SIFF Film Highlights: Documentaries, Shorts and Comedies

Santafe.com - October 12, 2011

"Films like 'Angela' are the backbones of our shorts programs..."

In the days leading to the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (Oct. 19-23), festival co-founder and guest blogger David Moore offers observation and insight into some of his favorite films.

As promised, I'm taking some time to write about selections from this years' Santa Fe Independent Film Festival program. My last post was about one of my favorite feature films from this years' program ,"Happy New Year." Now I would like to take an opportunity to write about some of our documentaries, shorts, comedies, etc.

First up is a little short called "Angela," which will be screening on Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. as part of the "Comedy to Tragedy Shorts Program." Making a short is much more difficult than most people realize. There is less time in which to develop characters, make the audience pay attention to them and most importantly of all, tell a good story; my hats off to director Joel Soh for accomplishing all three within the span of 10 minutes. It's really an accomplishment not to be scoffed at... trust me.

I don't want to give too much away about the film's plot or conclusion, but rather comment further on why I think it is so darn good. Basically, it is a story of a guy who spends his time caring for his wife who has fallen ill. It seems like a terrible subject for a short but trust me, this film alone is almost worth the price of admission. Soh develops his characters almost instantaneously through efficient editing, excellent cinematography and masterful direction of the actors. The dialogue is sparse, yet the film somehow immediately begins to illicit an emotional response within the first couple of minutes and by the the time it's half over, I am actually caring about these two characters, Peter (Erin Cole) and Angela (Shannon Muhs), and I'm not a sappy guy.

"Angela" is an excellent example of what can be accomplished by efficient, editing, good solid casting and most importantly not showing the audience a single thing they don't need to see in order to tell a story. The shots are not too long, the dialogue is not over-dramatic nor is there too much of it and, last but not least, the production value is excellent. Films like "Angela" are the backbones of our shorts programs exhibiting the best of our pool of short film submissions.