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HollyShorts 2016: Friday Block I – Film Reviews

While there wasn’t a major theme to the Friday blocks of this year’s HollyShorts, there were still plenty of amazing films to see and enjoy.  With only a few films in this block, each is an incredibly special look into the creativity of some terrific filmmakers.


This film focuses on the incredibly hard realities of being visually impaired. Dots is a beautiful look at a young woman as she attempts to learn to live her life without her sight. She travels the city, collecting new things as she identifies them by touch, smell, and taste. It’s a gorgeous look at the struggles and hidden beauties of living with a disability.

Directed by Chen-Wen Lo, it’s heartbreaking and powerful, and wonderfully directed.

I Gun, Vol. 1

This is one of the shortest films of the festival that I’ve seen, but it was also one of the most entertaining. It takes on two very powerful aspects of life as it currently stands: the prevalence of gun ownership and the app-ification of nearly everything. With everything moving into the digital age, the idea that an app could exist that allows your phone to function as a working firearm is terrifying and almost plausible. While short, the film hits its point very well, adding a bit of entertaining flair to what is basically one of the scariest aspects of technological evolution.

Directed by Sunghoon Kim, it’s a quick, entertaining look at the current state of affairs and an uncomfortable future.

In Pursuit

It’s an action movie staple: The heroic police officer, while chasing a criminal, has to commandeer a car to bring them to justice. What we never see, however, is what happens to those whose car gets taken? Now we do, as In Pursuit  follows a young couple who is just moving into a new city as their car gets taken by a pursuing police officer. Now stuck in a new city and without anything they own, the couple must find their way to the police station to recover their vehicle . . . by any means necessary.

Kevin Mead directed a very unique spin on an old tradition and did so with style and flair. It’s a fun and ridiculous look at the other side of a situation.

Like a Butterfly

The legendary Ed Asner takes a page from his own book as he plays an old Hollywood legend in the hospital, visited only by a young actor who finds himself with a connection with the aging star. With things looks bleak, their bond grows deeper as Joe (Asner) finds himself in deteriorating shape.

Written and directed by Eithan Pitigliani (with additional help from Alessandro Regaldo), it’s a touching story, with an incredible performance from a legend of show business.

Red Pearl

In the near future, space flight has become an even greater journey than ever before, with travel to Mars becoming one of the prime destinations. A young woman from Nigeria is given the opportunity of a lifetime, as she gets to travel to Mars and uses this journey to tell the story of her mother and honor her memory.

This film has a terrific performance from Uju Edoziem, and writer/director Wayne Slaten has crafted an incredible story that was one of the major favorites at this year’s festival.


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