Fantasia has some wonderful shorts on show this year, and luckily for us, they have grouped some into series; the first one that we are covering is the Born of Woman series that has eight great short films from female filmmakers. So let’s get into the films!
Lucid – Director Deanna Milligan – 17 mins
A 1990’s art student must create a self-portrait for her classmates that ultimately reveals her true heart’s enchantment with the grotesque.
An utter joy from beginning to end, perhaps due to my art school background, there is so much to enjoy in this black comedy about self-identity and expression. Mia is a lost soul with a complicated background, with Caitlin Taylor doing very well to convey her ranging emotions as she tries to come out of her rut. So when she finally accepts who she is and what she can do, we get a truly wonderful finale—a great film from Milligan.
Inheritance – Director Annalise Lockhart – 14 mins
A black family strive to shield their rural Vermont home from the eyes of ghosts that surround it.
One of the shorts here could easily be stretched out into a feature film. A lot of intrigue fills “Inheritance” as Annalise Lockhart builds her world for these characters to reside in. There are a lot of things to enjoy here, with the small touches of having the ghosts all be white as they haunt the family. The fact that the elder members of the family know of their existence etc. Everything is so strong here, from the cinematography to the performances. You cannot help but be impressed, and as said, you wish this was a longer film due to all of what works.
(KWÊSKOSÎW) She Whistles – Director Thirza Cuthand – 12 mins
An indigenous woman searching for her missing mother takes a late-night ride home when she discovers the driver has ulterior motives.
I have been in some uncomfortable taxi rides in my time, but nothing quite compares to the experience that Sera-Lys McArthur’s (check her out in Don’t Say Its Name) character experiences. All of the fears a woman can have are brought to the screen here in a realistic situation. As the film ventures more into the supernatural, you find yourself urging our protagonist as this monster has previously. From what I understand, this is the basis of a feature film that Cuthand has in development, which, considering what is presented here, should be a great flick.
Victim No.6 – Director Nancy Menagh – 22 mins
A serial killer stalks 1975 NYC. That’s not going to stop New Yorkers from having fun in this largely bar-set short. It’s a groovy time. Just be careful who you leave with.
Nancy Menagh utilises atmosphere so well in her 70s set film. The smoky bars bring you into the period with ease as we witness the worries etched on people’s faces of the serial killer roaming the city. No one trusts anyone, and as one character finds out, it is probably best not to keep drumming on about the killer if you are trying to hook with someone. The dynamics between our two leads is strong, and it allows us to feel safe for some time, though we, like the citizens of New York, do not know exactly who to trust. Menagh does very well with misdirection on a few occasions, and as we reach the finale, you realise how well executed the film is. Actress Heather Brittain O’Scanlon does exceedingly well as our lead, and Menagh manages to step around all of the usual tropes you would expect in such a film, one of the standouts from the showcase.
Dana – Director Lucía Forner Segarra – 18 mins
An assault victim (Thais Blume) becomes the avenger of battered and molested women across town, walking the streets in search of aggressors, taking back the night in blood.
“Dana” has one of the most delightfully bloody montages in today’s list as our avenger takes out her anger on all of those men who keep adding to their criminal record. Yet it is the little touches that bring the most joy; as blood splatters all over the place, we see a clever technique used for not only the almost victim but for Diana herself to protect herself. Running the tough line on whether or not to cheer for this vigilante who is saving women from a horrible fate, we are left with a solid short that leaves you wanting more.
Other Bodies – Director Alyssa Loh – 10 mins
A series of interpersonal misreadings bring a young man’s suppressed inclinations to the surface.
Beautifully shot and edited, Other Bodies is full of disturbing atmosphere as we listen to Ian Cramer’s narration. With some exquisite shots throughout the runtime, this is a short that will stay with you due to how effective it is. For all of the greatness in Izik Alequin’s cinematography and Alyssa Loh’s editing to perfectly move onto the next frame, it is the filmmaker’s writing that entices you into this world. We watch the visuals but get more and more captivated by what is being said by the softly spoken Cramer. Again, a short that truly stays with you.
The Expected – Director Carolina Sandvik – 15 mins
A pregnant woman has a miscarriage in her bathtub. Her partner struggles to care for the skin that remains.
This rather haunting stop motion body horror surprises you right away. Much like “Junk”, you just don’t see something like “The Expected” very often in this type of animation, and with such a narrative, a heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach remains for the 15 minutes we watch. Watching this man overcome with grief struggle as he does is horrifying as he effectively leaves his partner to fend for herself, left to be a witness to his accidental neglect—a wonderfully nuanced and fantastic film. A must watch.
A New Perspective – Director Emanuela Ponzano – 18 mins
A boy playing in the forest comes across terrified people of a different race amid nightmarish circumstances.
Simply put, this is an excellent short from Ponzano, who utilises time to the fullest extent to allow the audience to realise that no matter how much we try to break away from the past, rarely does anything ever really change. As we see anguished face after anguished face after each circumstance in this forest, you become haunted like our lead does at the pain these people go through. A fantastic film that captures the pain of segregation very well. One that stays with you a little longer than you want it to and a perfect way to cap off the showcase.
Born of Woman will be showing again on August 19th 9.00AM EDT here
For more of our coverage of Fantasia Fest 2021, have a gander below! We will update each day!
I am but a small website in this big wide world. As much as I would love to make this website a big and wonderful entity. That would bring in more costs. So, for now all I hope is to make Upcoming On Screen self-sufficient. Well enough to where any website fees are less of a worry for me in the future. You can support the website below…
You can support us in a variety of ways (other than that wonderful word of mouth) and those lovely follows. If you are so inclined to help out then you can support us via Patreon, find our link here! We don’t want to ask much from you, so for now we have limited our tiers to £1.50 and £3.50. These will of course grow the more we plan to do here at Upcoming On Screen.
Thanks for reading, every view helps us out more than you would think (we have fragile egos). Until next time.