Elevate Difference

The Journal of Short Film: Volume I: Fall 2005

The Journal of Short Film: Volume I is comprised of nine films that range from traditional linear narratives to non-narrative explorations to one that calls itself “improvised cinema.” The journal, which was founded to expand the forums available for talented, new filmmakers to showcase their work - much the way writers and poets have literary journals - has grown to include the release of five additional volumes and another in progress.

Many of the films in the premier volume center on interpersonal relationships and intrapersonal struggles. Heidi Mau, the Don Delillo of short film, asks us to examine how we construct our memories in hindsight of events within a visual-media saturated world. Potter-Belmar Labs’ new genre piece reveals the slight of hand tricks used to sell us everything from refrigerators to war. And Jonathan Brough asks us in “No Ordinary Sun,” a film of apocalyptic proportions about a multi-generational father-son relationship, to consider what moments in our lives are lost at great speeds.

While the journal is not specifically feminist many films collect moments of women’s lives into visually stunning narratives, like “Post-Partum,” whose long, still shots and white noise of water sounds lure us into the beautifully told story of the director’s personal history, and “Gravel,” whose mother-daughter tensions play out against the angst of youth and the anxieties of adulthood.

Similar to literary journals, The Journal of Short Film is not for everyone. While viewers may sit well with the brief but haunting “Long Struggle,” a documentary of two Shoshone sisters who fight the government’s claim of eminent domain, movie fans might be challenged by the experimental videos that largely compose the volume’s latter half. Fortunately for film aficionados, anyone likely engrossed discussing Anna Nicole Smith while waiting in line for tickets to James Cameron’s latest won’t be on the list of the journal’s subscribers, a sure sign that this film journal deserves two thumbs up.

Written by: Lacey Dunham, February 28th 2007