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Friday
Jun082018

What Happened to Samuel? Media Day Puts Horror Films, GDPR and Ice Cream Habits in Focus

Guest Filmmaker Samantha Tan attends Media Day. Photo by Dan Barends.Kicking off a weeklong Anniversary celebration, I hosted a meetup in May with Philly media and guest filmmakers, to preview the 2018 Short Film Slam. Following a chat about the pros, cons and hiccups of blogging platforms including Blogger, Squarespace, WordPress and Ghost, attendees were treated to a mix of trailers and full length shorts from Rounds I through III.

While media makers enjoyed the unique perspectives showcased in all of the films, shorts leaning toward the horror genre sparked the most discussion. In the suspense thriller, Samuel’s Got a Sweet Tooth directed by Angel Rosa, a strict disciplinarian delivers a sinister tale of her son's late-night penchant for ice cream. Media Day attendees disagreed with the momma character's rigid house rules for little Samuel, with whom they collectively empathize while watching this film. "I don't think I've ever eaten ice cream BEFORE 7pm," says Sarah, a local marketing and entrepreneurship maven.

See 'Samuel's Got A Sweet Tooth' directed by Angel Rosa at the 2018 Short Film Slam, Presented by The Madlab Post.Jacob, a local University student, also jokingly suggested that product labels be placed on ice cream containers to warn Samuel of potential side effects such as "this product can cause upset stomach and death."

 The chills continued with My Bedroom, an experimental horror film directed by Temple University student Samantha Tan who was also in attendance during Media Day. An Official Selection of the 2018 Short Film Slam, presented by The Madlab Post, My Bedroom is about a young girl named Emily who wakes up in the middle of the night because of the noises in her bedroom.

Sound design became a central focus after the screening, as Tan discussed her love for playing with sounds; choosing to utilize her strengths in post-production after deciding to shoot the movie without showing the main characters' faces. Tan’s use of voiceovers, sound effects and strategically placed human figures were some of the characteristics I like most about her film because it took a different approach to the horror genre; there is no one identifiable villain, running around stabbing, slicing and dicing people up.

See 'My Bedroom,' an experimental horror film directed by Samantha Tan in the 2018 Short Film Slam, presented by The Madlab Post.A viewer also commended Tan's approach and pointed out how horror films containing a lot of gore lessen the scare factor; whereas My Bedroom resonates with that terrifying feeling toward the unknown.

In addition to being nominated for a WILD CARD Award, Tan's film later prompted a discussion about dreams as Media Day attendees shared their own experiences with the frightening feeling of not being able to escape or wake up from a nightmare.

Speaking of nightmares, our topic of the day turned to the EU’s anxiety-inducing General Data Protection Regulations (otherwise known as GDPR) and its enforcement that went into effect last month. GDPR has become a major headache for bloggers, e-commerce businesses and even filmmakers who are still figuring out how to adhere to its tedious, confusing and time-consuming compliance demands -- so as to prevent having to deal with hefty fines up to 4% of a company’s annual global revenue OR €20 million (whichever is higher).

Discussing films, GDPR, dreams and nightmares at Media Day hosted by The Madlab Post. Photo by Dan Barends.I even considered just blocking the European Union altogether from my mailing lists, blogs and related online activity where data collection and management is involved. That was until Sarah reminded me of my Switzerland ties. 

Olivier van der Hoeven and I need to have a talk because this relationship is not exactly working for me right now. Although the topic of GDPR was an unexpected turn of events, this part of the Media Day discussion was quite enlightening and productive as attendees learned about a lady who developed resources that can get people up to speed on becoming GDPR compliant.

As it turns out, blocking the European Union may seem like a viable solution in theory but not the best in practice. Especially since that’s where a lot of the best films in the world come from such as Short Film Slam Finalist Just Go!, which was a favorite among Media Day attendees including photographer Dan Barends. In this action film, directed by Pavel Gummenikov, a young man who lost both his legs in a childhood accident comes to the rescue of the girl he loves when she is victimized by villains.

Attendees also appreciated the video presentation given by writer-producer G. Robert Daily, who introduced his comedy film Caregiver Wanted. Made in California, Daily's film is about an elderly man who had a stroke and is looking for a caregiver, yet, verbally attacks the candidates he interviews for the job.

See Julien Jennequin's French horror film Le Grand Show (The Big Show) at the 2018 Short Film Slam, presented by The Madlab Post.French filmmaker Julien Jennequin's Le Grand Show (The Big Show), a fantasy horror film about a family's tug of war over their TV, took an unexpected turn for Media Day viewers including one who commented on how the film became really political.

Attendees also noted how much they liked the acting performances in Cindy’s Birthday Party, a horror film directed by August Aguilar. Made in Philadelphia, Cindy's Birthday Party is about a child named Jonas who is the first to arrive to a birthday party and begins to worry when he notices there are no other children, decorations, and the party is in the basement.

Beyond witnessing how audiences responded to the dozen films on view, highlights of the day were learning more about what went into making My Bedroom directed by Samantha Tan, meeting new people and providing local media makers with networking opportunities, and a good time.

A fireside chat about sound design and voice acting with 'My Bedroom' director Samantha Tan. Photo by Dan Barends.

There are many great short films that people near and far have been missing out on…until now.

Want to watch these (and more) award nominees during the Short Film Slam, presented by The Madlab Post? CLICK HERE to be notified when the next screening is playing near you!

 

What is one of the scariest dreams YOU’VE ever had?

What concerns do YOU have about GDPR and how it can affect YOUR blogging, filmmaking or business activities?

Monday
Apr092018

Announcing the Short Film Slam Finalist - Round 1

Kicking off the Short Film Slam at the Sci Fi Center On behalf of participating filmmakers, audiences, venues and as writer/editor at The Madlab Post, I am happy to present the Finalist and Movie of the Month for Round 1 of the 2018 Short Film Slam.

 

Finalists advance to the next round of competition and are eligible to compete for the BEST SHORT FILM Award in the final round, with a total prize of $1,000.

Filmmakers whose works are chosen as Movie of the Month win one of several non-cash prizes like the filmmaking publication of their choice, marketing support, or a subscription to Vimeo Plus.

Before announcing the Round 1 Finalist, I would like to thank The Sci Fi Center for a fun Kickoff screening in Las Vegas! I met some cool people there who were glad to discuss their favorites among this ecletic lineup of short films, including rare titles.

 

'My Bedroom' Director Samantha Tan at the Short Film Slam.I would also like to thank Temple University student Samantha Tan for an enlightening Q&A session at the screening in Philly; where she gave audiences further insight into the motivations behind making her experimental horror film My Bedroom

 

Now let's take a look at the nominees for Round 1 Finalist & Movie of the Month....
Straight out of The International Film School of Paris, Temple University and Montgomery Blair High School, the nominees among STUDENT films are Blessed Days directed by Valentina Casadei, My Bedroom directed by Samantha Tan, and The Fabric of America directed by Alyssa Berrios and Ghandi Bridage Youth Media.

 

'Blessed Days' Directed by Valentina CasadeiIn the short drama Blessed Days, An unexpected dream brings an 85-year-old lady to relive the last moments of life at an art museum with her deceased husband.

 

'My Bedroom' Directed by Samantha Tan

 

In the exprimental horror film My Bedroom, A young girl named Emily wakes up in the middle of the night because of the noises in her bedroom.

 

'The Fabric of America' produced by Ghandi Bridage Youth Media

In the short documentary film The Fabric of America, A high school student explores the direct influence and impact that our immigration system has in Montgomery County, Maryland.

 



 

Hailing from Lativa and Australia, the nominees among INTERNATIONAL films are Just Go! directed by Pavel Gumennikov, Big City directed by Jordan Bond, and The Morning After directed by Leanne Mangan.

 

'Just Go!' Directed by Pavel GumennikovIn the Action/Drama Just Go! (inspired by an incredible true story), a young man who lost both his legs in a childhood accident comes to the rescue of the girl he loves when she is victimized by villains.

 

'Big City' Directed by Jordan Bond

 

In the short drama film Big City, a lonely taxi driver is befriended by a passenger who tries to coax him out of his shell.

 

 

'The Morning After' Directed by Leanne ManganIn the short drama film The Morning After, A backpacker wakes up in a rice paddy field in Cambodia with no knowledge of how he got there, what happened the night before, or where his girlfriend is. 

 

 

Representing the states of Colorado and California, the nominees among films MADE IN AMERICA are Colorado Counties: A Journey in Watercolor directed by Ronnie Cramer and Grant Me Hope in 5 Minutes directed by Sherry Wang.

 

'Colorado Counties: A Journey in Watercolor' Directed by Ronnie Cramer

 

In the documentary Colorado Counties: A Journey in Watercolor, a man travels by foot, Jeep and a Harley-Davidson to paint scenes in all 64 counties in Colorado.

 

 

 

'Grant Me Hope in 5 Minutes' Directed by Sherry WangIn the Sci-Fi/Action short Grant Me Hope in 5 Minutes, a good robot goes to battle with an evil robot, to protect an Alien princess.

 

Coming from Spain alongside a Chicago-bred filmmaker who moved to China, the nominees in the WILD CARD category are SAVE directed by Iván Sáinz-Pardo and What I Hate about Myself directed by Ben Mullenkinson and Bobby Moser.

 

'Save' Directed by Iván Sáinz-PardoIn the horror film SAVE, A baby breaks the silence between an estranged couple.

 

'What I Hate about Myself' Directed by Ben Mullenkinson and Bobby MoserIn the documentary film What I Hate about Myself, An 18-year-old Chinese girl enters a televised competition for free plastic surgery, in an effort to look more "Western."

 

Now it is the time to first announce the Runner Up: 
With a total score of 39pts based on audience votes, the Runner Up for Round 1 Finalist is Blessed Days (dir. Valentina Casadei).

 

ALSO With a total score of 39pts based on audience votes, the Runner Up for Movie of the Month is What I Hate about Myself (dir. Ben Mullenkinson & Bobby Moser)

 

I also want to take this time to give a special shout out to Jordan Bond, whose film Big City received 38 points and was just one point away from becoming a Runner Up for the Best Short Film Finalist in the first round.

 

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for...


With a total score of 44 points in Round 1 of the 2018 Short Film Slam, the Finalist is Just Go! (dir. Pavel Gummenikov). With the most points overall based on audience votes, Just Go! is also the Movie of the Month winner and recipient of a one year subscription to Vimeo Plus or an alternative non-cash prize of the filmmaker's choice. As a Finalist, Just Go! will advance to the next round (.i.e. Final Round) of competition where it will compete for the BEST SHORT FILM Award. That officially marks the end of the first round.

 

Most of the remaining nominated films will now move to the Wild Card category, where they will be eligible to also compete for a prize in the final round.  

 

Thank you to all of the audience members who voted on each film in Round 1. Also thank you to the filmmakers for being a part of the 2018 Short FIlm Slam. I look forward to a fun year in short films as we continue to learn how audiences respond to your work. And thank you to everyone around the world who appreciates and supports the art of short films as well as the people who make them. Round 2 is currently underway, complete with thrills, chills and ice cream.

Stay tuned to learn about where and how you can watch these films and vote for your favorites!

Monday
Apr022018

Military Friends & Family Matinee #knightcities #urbanism

Greetings,

I am a Philly native working to improve mental health in East Passyunk, as the next Emerging City Champion. My project is the Military Friends & Family Matinee (MFFM), a short film exhibition in a revitalised school building to promote the psychological well-being of Veterans and their extended network through audio-visual stimulation and team building exercises.

HOW MFFM WILL IMPROVE CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN A NEW WAY

Participants will rotate between display stations within a gallery-style video exhibit where they can perform group activities to review and exchange ideas about growing friendships, resolving conflict and related overarching themes present in the films on view. Snapshots from the exercises will be shared in a virtual online exhibit for Philadelphians to add to the discussion surrounding these themes. This project will provide a positive way for veterans, their neighbors and loved ones to connect over shared experiences through in-person events and interactive discussion techniques.

WHO MFFM SERVES

44% of families in South Philadelphia cite opportunities for social and arts engagement as their biggest need, according to the Mayor's Office of Education. The short film exhibition will operate as a Free activity for active military personel, veterans, their immediate family, guests and members of their support network. My project provides a positive way for community members to interact with neighbors and expand their film palette while developing problem solving strategies that yield constructive results.

WHY MFFM IS NECESSARY

21.3% of adults in South Philadelphia are diagnosed with a mental health condition including depression and anxiety disorder, according to the Department of Public Health. This project will encourage residents in East Passyunk and surrounding neighborhoods to work together to strengthen the community's mental well-being and relationships through their collective cinematic experiences.

Thank you for reading.

- Nicole Ayers

Editor-in-Chief, The Madlab Post

Festival Manager, Short Film Slam & shnit CINEMAS-Philly