Documentary Shorts Program 2
There is a lot of excitement floating around here at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The streets are full of talk about all the films that are playing and people are lining up to get their hands on tickets before they sell out. Although getting tickets for the film of your choice is proving to be quite difficult, I am so glad I was able to register for some short films before arriving. The short films here at Sundance are sometimes forgotten about, but deserve much more attention. I’ve seen a total of 3 shorts programs and have enjoyed all of them for different reasons, but the shorts documentary program 2 that I saw today has been my favorite so far, and it wasn’t just because I got to see Robert De Niro. The documentary shorts program 2 had a total of three films. The first, I Think this is the Closest to How the Footage Looked, directed by Yuval Hameiri and Michal Vaknin was a touching and creative film about a personal experience of Yuval Hameiri. Yuval’s mother was very ill and his father had spent some time filming her the day before she passed away. The day after Yuval’s mother had passed, his father picked up the camera again to film the empty space where she had once been, but had not known that Yuval had rewound the tape in the camera so his father was unknowingly recording over the footage of his wife’s last day alive. This short film was an attempt at recreating the footage that was deleted and Yuval used inanimate objects to represent each person in his family. It was a unique portrayal of what the footage had looked like, but even though you may suspect that the use of objects instead of people would add a sense of detachment to the film, it was actually very engaging. We got a quick glimpse at the 3-4 second bit of footage that remained from the last day of Yuval’s mother, but he provided it to show the contrast between the real thing and what he had managed to recreate and how his recreation can never be as satisfactory as the missing footage. This short received the most emotional audience response during the Q&A than any other I have seen so far. One women in the audience revealed her personal story which resembled Yuval’s and brought tears to the audience’s eyes.
The second film in the shorts program, Notes on Blindness, directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney was another emotional film that put visual images to the audio tapes of a blind man. Through striking images and brilliant audio tracks the film depicts some of the internal struggles that occur to a blind man. The final short in the program was Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr., directed by Perri Peltz and Geeta Gandbhir. This film was a beautiful ode to Robert De Niro Sr.’s life as an artist with personal commentary from his son, Robert De Niro Jr. who also helped to produce the film. The film really made you reflect upon the significance of names and how it’s determined which ones are worth remembering. The film discusses Robert De Niro Sr’s profound influence on a number of artists during his time and how he never truly received credit for all he had done. The use of old recoreded footage of the De Niro family gave the film a more personal feel to it and this along with many other techniques that were used kept the audience engaged the whole way through. I have been pleasantly surprised by all of the shorts so far and am looking forward to seeing more soon!