This year at HollyShorts, one of the more anticipated blocks of films seemed to be the Romantic Comedy Block. With nearly a dozen films on display, it was a pleasure to get to see the wonderfully hilarious and heartwarming films that appeared this year.

Fanbase Press Contributor Russ Pirozek reviews several of the films from the HollyShorts 2016 Coming of Age Block.

Fanbase Press Contributor Russ Pirozek reviews several of the films from the HollyShorts 2016 Musical Block.

There have been so many wonderful films at this year's HollyShorts Film Festival, but the second Documentary block had some of the most moving films of this year's festival. These documentaries, while short, were incredibly powerful and very entertaining.

This year's HollyShorts Alumni block had a huge variety of different films of all genres. This selection ran the gamut between funny and scary, heartbreaking and powerful, and everything in between.

It’s impossible to talk about this movie without dealing with its considerable baggage, so let’s start unpacking.

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I saw The Legend of Tarzan on opening day. I didn’t know if the CGI would be cheesy, if Alexander Skarsgård was the right choice for the lead role, if they would put Edgar Rice Burroughs’ beloved book through a wood chipper, or if Margot Robbie would get along well with the phrase “period piece.”

What would you do if you found out you were dying? Would you extend your life by any means possible? Or would you make the most of the time you had left? That’s just one of the issues raised by the short film Beautiful Dreamer which had its west coast premiere recently at Dances With Films.

When I talked with writer/director Alicia Slimmer at the Dances With Films festival about her movie, Creedmoria, she told me it was uplifting. Given the plot synopsis, it was a little difficult for me to believe. From beginning to end, the story is full of tragic events and terrible people. Even while watching the movie, at times, I wondered how a film like this could be considered uplifting, when it puts its protagonist through such hell. Yet somehow, uplifting is exactly what Creedmoria manages to be. Because the focus isn’t on the tragic events or the terrible people. The focus is on rising above those things and realizing that that’s not all life has to offer.

In recent years, there’s been a bit of a stigma against clowns. Rather than the traditional portrait of funny, friendly, silly caricatures whose main goal is to make us laugh, they’re most often portrayed as grotesque, evil monsters. I’ve never liked this hostility towards clowns, particularly since I used to perform as a clown myself, as did my mother. Fortunately, it would appear that I’m not alone in my views. Karen McPherson, the writer/director of the short film Pop, feels much the same way and said so during a Q&A at Dances With Films, where the film screened recently.

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