The Satellite Short Film Festival, which showcases at various British Columbia venues during the month of March on a touring exhibition, celebrates multiculturalism through cinematic and other art forms. This moving film festival offers the opportunity for British Columbians inside the more rural areas a chance to see something above and beyond the typical Hollywood blockbuster. It does, in fact, allow opportunities for filmmakers to have an outlet to share their work and provides exposure that may otherwise not be readily accessible. The films displayed in "Little Armadillos", a 59-minute collection of shorts, consists of a hodge podge of all different filmmaking styles including animation, computer graphics, and live action. The festival promotes cultural diversity, however the finished product seems to be lacking a cohesive focus and the films themselves have a scattered or unfinished quality. It is as if there are experiments of ideas, fragments of thoughts, and a slice of perspectives, but more so, each film on display offers a sense of individuality.
The collection begins with the title film Little Armadillios, a light and fluffy musical number aimed at children. This 5-minute film by John Forrest explores the microscopic world before us. This childish song and dance felt more like a Saturday morning cartoon interlude that one would expect to see in between two programs of larger substance. The basic animation and repetitive theme song subtracts from an otherwise all right idea. Following this rather disappointing start is Katrin Bowen's Almost Forgot My Bones. A poem set to downtown street-life imagery, it illustrates one African Canadian woman's desire to seek connection with her heritage, personal image, and sense of self. It is a fluid collage of lyrics and pictures, painting an interesting portrait of a woman's struggling to find herself. On a similar note, Lisa Jackson's Suckerfish is a courageous journal outlining her quest for personal identity while battling issues concerning independence and loss. It unveils the sensitivities surrounding a troubled relationship with her mother and the revelations that surfaced. Regarding journeys of the heart, Jesse McKeown's The Big Charade is an intense story with an innovative, entertaining concept told completely within the confinements of a colorful 6-minute trailer. It provokes the audience to crave the presentation of an entire full-length version. If you didn't know better, you may think that McKeown's feature film is set to release in the near future.
Man Feel Pain, directed by Dylan Akio Smith, which won the Bravo!FACT Short Cuts Canada Award at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival, is an unfortunate story of a Jesus-like figure who takes on the weight of people's own pain by inflicting pain upon himself. Although conceptually strong, Smith's direction and approach left a lot to be desired. At 11 minutes, this short could have been -even- shorter.
Included within the screening package are I Am Indigenous, Julie Austin's 2-minute take on a familiar Canadian commercial; Gale Noonan's More Sensitive, which was a lively, upbeat jazz number paired with unique animation; A Fortune in Frozen Dim Sum; and My Old Man.
The Satellite Short Film Festival is presented by the Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society, a not-for-profit charitable organization which promotes and actively encourages the production, distribution, and exhibition of Canadian independent media artwork. The festival is running Wednesday, March 9th @ 9:15pm at the Pacific Cinematheque, located at 1131 Howe St. in Vancouver, BC. The package will again be screening on Tuesday, March 15th @ 7:30pm at the Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Ave., in North Vancouver, BC. The last screening will take place on Saturday, March 19th @ 7:00pm at the Beaver Point Community Hall in Salt Spring Island, BC.
Mark McLeod has always loved film. In addition to his roles with ShowbizMonkeys.com, Mark also works on many film promotion projects in Vancouver, BC, through his company, Mark McLeod PR.