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Inside Out Short Film Screening

Last night I went to the Inside Out screening of audience favourite short films at the Al Green theatre at the JCC.

Now, you know I love me the short films, and the screening last night did not disappoint.

The first film shown was Hate - a black and white short that slowly, almost painfully, examines the body of the filmmaker as he shares his dark comic humour in voice over.

Who's the Top, written and directed by Jennie Livingston, is a complex examination of love and sexuality in a lesbian relationship and the imagination of her protagonist, Alixe. In both black and white and colour, the film uses broadway dance sequences and outlandish costumes during the sequences in the confused mind/heart of Alixe, who likes her girlfriend, Gwen, but needs something a little more for sexual fulfillment. It's a testament to the director to seamlessly weave between extreme fantasy and very realistic scenes without jarring the audience or changing tone. The cast includes Marin Hinkle as Alixe, Brigitte Bako (of the mediocre g-spot), proving that she's excellent when not trying to be funny, and Steve Buschemi being awesome, as per usual.
If you get a chance to see this, do. And keep an eye out for an uproarious moment from two blink-and-you-miss-them actors in the scene in the sex shop. Dildos have never been funnier.

Drag Rock Movie is a very short, beautifully shot film where some dude rocks out on the mic, looking all MTV cool, and then, punchline.

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PROM-troversy, another star-studded short, is a moc-doc on the life of 'the lesbian' in high school (played by the incredibly adorable Heather Habecker) who is unexpectedly asked to prom by her attention seeking, typical popular blond girl next door neighbor. Antics ensue (provided in part by the fabulous Jane Lynch). The ending makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

If the Shoe Fits was the only real disappointment of the evening. After watching films produced with plenty of money, talented actors, and beautiful or inventive cinematography, If the Shoe Fits didn't really have a chance, which is unfair, because it just didn't have the same kind of resources as the evening's other films. The plot is basically what happens when a k.d lang fan gets a pair of the singer's boots on e-bay. The acting was flat, no one told the camera person to never, ever shoot a light source (ie a window) with a digital camera, it was improperly miked, and the writer thinks watching someone lip sync is funny. With training or practice, the screenwriter, director, and actors could all improve, and I hope they keep at it, because they got something done and out, which is the most important thing. The rest comes in time.

Hitch Cock is a send-up of Alfred's film conventions, beginning with a cleverly edited hello to Rear Window (suddenly that sounds dirty). The actors capture their stereotypes to a tee, and the cinematography matches the theme. The joke (how many times can you say 'cock'?) gets a bit old by the end, because too much time is spent building tension, but the charades game certainly elicits a chuckle.

Running Without Sound was a quiet piece about a deaf high schooler on the track team, who starts to realize his feelings for another boy on the team (with, incidentally, beautiful, long eyelashes). The sound design was lovely, focusing on background sounds since so much of the communication between the boys was non-verbal (anyone with deaf friends will recognize the little frustrations and techniques used to communicate). And the moment when the boy and his friend are alone together in the friend's room is almost excruciating in it's restrained, subsumed emotion. I hope to see more from Judd King (director).

Solo is an animated short film homage to lesbians of Toronto. No dialogue, just music. A simple story of a woman going to a dance club and doing her thing. It would have been funnier and more effective if it were a bit shorter.

Irene Williams: Queen of Lincoln Road is a loving documentary made about a denizen of Miami's infamous Lincoln Road. The film chronicles director Eric Smith's nine-year friendship with Irene, who caught his eye with her home-made, bright and garishly-brilliant clothing. Her ensembles and conversation are delightful, as is Eric's clear adoration of this bright older woman. It is a bit long, but one can understand Eric's reluctance to cut anything.

Inside Out has programs, events, and funds available throughout the year, so keep an eye out. And, as executive director of the fest Scott Ferguson said last night, "I encourage you all to come out."


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