The Next Part, by Erin Sanger
So many of the images of veterans in our society are idealized, heroic portraits that in spite of their good intentions create more of a distance between American soldiers and the civilians they have sworn to protect. Erin Sanger’s film is the rare film that emphasizes the human strength of a wounded veteran over the superhuman feats of combat. There is even some warm humor to be found in this story of a double amputee and his wife’s struggle to readjust, along with the great potential for joy.
One Year Lease, by Brian Bolster
Brian Bolster and Thomas Harrington had a crazy landlady. She would leave voicemails late at night and early in the morning, about everything from garbage bags to the well-being of their cat. And so they saved these hilarious messages, added them to footage of their life in the apartment and edited it all into one of the best documentaries at the festival.
Optical Sound, by Elke Groen and Christian Neubacher
With Optical Sound, Austrian filmmakers Elke Groen and Christian Neubacher take a cryptic soundtrack and give it an even more mysterious life through a series of enigmatic and colorful images. Sharing a strange spiritual connection with the throbbing animations of Norman McLaren and others, this is one of the most viscerally interesting experiences of the festival.
The Pink Helmet Posse, by Benjamin Mullinkosson and Kristelle Laroche
Bella, Sierra and Rella are a trio of 6-year-old girls with an overwhelming passion for skateboarding. All in pink, they are determined to take on the world and some day conquer the X Games. In the meantime, however, they’re the subject of this delightful documentary. Benjamin Mullinkosson and Kristelle Laroche find just the right tone, highlighting the admirable dreams of these girls alongside the cute frustrations of 6-year-old life.
Scratch, by Philip Kelly
They make good short films in Ireland. Scratch is an absurd, fast-paced comedy set in a small town gas station. Everyone knows each other here, which makes it a bit awkward when someone tries to rob the joint. It’s somewhere between Clerks and the dark comedies of Martin McDonagh.
Sker, by Eyþor Jovinsson
Iceland is a gorgeous and, apparently, very dangerous place if you don’t pay any attention. Sker is the story of a hapless adventurer who decides to head out onto a skerry in the middle of a fjord, a dangerous place to dawdle given the incoming tide. Soon the gorgeous images give way to impending doom, concluding with just the right dose of that morbid Icelandic sense of humor.