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The American Short Shorts, an acclaimed festival featuring short films of promising filmmakers in her third year running has for the first time moved beyond the shores of Japan to Singapore. Together with this movement, the Singapore version includes works from Japan, Iran and Germany, totaling close to thirty short films screened over four days. The acclaimed works featured included the likes of Tim Burton’s Vincent, Academy Award nominated Seraglio and Jason Reitman’s In God We Trust.

Held at Singapore’s own Home for the Arts – The Substation, the cosy screening theatre brought the short films closer to the audience, making a great impact on the minds of the audience. Thought provoking, short and sweet. Never underestimate the power of short films. With different films screened on different days, each day brings a new combination, a new experience.

Jason Reitman’s humorous In God We Trust brought the house down with protagonist Robert’s attempts to make amends in his life when he realises that he didn’t make the score to go to heaven. With a sense of irony, a coin brings about humorous and outrages outcomes, all leading to entry in heaven. So remember to do lots of dancing (shows that you appreciate life, plus you get loads of points for it!) and look at both sides in the street when you’re crossing.

German Marc-Andreas Bochert’s Kleingeld saw a peculiar relationship between a businessman and a beggar. Reflecting ideals on responsibility, dignity and perhaps good will, it looks at humans and their complicated relationship. And how amidst the rat race, we have forgotten how to deal with human links. A reflection of man kinds’ development in the complicated world.

Animation was also featured in various short films. Japanese Tomoko Goushi’s Too Young saw a pair of lovers who expressed their love in the most unusual manner (good tips for treatment of your ex though). Stefan Gronsky’s The Box gave the audience insights to life, relationships and situations. Using the same technology as Toy Story and Star Wars Episode 1, the antics of a blob with a box that flew out of the sky drew interesting comparisons to humans.

So while we wonder and pondered on the messages of the short films, director Jason Reitman was present to answer questions and doubts about his piece of work. Questions ranged from inspiration for In God We trust to Jason revealing his initial aspiration in life, a rock star until he realised that he can’t sing. Directors Sam Hoffman and Michael Horowitz were also present on other nights to participate in the short question and answer session.

This event has inspired the Singapore Short Shorts. As the name suggests, it is the Singaporean version to the American Short Shorts. With an awaken local film industry, many young talented film makers will be vying to get their work featured in the local version which would be held next year.

Looking at how things are going, perhaps there should be Short Shorts in every country and like the Olympics, the best will gather at the International Short Shorts where the world’s leading filmmakers showcase their work!

Inspirational films allow us to see the light. Numerous thoughts race through our minds as we try to recall scenes from the films, trying to digest the explosion of ideas. So let your ideas run wild, write your script and start filming. What are you waiting for?

American Short Shorts Film Festival
Date: 11-14 July 2001
Place: The Substation, Singapore

Text: Fann ZJ From npsea Enterprise

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