is masterful on all accounts. It is one of the best and most uproarious brief pieces I have seen all year. I highly recommend it.