From the Archives: A Night of Short Films at the Troc

From the Archives: A Night of Short Films at the Troc

In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it. 

Without further ado, I present to you: FROM THE ARCHIVES.
Originally posted on Cinema76.

Short films have always held a special place in my heart. The very first movie I ever saw in the theater was Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, which was preceded by a short Roger Rabbit film called Tummy Trouble. After this, I always wondered why all movies weren’t coupled with a short film, but as I grew older I realized that Honey was the exception to the rule, and outside of film festivals and Pixar releases, this type of programming is not common at all. My love for the format continues to this day, and be it through an anthology film or an Oscar nominated shorts program, there is still an outlet for short form filmmakers to make quality entertainment on a meager budget. That’s where Shoestring Gold comes in. Shoestring Gold is a Philadelphia-based production company which prides itself on the ability to make a solid film without breaking the bank. Recently, Shoestring Gold completed their latest film Dead Giveawaywhich premiered last weekend as part of a triumvirate of shorts at Philly’s own Trocadero Theater. Let’s take a look at the featured films:

Running the Gammatar (2013 – dir. Joe Kramer) Breaking up is hard to do under any circumstance, but doubly so when there’s a giant, phallic kaiju attacking your city. Following a small group of twenty-somethings as they focus inwardly during a situation that demands strictly the opposite, Running the Gammatar is a romantic comedy first and a monster movie second. It’s also extremely funny and wildly bizarre, even by schlock standards. The effects capture the same lo-fi magic of a Toho production while the script conjures shades of Woody Allen. I wish I had a shirt with the Gammatar on it.

You too can watch this film here.

My You (2014 – dir. Timothy W. Stevens) Two old friends meet for dinner at a surreal, bougie restaurant and declare their love. It’s as simple as that, but much more as well. There are design touches reminiscent of a David Lynch short, although the flourishes are used to evoke a sense of light fun as opposed to paranoia. I don’t want to say to much about what happens, as there’s not much to the story, but I will say that the charm is undeniable, and the design striking. My You does in under 10 minutes what some movies fail to do at full-length: convince me that the two main characters are in love.

Dead Giveaway (2015 – dir. Ian Kimble) We’ve all woken up after a bender and thought, “What the hell did I do last night?” An empty bottle here. A suspicious Arby’s bag there. All clues as to what terrible shenanigans occurred while inebriated. It’s a terrifying moment for anyone, but as long as there isn’t a dead body somewhere, all will be well. But what if there is? When Jill wakes up to find she’s sharing a bed with a fresh corpse, she and her best friend embark on a quest to ditch the body and the blame. Dead Giveaway is drenched in blood and laughs, and as our heroines continue digging themselves deeper into trouble, it becomes more than a fun-house of horror, but also a tale of friendship. Note: if any of my friends are reading this and you wake up next to a dead body, don’t call me. I won’t touch it.

For more information about the film and filmmakers, check out We are told that future screening dates in and around the city are coming soon so check back often and support short film!

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