DIFF Documentary Review: ‘Documentary Short Films’

The Dallas International Film Festival is a great place to catch up with those hard to find short films. It’s not unusual for short films to be later developed into feature films, but regardless, the short film format requires a unique skill set for writers, directors and actors. A connection must be made immediately with the viewer because there is no time for gradual acceptance or interest.

Short films come in three flavors: live action, animated, and documentary. Below is a recap of the six documentary short films at this year’s DIFF.

Crooked Candy (USA)
Directed by Andrew Rodgers. Kinder eggs are illegal in the United States as they are considered a choking hazard for kids. However, this collector has hundreds of the miniature figures/toys thanks to decades of pursuing the eggs through his global travels.

(The And) Marcella & Rock (USA)
Directed by Topaz Adizes. A couple face off against each other with some extremely personal questions. In a matter of minutes, the audience is as uncomfortable listening as the participants are in revealing very private thoughts.

Spearhunter (USA)
Directed by Adam Ruffman, Luke Poling. The story of Gene Morris who successfully fought to get spearhunting approved as an acceptable form of hunting in Alabama. Guns and bows lacked the challenge that Morris desired. We even visit his legacy – a Spearhunting museum that houses some of the trophies from his 592 kills. His ex-wife labels the late Mr. Morris a serial animal killer.

Master Hoa’s Requiem (USA)
Directed by Scott Edwards. Master Hoa was one of the hundreds of thousands who fled South Vietnam by boat in 1975. In the process, he lost his family. We see how he re-established a new life, and we go with him on a heart-breaking search for the graves of his family.

Cast in India (India/USA)
Directed by Natasha Reheja. Have you ever noticed that the manhole covers in NYC are stamped “Made in India”? Ms. Reheja noticed and thus began her journey to foundry where the bronze plates are crafted. It turns out these are highly skilled workers who take great pride in their work, face labor union issues, and sacrifice their hands, feet and backs for the manually intensive manufacturing process.

The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul (Australia)
Directed by Kitty Green. We see a stream of auditions from girls of various ages wanting the highly coveted role of the Ukrainian legendary figure skater Oksana Baiul – former World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist.

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