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July 21 at 9:30am

Who Is Making The Best Short Films Out There?

If you were going to give an award to the “Best Short Film Director”, what would be the criteria? I think the director would have to have made at least three shorts. Maybe over a five year period. If a director only has made two shorts, my sense is that they aren’t doing it for the love of the short, but more for their “career”. Three shows a commitment to the form. Making one great, or even two great short films does not detract from the strength of those shorts, but again it does not show the devotion to the form.

Now, as I believe that the dominance of the feature film form is on it’s last legs, and that ending it is TGHOTFOC, I think we will see even more great short directors in the years ahead. Presently though, I am a bit at a loss to nominate multiple directors who have made three or more excellent shorts. Nonetheless, that limitation does not reduce my enthusiasm for my nomination.

I had the good fortune of being asked to be a judge at TropFest NYC this year. It was an incredible program, and in the highlights of years passed, I was reminded of how great Nash Edgerton’s short work is (I also dig his feature The Square). Can you name a filmmaker who has made three shorts stronger than these: [...]


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April 12 at 11:07pm

Good Stories Well Told: “The Square”

I find it very rare that I end up telling stories of movies, particularly short films. That is what happened when I first saw Nash Edgerton’s SPIDER, perhaps my favorite short of recent history. I found myself doing it again when he started making videos for Bob Dylan. This is his most recent video and it, like Dylan’s Christmas tunes, has a good sense of goofy fun — although I miss Nash’s signature mayhem.

I am relieved that Mr. Edgerton’s finally made a feature, because there’s too much story inside it for me to ever tell well. You just have to see it. With no stars, no fancy VFX, just talent in craft, he spins an excellent yarn. Discipline, the avoidance of the unnecessary, the commitment to the declared agenda, has long been one of my favorite attributes in cinema, and this man’s got it. The NY Times agrees (“Mr. Edgerton, with crack timing in the editing room and a sure hand on the Steadicam, is a coldblooded professional. His craft is frightening.”) so hopefully this film will prove that people do care for good movies, even without the hype and star trappings.

As some of you might know from my tweets when I first saw it, I dug this movie. Someone once complimented me for making many films that captured the awkwardness in sex on film as it is real life. Film history is filled with the fluff in both sex and violence. Nash stages fights as the mess they are and it does wonders for bringing us in to the movie and keeping us there. It’s just one in a number of approaches that makes this film work. He makes it look easy — and is not. Still, it makes me wonder why we can’t get noir right. This is good pulpy fun played for real without winks and nods.

Check out the trailer below, and please see it soon, as we have to vote for the work we want with our dollars.


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June 12 at 1:20pm

Great Short Film, but "you always take things one step too far"

Thankfully, there are those among us who always take things one step too far.  It may be difficult for a relationship, but it is one of those things that the internet is really good for.  People always say, in terms of content, the web works for broad comedy and horror/gross out, but equally grabbing is the OMFG vein.

Nash Edgerton’s SPIDER got a couple of exclamations out of me.  And it kept me away from my third cup of morning coffee — which means it is a pretty strong dose.
I got turned onto SPIDER via Scott Macauley at FilmmakerMagBlog.  Or at least I thought I did — Toni Collette actually got their first for me for the video he did of her.  But Scott’s sourced other great work too, and gets full credit to turning me onto the work of Patrick Daughters long before he ever shot a music video.  It was Edgerton’s recent clip for Bob Dylan that initiated Scott’s posting.
Checking out Edgerton’s work I was excited to see he is part of Blue Tongue Films in Sydney.  I had the good fortune of mentoring a feature project of theirs — or maybe just related to them — when I participated in the Aurora Screenwriting workshop earlier this year.  There’s great new work popping up all over.  Here’s hoping everyone keeps taking things one step too far.
P.S.  After I posted this I got a thank you note from my Mom who had just watched it and said that it had produced multiple screams from her.  She reminded me that I repeatedly placed a fake spider in our sugar bowl growing up.  I guess my connection to the work was even more primal than I recognized.


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