While Day 6 of the Nashville Film Festival got underway at noon, I have to admit I’m looking forward to the 2:15 p.m. collection of shorts titled Dark Futures. This collection of five film shorts ranging in runtimes from six to forty-six minutes share the common genre of Science Fiction, but that’s where the similarities end. Up first is ADAM-The Mirror, with a seven-minute runtime, its an animated sequel to 2016’s ADAM from Canadian filmmaker Neiil Blomkamp.
Created using the Unity 2017 game engine, a popular animation tool used by video game animators because of its ability to mimic realistic human movement. ADAM-The Mirror picks up where last year’s ADAM left off with an amnesiac hero who awakened to find is fleshly body no longer as he has somehow been reborn…or should I say reanimated in a futuristic robotic shell. In this installment (there’s already a third, ADAM: The Prophet in the works) Adam, voiced by Jason Cope, best known as Captain Chamberlain in TV’s Black Sails, continues to search for clue to his identity and former life. The short also features the voices of Ken Lawson, Coulton Jackson, Alyson Walker, Viv Leacock and Dalton Brownson.
HYBRIDS, a French animated short with a runtime of 6 minutes is next. Directed and created by Florian Brauch, Kim Tailhades, Mathieu Pujol, Romain Thirion and Yohahan Thireau, a group of students from Motion Picture in Arles (MOPA), a computer graphic school focusing on 3D animation, the film became their graduation project. The film presents a gorgeously realistic looking animation that supposes marine life adapting to and actually morphing into pollutants in their surroundings as the rules for survival change. The fact that there’s no dialogue adds to the surreal believability that your watching some sort of futuristic creatures, rather than animated creations.
Metta Via, a ten-minute short directed by Warren Flanagan and starring Stacey Armstrong and Rylah Hynes, begins with a young woman waking up in a futuristic temple-like room where she must figure out what her purpose is. Flanagan’s name should be familiar to true sci-fi aficionados as his impressive resume (and IMDb page) list among his credits, concept artist and/or illustrator for such blockbuster films as The Revenant, Star Trek: Beyond, Man of Steel and Godzilla. Metta Via marks Flanagan’s directorial debut and the decision is already paying off, considering the film was recently honored as Best Picture at the New York Film Awards. In addition the Metta Via, Flanagan recently completed concept art for the upcoming Godzilla: King of the Monsters and is currently is part of the creative team on Netflix’s popular Neil Patrick Harris vehicle, A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Rakka, also from aforementioned ADAM-The Mirror director, Blomkamp, has quickly become a favorite of sci-fi fans in part because it stars Sigourney Weaver! In fact, at one point Blomkamp had been named as the director of the next Alien franchise installment, but Fox unceremoniously cancelled those plans, so Rakka, a three-part alien invasion story just might be fandom’s closest next-best-thing. Chapter 1, titled World reveals a future Earth under attack by technologically advanced reptile-like aliens known as the Klum who can control any human who makes direct eye contact with them by way of some telepathic power. Chapter 2, Amir & Nosh introduces two characters played by Eugene Khumbanyiwa and Brandon Auret, respectively. Nosh is a bit of a roque with a penchant for pyromania whom the resistance members find they reluctantly need. Meanwhile, Amir, a mute with cybernetics across his head and upper torso, escapes captivity from the Klum, and thanks to the kindness of Weaver’s Jasper is released into the custody of resistance member Sarah (Carly Pope). Chapter 3: Siege finds Jasper, Sarah and Amir in the thick of things as a face to face confrontation with the Klum comes to a head…so to speak.
Cocolors, a 46-minute animated feature from Toshihisa Yokoshima, best known for his work on 2004 video games Mega Man X Command Mission and Mega Man X8 concludes the sci-fi block with a story of a futuristic world where humans have been forced to cover their faces and bodies with masks and protective suits to avoid the constant rain of dark ash that burns the skins and meals away the flesh.
As mentioned in my Day 5 preview, a special big screen screening of the cult classic romantic comedy, Harold and Maude was part of Monday’s offerings at the Nashville Film Festival. Something I failed to mentioned, the screening was paired with Hal, a new documentary about the film’s director, Hal Ashby. Ashby also garnered praise and success with Shampoo, Being There and Coming Home. Even so, he’s not as well known as some of his contemporaries. Director Amy Scott’s documentary sets out to reveal Ashby’s art versus commerce nature with the help of interviews and commentaries from folks running the gamut from Jane Fonda and Dustin Hoffman to Judd Apatow and Ashby himself.
The King, screening at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening finds documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki setting out on a musical road trip in Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce during the 2016 Presidential election. In the clever doc, Jarecki compares Elvis’ transition from country boy to The King of Rock ’n Roll to that of America’s loss of democracy and simultaneous rise to an empire. Featuring interviews and appearances by actors Alec Baldwin, Ethan Hawke & Ashton Kutcher as well as political commentator James Carville, country music industry icon Tony Brown, musicians Chuck D., Emmylou Harris, & Radney Foster, and even former Elvis girlfriend Linda Thompson, the film should prove to be a favorite here in Music City. Filmmakers from The King will be walking the Red Carpet at 5:30 p.m., prior to the film’s screening.
As always, as Nashville Film Festival continues, there are many many other choices besides the ones highlighted in this preview. Click Here to view Tuesday’s full schedule or to purchase individual tickets. Tickets to each film or group of shorts are $15 (Members may purchase tickets at a discounted rate, while Festival pass holders may attend for free as part of their Festival Pass perks) Click Here for details about VIP Laminates.
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Be sure and check back tomorrow morning for details about Day 7. In the meantime, you can always follow my personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I’ll be checking in from time to time direct from the festival thru May 19!