The Vern looks at some shorts from the 36th Annual MSPIFF

Hello everybody.

It’s been a very hectic few weeks for yours truly and for this  post. I wanted to focus on a collection of short films I saw at the  36th Minneapolis St. Paul Film Festival. Brought to you by the Minneapolis Film Society As of right now, I’m currently fighting a cold. So my latest episode of Film Pasture covering films for the fest will have to wait.  But they will post soon.   Now on to look at some shorts.

Minnesota Made

There were a series of shorts that were made in my small town

Illegal Aliens –  Directors Justin & Kristin Schaack

The story of this is set at a town hall and the citizens have a lot to say about the illegal alien problem that has taken over their small town.  Now by aliens, I’m of course talking about the ones that actual come from outer space,and not actual human beings.  I love how the filmmakers of this take shots at both sides of the issue,no matter what your beliefs are.  There is something for everyone to enjoy about this short

One of my favorite moments in the short comes at the end credits.  The Mayor of this town is a big fan of an 80’s sitcom that’s  in the style of Perfect Strangers( I wish I remembered the name of it).  The lead actor coming to town was a huge deal for the mayor and at the end of the feature they play the end credits for the fictional show that he is a fan of.  It’s just a really nice touch for a really clever and funny short film

**** out of four stars


Icebreaker  – Director Carrie Bush

Planning a date is never an easy thing.It’s even more difficult when you are one of the lucky ones to live in the Midwest and it’s 20 below 0.  For this short, two friends decide to meet up for a few drinks.  Now it’s unclear if these two are romantically involved,but that aspect doesn’t really matter.  It’s showing the difficulties of trying to have a social life despite the bad weather that makes this one shine.

**** out of four stars


Fine –   Director CB Jacobson

This one plays out more like a monologue telling the thoughts of a young girl as she deals with social anxiety.  She talks about all the pressures many girls her age deal with  and for the most part it’s good.  It’s clear that she has all of this weight on her and all she can say is that she is fine.   I have a friend who has social anxiety and I’m sure she can relate to many things on here.  It could be just be me,but I deal with my social anxiety a little different.   I tend to not hide that I have it because sooner or later,they’re going to find out.  Say it loud, say it proud.  I’m socially awkward but I still like myself.

The actress who does the monologue is really good and I think the message the short displays is also good, but it goes on longer then it should.  This short should only be 3 – 5 minutes max,and it goes way beyond that

*** out of four stars


Legend of Cyrill – Director Beth Peloff

This animated short tells the story of a woman and her cat.  There is really nothing else I remember about this except that she lives in a furnished church basement and that her cat was almost killed by a larger animal but then escaped.  The animation looked like the ones you can do by yourself with Apple laptops and even though it’s not at all fluid.  The artwork looks  good

**  out of four stars

The other films not made in MN

Stay and Run – Director Liam Hall

The concept of this short is so basic yet so clever. I’m kind of surprised that no one has made it into a feature.  Especially after other meta horror flicks like Scream and Cabin in The Woods.  This one focuses on a couple who argue about if someone should stay or run when confronted with a horror movie scenario.  The man thinks it’s best to stay and fight while the woman  thinks it’s best to run and hide.    When her best friend fails to call her back from the shelter that is nestled by a body of water. This couple will discover who they really are

This is one of three shorts I want to see expanded into a feature film.  There is a lot more that can be done with these characters, and there is room to put in a lot more humor that pokes fun at the tropes associated with in the genre

**** out of four stars

3 Way (Not Calling) – Director Molly McGlynn

In this short,a couple wants to bring in a 3rd wheel for some extra riding in the bedroom.  This very adult premise has a very innocent approach to the material.  It almost feels like this was a scene from a sitcom that  is just missing the laugh track.  I can’t recall seeing any swinger couples on television unless it was an expose on the news.  It’s really funny and kind of endearing to see the lighter of this subject.

This is the other short I want to see expanded into a series.  I hope the filmmakers will start this up because I would subscribe

**** out of Four

Business – Director Kati Skelton

A guy gets a job from a rich tycoon to make sure his wife’s feet remain clean.  He messes up ,and the rich guy gets mad.   That is really it, I can’t say anything else really happens. This had the potential to be like one of those great but odd skits you’d see on Kids in the Hall or Mighty Python.  However there isn’t anything really there.  It had some great potential with it’s style

*  out of four stars


Stuck – Director Mathijs Geijskes

A couple’s attempt to get out of a car that has been flipped upside down is the premise of this short.  They both seem like the ones who love and support eachother to help get them out of this mess.  But as the story progresses, you see that’s not the case.   They begin to loose their cool more and more as they both realize that they are far from anyone who can help them

I really loved the concept of these two characters trying to help the other turn more into helping out themselves.  It’s just the film never fully goes that route as it should.  This could have been a really good dark comedy about wanting to do the right thing for the person you love but ultimately just looking out for yourself

**’s out of four stars

Roger – Director – Brendan Cleaves

A man goes for a ride with his best friend only to find out he has to sit in the back because Roger a ventriloquist dummy called shotgun.  This is a short that doesn’t do anything really clever with it’s premise.  They try to play it off as it was a joke and his friend was faking it, but oh wow.  It turns out he wasn’t faking it and he believes the dummy is real.  The only movie that tackled this subject right was Lars and The Real Girl.  This was just hollow.

No Stars

Redmond Hand, Private Dick – Director Todd Selby

There was a show in the 90’s called Liquid Television and it featured some of the best animated shorts ever made.  It was the place where Aeon Flux and Beavis and Butthead got their start.  I fully believe that if that show was still around.  This short would be on one of it’s episodes.  The plot is standard, a private eye has to retrieve something in order to have the beautiful blonde have sex with her.  Yet the backgrounds and some of the props all  look like they were animated by hand.  It’s bizzare but a fun  watch.  I would like to see more shorts for this PI and it’s the 3rd one I mentioned I would like to see exteneded

*** and a 1/2 *s out of four stars

If you want to get more info about these shorts visit the page about this one by clicking here   Thanks for reading

About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcasts The Film Pasture, ScreenTrax, and soon Cinema Recall. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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