Thinking of going to Sony Tropfest to find inspiration for my own short film

Now, how many Aussies are going to the Sony Tropfest this Sunday? Seems like a lot, including this animator/illustrator chick whose work got nominated. I'm definitely going. It's a short film festival showing the finest short films of the year in Australia, beamed nationwide. This annual event is usually pretty damned popular, held at this pretty large field, where everyone could bring their own food and drinks + a rug so that they can have picnics while watching the films. (I wish there will be a day when such events can be held regularly in Malaysia with resounding success, I feel somewhat sad that this seminar about indie filmmaking held last week had pretty lukewarm reception... seven speakers and fifteen audience members is kinda bad, why can't people love movies more?) I didn't post about it last year, but I'll be doing it this year (and also keep an eye on others chronicling this event). Watching good short films motivates me to do better.



It was yesterday when the tutor of Screen Productions 2 was showing the Best Drama of last year to us, and it was a psycho character drama of sorts about this cleaner woman who works in a train station, living a boring mundane life where she has to repeat everything everyday while suppressing her personal frustrations. Then she has some kinda hallucinations of some little girl, so she started chasing this little girl into the toilet, and the little girl locked herself in a cubicle. And then the cleaner woman screamed "stop hiding inside!" and the girl was like "you're the one who is inside!" (i'm obviously paraphrasing, the film itself should sound better) Pretty deep and intense stuff. Abstract, but deep, and intense. Some good shots. And Amelia, main actress of my short film Forced Labour is in it too (in a cameo, in a very feminine role! ... and I noticed that I spoke about her thrice in three days, if you people still haven't watched my short films, you oughta be ashamed of yourself, GO WATCH IT NOW)!

Then the Best Documentary's about a stripper who happens to be an artist. Think her name's Alia Leadebrand (according to my notes), and it's rather educational despite being only five minutes long. I mean, we get a glimpse on her business, the people working with her, and all those stuff. Since I'm doing a mockumentary, it is necessary for me to draw more inspiration from other documentaries.

Of course, to cram a story as massive as what I've intended would've been rather ambitious, but I'll be working on the screenplay for quite a while. Here's a sample conversation with Justin that will give you all an idea what kinda of story I actually have in mind for my upcoming short film. (to those who haven't read my site before during the past few days, here's what I wanted to do on my short film)

"I'm going to screw up people's expectations, make them think that it's just some silly little slapstick mockumentary that's trying to be oh-so-intelligent, then it will immediately shift gears and become something rather poignant, thought-provoking and most of all, POETIC. It'll be stylish like Wong Kar Wai's stuff, YET a MOCKUMENTARY!" - Me To Justin
I can't help but realize how awed I am with my own lofty ambitions. There was a time when I didn't place film students in high regard, feeling somewhat annoyed that they were studying what I've wanted to study for years and not appreciating what they have, or display the kind of passion, or knowledge I have for films. To understand my oh-so-godly great knowledge for films, here is another sample conversation I had with Justin whilst suffering through Shunji Iwai's April Story. A critically-acclaimed film that neither of us could really 'get'. It's aesthetically-pleasing, but er, NOTHING HAPPENS at all in the film. Or perhaps some STUFF did happen, but it couldn't generate a single ounce of feeling from me. Maybe I was missing something. This is strange considering that I am a massive Shunji Iwai fan, I declared Love Letter as one of my ultimate fave Japanese films, and was awed by the poetry displayed by the All About Lily Chou Chou.
Justin: Man, what was the name of the actor who played Bill in Bill and Ted?

Me: ... Alex Winter.
Film students have become so engrossed with the technical aspects of filmmaking that they might actually lose their genuine passion for films (well, it is a personal belief anyway, and I'm not saying that ALL film students are like that, just many of them), or are so desperate to 'express their feelings' in their short films that they somehow alienate their audiences with sheer pretentiousness. As for me, well, my short film should be able to ENTERTAIN myself, and hopefully entertain my audiences. I do not think that films is just a medium for entertainment, it can be more than that, of course, it's just that I wish there are more short films that can attempt to entertain (while being deep and thoughtful at the same time). Just some personal thoughts. What do you people think?

And speaking of entertaining short films, I've recently fallen very much in love with this 2002 short film by Australian-based Nassiem Valamanesh called 'Little Noel Wants To Fly', which was the basis for the idea I got for my upcoming short film (where characters seem to interact directly with the audiences, hence a mockumentary-feel). I've seen his other work called My Beijing Friend on ifilm.com (I tried to search for it, but couldn't access the page), which, in my opinion, wasn't as good as 'Little Noel Wants To Fly'. But it left a deep enough impression for me to immediately recognize Nassiem's name when I watched 'Little Noel Wants To Fly' nearly a year later.

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