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A Short Posting on Short Films at the NYFF

A Short Posting on Short Films at the NYFF

I’ve missed one or two of the shorts, and there are still three to go, but with the exception of Cary Fukunaga’s Victoria Para Chino, which tells a full and fully horrifying story of a deadly migrant border crossing – its economy by no means compromising its intensity or importance – I’ve found nothing of note. Which is a nice way of putting it. Seems the primary qualification for acceptance was high production values: shot on film, shot to look “professional” for future employers, and well-funded (and often shepherded by influential academics at influential academic institutions). Furthermore, most are “topical” or flatly localized in an early nineties issue-oriented way that also bears academic fingerprints. Is this about poor selection by the NYFF committee, or about a thoroughly professionalized film school food chain? Probably both, perhaps more the latter (for film isn’t the only art form getting declawed by academia – witness the way writing and fine art making have become degree-only fields, for example), but I find it hard to believe that no one’s making brilliantly self-contained or deliriously odd-ball or rigorously experimental short films and sending them the NYFF’s way – whether or not they were graded or workshopped well or submitted with a glowing recommendation from an advisor. Why not throw a curveball the Good Night, And Good Luck audience’s way, and advocate something unique and alive, something respectful of and turned on by the short form?

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