Featured (Dream) Short: Beemus, It’ll End in Tears

For this week’s featured short, Indie Street is trying something a teeny bit different - both in terms of concept inception and storyline. Lauren Wolkstein’s “Beemus, It’ll End in Tears” is more than just a kooky little experimental narrative short that’ll leave you feeling oddly nostalgic for a PE class of yesteryear. Is the feeling of watching this short akin to a dream or deja vu? Well, if it helps wrap your mind around it, the short actually exists as part of a larger feature film compilation project called "collective:unconscious”! Five talented and adventurous up-and-coming indie filmmakers (click here for the full roster) joined forces to adapt each other's stories. And by stories, I mean, well, dreams. Yes, you read correctly. "collective:unconscious” explores highly imaginative and creative individuals’ interpretations of their fellow filmmakers sometimes kooky, bizarre, serious, philosophical and/or downright randomly delightful nighttime brain journeys. To put it simply, each of the filmmakers had dreams and those dreams were then imagined on screen by one of the other five. The result is a feature film compilation unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. And as of August the 9th, you can enjoy the full feature and SXSW hit for free via Vimeo. In this subsequent segment of the feature, director Lauren Wolkstein adapts Frances Bodomo's dream. The synopsis is basically described as this: “My PE class and I are stuck in a volcano and we’re being made to drink hair in soap water to stop from getting blown up by the volcano-master (who has a walrus mustache).” With that material, Wolkstein delivers us a stylized, vaguely Wes Anderson looking short that goes somewhere you totally weren’t expecting. Suddenly, the awkward nightmarish role of gym class comes flooding back in a way you can't quite put your finger on. Was it all just a dream? A new way of seeing things that are sometimes only visually known in our own heads, Wolkstein’s “Beemus, It’ll End in Tears” is a great teaser to the full film, one imaged by Producer Dan Schoenbrun, Former Senior Film Outreach Lead At Kickstarter. So, what are you waiting for? This is a bold new form of storytelling on film that must be watched to believe! Check out the short, sleep on it (sweet dreams indeed!) and why not check out the full compilation of other shorts here! (Hint: starting with the Bodomo's one line blurb above before watching the film is a pretty nifty way of comparing the final product with your own vision of the dream.) Want to watch even more amazing short films? Make sure to check out some of the best, right here on Indie Street! 

Over here at Indie Street, we know art can get a little weird sometimes. And we love a good innovative weirdo! Discovering media artist ::vtol:: and his latest work is right up there with some of the most bizarre things we’ve seen lately. In “Until I Die”, ::vtol:: uses over 4 liters of his own blood to generate electricity in order to create electronic sounds. The blood was collected over the course of 8 months and put into a very unique type of battery. Electrolyte liquid and metals are used as power sources for an electronic synth module. From here, sound compositions are played from a speaker. Definitely a wonder to hear and behold, giving the act of donating blood a whole new meaning. A feast for a vampire or a performance art and sound piece worth checking out below! 

Featured Short: Ross Hogg & Duncan Cowles' ISABELLA

Haunting, with a unique touch of beauty and fragility, filmmakers Ross Hogg and Duncan Cowles’ “Isabella” is a short hybrid creation that employs elements of documentary, animation and narrative film, jumbling them together in order to produce an exploration of memory and time that will likely stick with you long after viewing (the irony)! The concept of memory can be quite abstract and absurd. As we age, all of our thoughts, words, and past situations become elusive to our process of both digesting information and recalling it. “Isabella” studies those inevitable consequences of aging through the introduction of, well...Isabella, filmmaker Ross Hogg’s own 92-yr old grandmother. The outcome of watching and listening to her try to recall and recite once vibrant memories is surreal, heartbreaking and yet profoundly human.  The message plugged into “Isabella”, with its complementing animation style and camera work (a flawless collaboration between the filmmakers' two talents), is strong. It comes together in a way you wouldn’t expect and yet can’t look away from. I, for one, can sadly relate. Personally having had a blind grandmother battling alzheimer's disease towards the end of her life, I was taught a lot about the human condition after watching it slowly and desperately wither away. A word of advice: cherish your own thoughts and talk with your loved ones before everything gets lost in time. And then watch this ironically memorable official 2016 Indie Street Film Fesival selection below! 

Maria's Pick: Millington's "Being"

We may be nearing the end of February (AKA Valentine's Month), but with March just around the corner, why should the <3 stop flowing!? Maria Dicieanu of Submarine Channel shows us that it’s never too late for romance. Case in point, her pick for February: Millington's unforgettable music video for the toe-tapping single "Being". In this mini creature feature creation, girl meets boy...well, more like "boy"...with quite the unexpected, parasitic twist. "Being" offers one alien-like concept and marriage between musicality and visuals we promise you won’t soon forget! They say love is blind and this music video pushes that theory to its limit. Time to fall in love and check out Maria’s pick below! "February – the month of Valentines, romance and cheesy love.... Yeah... not exactly! Enter: the guys from Oh Yeah Wow, determined as ever to show us stories with a twist. Who could forget their amazing stop motion meets light with painting masterpiece for All India Radio's Rippled, the seemingly one shot extravaganza for Gotye's Easy Way Out or the (back then!) innovative and cutting edge vfx for Clubfeet's Everything You Wanted? For “Being”, director Darcy Prendergast and his gang push viewers out of their comfort zone with a mind-blowing hook up: a young woman falls in love with a slimy, alien-esque creature. If the Being's gooey eyes and a strong belief in happy endings could actually make viewers think these two stand a chance, rest assured, it all very quickly escalates into an outburst of crazy-ness, blood and monsters. An original take on Alien vs. My Bloody Valentine bound to stun pretty much everybody. Apart from all bizarrities however, the love story does feel incredibly genuine. Everything in the evolution of the characters seems very well thought of and one can actually feel the drama and torment in their choices. Quite remarkable and an ever so impressive accomplishment is also the fact that you could swear there's actually chemistry between Nina (played by Charly Thorn) and the creature. A touch of romance, after all! In any case, a music video that doesn't easily get erased from the memory."  

  About Maria: "Multimedia in Human Form. Media researcher. Journalist. Filmmaker. PR and Social Media Mind. Cinephille. TV Shows aficionado. Books Lover. Music Video guru and former curator of the project"

Featured Animated Short: Life with Herman H. Rott

In a world saturated with new technologies, constantly changing the playing field within the animation industry, it’s refreshing to find something that not only resembles a style of ole but also offers a charming story and set of personalities that feel vaguely reminiscent of TV characters from my youth. Like an odd couple vying for the most annoying spot in each others’ lives, "Life with Herman H. Rott" gives us a rat-cat music loving duo that are anything but normal. Herman is a black rat, large and in charge - a dirty, rough-edged smoker with a penchant for rock music. One day, a quite clean little classical music loving white cat, dainty and meticulous, waltzes through his door with everything she owns, changing his entire world. A battle of space, music, personality and dominance plays out, resulting in an animalistic comedy of errors battle that builds up until it explodes in a very human way. Maybe rat and cat are not so different from each other or from us, eh? Hand drawn on paper and shot with a photo camera, all of the coloring here was done digitally, giving the animation a sort of mid-century, cyan faded film look. There’s a dreamy edge to the film - everything communicated with music and their dueling styles. In that way, the soundtrack is a third character, bringing life to our two characters and filling the void between them with something a human audience can connect with. Something else humans can understand? Well, according to Estonian filmmaker Chintis Lundgren, the rat and cat are stand-ins for how humans function in unhealthy relationships, seeking out the bad guys, forcing them to change, and then moving onto the next challenge when there’s nothing left to manipulate. The nice guys finish last, isn’t that what they say? What doesn’t finish last is this film. A pure gem and true winner deserving of all the medals and accolades it has earned on the festival circuit and online. A funky little animation with a heart of gold and an unexpected ending well worth checking out!  

Must See (PURRRfect) Trailer: KEDI

If you’re a cat person, I’m sure you’re familiar with the thousands upon thousands of online cat videos at your disposal. Heck, if you’re a hardcore cat fan you’ve probably seen them all! Sure, bite size viral videos showing cats at their most lovable, their most ridiculous, and their clumsiest are a fun way to pass the time, but what about something with a little more substance? This is where Ceyda Torun’s feature-length debut and ode to all things cats “Kedi” comes in. The documentary zeros in on just a handful of Istanbul’s surplus of street cats, proving that they are much more than a novelty or Youtube video fodder. Through captivating vignettes, Torun brings life to these cats, their human friends and the soul of Istanbul. The film is currently playing in select cities and is continuing to role out nationwide. Check here for screening times/locations and make sure to check out the cuddly, furry trailer below! 

Featured Short: Young-wook Paik’s SEOUL TOUR

Chances are, if you've had a problem, someone else has lived through that very same issue before. It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and the embedded drama that seems to exist there from birth. Friendships, relationships, sickness, the list goes on. Sometimes, the entire spectrum of problems conspires against us to create one giant life-questioning headache. “Seoul Tour” is a short film that tells the story of one night between friends that, while yes, becomes a massive headache, also transforms into a rather unforgettable experience. We follow two unsuspecting friends that get a little more than they bargained for as they try to help a drunken friend find his way home after a night of consoling and drinking. The hours that follow morph into an unplanned night tour through the streets of Seoul, Korea - a city that becomes a vibrant character all its own. What if helping your friend means testing the limits of that very friendship? Would you do what it takes to make them better even if it means severing ties in the end? Under the cover of the night, it seems many things, both magical and terrible, are possible! In director Young-wook Paik’s beautifully shot, down to Earth film, he takes the story from over the top drama (born from one too many drinks) to honest, relatable dialogue. Quick, quirky shots are intercut throughout the heavier situations, making the relatability always a touch fun. Appreciating the foreign perspective makes the whole experience of watching this short that much more unique. You see, we’ve all been there before - too many drinks, lost love, annoyance, reemerging memories. “Seoul Tour” then becomes a microcosm of both the everyday and the slightly bizarre nature of life. And isn’t that what reality is all about? Get acquainted with an up-and-coming talent from Korea that has become an Indie Street favorite. While you’re at it, make sure to check out Young-wook Paik’s “One Shot”, a short about a brokenhearted man that gets a do-over thanks to his friend’s mysterious alcoholic elixir. 

Featured Animated Short: THE ITCHING

We’ve all been there. The outsider looking in. Vulnerable, anxious and lost. Will they like me? Do I look okay? Why did I say that? They're all looking at me weird. Everyone hates me. Why did I even bother coming? I’ll be alone forever. Ah, the semi-familiar downward spirals of questioning, confidence, and identity crisis. Don’t pretend like it hasn’t happened to you, too. Being ourselves while trying to adapt comes at a price - a price we all pay from time to time. This is where “The Itching” comes in. Director Dianne Bellino and Adam Davies' claymation fairy tale of woodland creatures attempts to follow these scenarios, showing us the story of a shy wolf that wants to befriend a hard-partying, hipster group of…bunnies. Yes, bunnies! Sweet, cooler than you bunnies. However, being a lone wolf amongst a crowd of what you would expect to be dinner morsels isn’t easy. You see, our little lady wolf starts to find that her body is revolting against her environment. In the form of a deep, evolving and desperate itch. Why? That’s up for interpretation. But remember: Facing a crowd that’s different from you is hard. The spotlight is often too hot, too bright, too overwhelming. So, how far will our pretty wolfy go to get rid of her mysterious itch? You gotta watch to find out!It's also worth saying here that the old school claymation style used is a refreshing marvel. The creatures literally say nothing and yet all the while, silently communicate with their eyes, small movements in their fur, and through slow, long shots of reflection. Bellino and Davies give their characters time to feel and this is how we are drawn in. No words - just what we see and infer. The itching here is both grotesque and beautiful - a swirl of rainbows and confusion. If you don’t feel a bit uncomfortable at some point during the film, the itching effect reaching through the screen and taking hold, then you, my hip little friend, have thick, confident skin. Either way, get some pointers and watch this fairy tale of vulnerability, acceptance and friendship now on Vimeo! And face it: we’ve all been wolves at a party of bunnies at some point in our lives. 

Mindflix Helps You Navigate Netflix With Your Brain

Over here at Indie Street, we practice a very indie audience-minded form of curation to make sure you don’t have to shift through a bunch of noise in order to get to the quality stuff. However, giants like Netflix, which offer thousands of genres and films - both good and….questionable - can’t be as geared towards a specific type of viewer. You can spend a lot of time rifling through titles when you could have been using that time to actually watch something instead. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a way to skip the scrolling and synopsis reading and just get to the watching action? Well, engineers over at Netflix might have found a solution in Mindflix, a sensor headband which reads your brainwaves. When wearing the prototype headband, Netflix users can browse the application without a remote control or anything! All you need is a (working) brain. With that, you can select a movie or TV show just by thinking. Mindflix works by detecting activity in your frontal lobe. The headband was successful at the company’s annual Hack Day but there’s no word yet on market release. Here’s to the future and perhaps Indie Street mind-reading headgear one day?! Until then, learn more about Mindflix by watching the video below! 

Featured Short: I think this is the closest to how the footage

There will always remain traces of the deceased, elements that testify that a life did exist, that deeds were enacted, and struggles engaged in or evaded. Archives are born from a desire to reassemble these traces rather than destroy them.- Achille Mbembe As a medium capable of manipulating and being manipulated, film simultaneously boasts an ability to portray reality while also having a knack for fictionalizing fragments of truth. Archival film/video, a source of falsities and actualities used to materialize past stories and nostalgia, is a good example of the bipolarity of the moving image medium. Things remembered are kept in the light; things forgotten are pushed into darkness. Without light, we have no ability to create or experience film. We have no ability to be enlightened by its complexity.Most archived film/video is conserved, preserved for an unknown future. However, in the insanely affecting and haunting experimental short doc “I think this is the closest to how the footage looked” the footage [in question] recorded of filmmaker Yuval Hameiri and his family on what was to be his final day with his mother, was supposed to be instantly cherished. It was created in order to offer the family the ability to revisit a memory that could never be relived. Or could it? We learn, through the use of inanimate objects, that the final footage was lost in an accident that could never put any person at fault. A badly timed rewinding of a tape - just unfortunate happenstance. Because the footage was lost, Hameiri makes sure that every minute is relived, recreated with random objects, possibly to find some tangible moment or fleeting feeling that has been missing for years. He struggles. We are passive. The audience merely watches a new type of performed archive created for the sake of healing and understanding. We watch silently, comprehending the pain through a multi-layered sense of analog creation. The video tape, the reenactment - all analog, all real. A truly physical sense of trying to put your finger on a life no longer there. It’s hard to describe a film of this type simply because I found it hard to watch. I constantly felt like I was in a place I shouldn’t be. A Peeping Tom. Yes, it’s beautiful and yes, you should absolutely find a quiet, peaceful moment to watch, but be warned: the film is unforgiving in its grief. Truly, Hameiri's film is as real as it gets. Feelings stripped raw. I’ve never experienced anything like it. You’re there and yet you’re far away from it. I’m thankful for this film. For the way it made me feel, cry and understand my own past grief as well as that of the one’s around me. Go, hug your loved ones and reflect: is it better to record every moment and possibly lose it or truly live in the moment and never have the chance to visually relive it again? 

Must See Trailer: Female-Directed Horror Anthology XX

If we’ve learned anything recently it’s that, though life can be rather dark and scary sometimes, there’s always a bit of light that shines through. However, heck, maybe we are up for a little bit of horror! At least on screen. “XX” a feature horror anthology directed by four “killer” women and some of the genre’s most promising new voices (including musician Annie Clark, AKA St. Vincent), debuts at the Sundance Film Festival tonight! The collection of horror films promises to challenge the status quo within the industry by bringing some amazing, inspiring female voices to the director’s chair. Turn out the lights, get under the blankets, check out the trailer below and get ready to be spooked in only the best way possible.