I don't know if any of you were on the South Bank yesterday, but boy was it packed! I only just made it to the festival. I settled down in a packed cinema to enjoy some very good sci-fi shorts. You can see the whole programme here. The first thing that struck me about the shorts programme 2 were the high production values on display, from animation to CGI, they all had the appearance of expensive films, whatever I thought of the story. I had been alerted to the programme by Ned Ehrbar, whose short, 'Bunker' was having its UK premiere. Knowing Ned's work from 'Co-op of the Damned', I was anticipating a good spoof and was not disappointed. Ned wrote and directed a knowingly funny film that doesn't take itself too seriously, much like Ned himself, it must be said. It also had a neat twist, turning the usual sexual politics on its head. Survivors of the apocalypse gather in a bunker to shelter from the nanovirus. There's a gung-ho gun-toting hero, a pretty woman in a tight vest and two orphans of the storm, or are they? No one is quite what they seem...
Of the others, I particularly liked 'Eve', a moving Garden of Eden story, and 'Project Kronos', which used arresting visuals to question the ethics of sending a human brain into space to explore and send back observations via its memories. 'Abe' was truly creepy, a reverse Frankenstein story in which a rejected robot attempts to 'put right' the quality in humans that causes them to reject his love. It seemed to suggest a world devoid of human men, in which women are still subjected to the objectifying 'gaze'. 'Over the Moon' was very funny. The film had a retro look that suited the comedy perfectly. And the closing credits gave you a peek at the FX! 'Europa' didn't work for me, I found it sentimental but was grateful for the necessary grit of a government unwilling to tell its people of the true nature of an afterlife. 'New' posited a world in which cryogenics could give you a second chance at life and was all the more disturbing for being so recognisable. 'I.R.I.S. (by the director of 'Project Kronos' felt like a pitch for a longer film, but was great at rathcheting up the tension. 'A Perfect Soldier' exploited current knowledge of bioscience to great effect.
The films were well received and the fimmakers stuck around after to talk. All jolly good value for a tenner. I only wish I'd gone to see more.