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A poignant multi-generational slice of life film, The MINORS, written and directed by Robert Machoian, demonstrates how an immensely intimate and spare film can be a perfect selection for inclusion in the festival alongside shorts with wider focus; image courtesy Sundance Institute.

TLC#73: 2019 Sundance Film Festival
Short Film Tour

Hey, Greylock Nation!

This is TLC, Number 73, here at the Greylock Glass. I’m your host Jason Velazquez, and I hope your Independence Day week is shaping up nicely. I am very pleased to say that this episode is sponsored by the Hancock Shaker Village’s Shaker Barn Music Series, presenting The Mammals Saturday, July 27.

Sometimes fantastic interviews just sort of drop in my lap. Fascinating people I’d LOVE to hear from that I know you’ll enjoy hearing from to. Such is the case with Michael Plante, Senior Programmer for Short Films at the Sundance Film Festival. I had the good fortune of speaking with Doug Jones, Director of Images Cinema in Williamstown about the Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour which lands at Images Cinema for one day only — July 4 at 2:30 p.m. Turns out, Doug and Mike are friends from way back. Then Boom! I’ve got one of the countries foremost experts on short films on the line a few days later.

Poster for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Shorts Tour

Not only does Mike Plante share his insights about this years collection, but, through his explanations, gives kind of a mini-masterclass on what makes a for a successful short film. I considered offering excerpts of our talk in this episode, and making the bulk of the conversation available to our paying members as premium content. Then I remembered that Images is screening this 96 minutes of short film heaven for free. So how could I not open the entire content up to the world. The event is presented by the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce and made possible with generous sponsorship by Alton & Westall Real Estate and Burnham Gold Real Estate. So, when you get a chance, let them know you appreciate their Fourth of July Gift!

Now, this interview was slated to be a 20-minute discussion, and it ended up weighing in at about an hour. I could have listened to Mike talk about cinema a lot longer too — he really knows his stuff. But with that in mind, I’m going to end this intro now so we can get on with the show, but remember, the show notes are jam-packed with links to the films, filmmakers and more, including to Mike’s amazing short featured in the New York Times, Op-Doc series.

sometimes, i think about dying
U.S.A., 13 minutes. Directed by Stefanie Abel Horowitz, written by Stefanie Abel Horowitz, Katy Wright-Mead, and Kevin Armento.
Fran is thinking about dying, but a man in the office might want to date her.

FAST HORSE
Short Film Special Jury Award for Directing
Canada, 13 minutes. Written and directed by Alexandra Lazarowich.
The Blackfoot bareback horse-racing tradition returns in the astonishingly dangerous Indian Relay. Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow struggles with second-hand horses and a new jockey on his way to challenge the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy.

Suicide By Sunlight
U.S.A., 17 minutes. Directed by Nikyatu Jusu, written by Nikyatu Jusu and R. Shanea Williams.
Valentina, a day-walking Black vampire protected from the sun by her melanin, is forced to restrain her bloodlust to regain custody of her estranged daughters.

Muteum
Estonia, Hong Kong, 4 minutes. Written and directed by Äggie Pak Yee Lee.
In an art museum, we learn—from outer to inner, from deep to its deepest, seriously and sincerely.

Crude Oil
U.S.A., 15 minutes. Written and directed by Christopher Good.
Jenny breaks free from a toxic friendship and learns to harness her magical, useless superpower.

The MINORS
Short Film Special Jury Award for Directing
U.S.A., 10 minutes. Written and directed by Robert Machoian.
A slice of life about a grandpa and his grandsons, the future and the past.

Sorry! Unable to locate trailer!

Brotherhood
Canada, Tunisia, Qatar, Sweden, 25 minutes. Written and directed by Meryam Joobeur.
When a hardened Tunisian shepherd’s son returns home after a long journey with a new wife, tension rises between father and son.

Mike Plante

Senior Programmer, Sundance Institute, As a film programmer, Mike Plante has worked for film festivals since 1993. He is currently a Senior Programmer for Short Films at the Sundance Film Festival, where he has worked since 2001. As a filmmaker, Plante makes documentaries both as a producer, including Giuseppe Makes A Movie (2014), and as a director.

His short The Polaroid Job (2016) is part of The New York Times’ Op-Doc series. His most recent feature as director, And With Him Came the West (2019), premiered last February at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight and is distributed by Grasshopper Films. In 1998, he started writing and publishing the film zine Cinemad, which continues today as a blog and podcast.  

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Jason Velázquez has worked in print and digital journalism and publishing for two decades. E-mail: editor@greylockglass.com Phone: (413) 776-5125

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