Reel Reviews: Shortly, about movies

By on November 8, 2017

A preview of the Lancaster International Short Film Festival

The Lancaster International Short Film Festival kicks off this Thursday, and if you are anything like me you had no idea this event is now in its 10th year.

Started as the Rumschpringe Short Film Festival in 2008, the event has grown to accepting international submissions while also showcasing work from many local filmmakers.

Past local winners were recently on display as the festival hosted a preview of sorts during the Outside The Box Film Festival, held Oct. 24 at the Lancaster City Elks Lodge. The event showed six short films, all with roots in Lancaster County.

My favorite film wound up being the last movie of the night. I was glad I waited to see “Man With Puppet” by Alexander Monelli. The nine-minute documentary won two awards at last year’s festival, Best Documentary and Best Home Grown award.

“Man With Puppet” details the life’s work of Robert Brock. Brock is the mastermind — artistic director, founder, scriptwriter, marionette maker, box office attendant, and custodian — of Lancaster Marionette Theatre (formerly known as Hole In The Wall Puppet Theatre). The film beautifully captures the behind the scenes workings of the area’s only such theatre, while giving the viewer a deep (yet brief) glimpse into the life of Brock himself. What Monelli captures in nine minutes is a lifetime of dedication, creativity, and emotion.

“I always wanted the theatre,” said Brock in the film. “And I always knew I would live above the theatre.”

Back in the makeshift movie theater of the Elks Club, “Man With Puppet” was preceded by two comedies, “Roller Coaster” by Bradley Hawkins, and “Life Stats” by Jason Bartch. “Life Stats” was filmed in Lancaster County and featured recognizable landmarks like Route 222 and Bard’s Hardware in Leola; the film won Best Home Grown (Comedy) in 2014.

Two animated films were shown. The cult space-hero “Atomic Robo: Last Stop” was brought to life by Joseph Krzemienski and Jeff McComsey of Lancaster-based, independent animation studio The Fictory. The duo also presented a futuristic gunslinger in “American Terror: Company Man.”

The evening started with a showing of the film most likely to become a feature: “Carry Me Home.” The 23-minute, well produced short tells only a portion of Harriet Tubman’s real-life story of bringing slaves to freedom. Filmmaker Joshua Henry is currently shopping the film to production houses in hopes of making a full-length film.

Coming attractions

The Lancaster International Short Film Festival opens Thursday at 7 p.m. at The Candy Factory, 324 N. Queen St., Lancaster, with “Reverse Psychology” by Canadian Maria Buono. The eight-minute comedy is described only by: A mentally ill patient violently resists getting any help from his therapist. Films from the U.K., Japan, Sweden, and Austria follow.

The highlight of the event will come in the form of a horror. On Friday night, after the festival’s horror selections (which start at 9 p.m.), fans of the post-apocalyptic will be treated to the premiere showing of Reel Splatter Productions’ “I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday.” Filmmaker Mike Lombardo warned those in attendance to not expect a funny slasher flick. This “nihilistic tale of survival during the most wonderful time of the year” has caused viewers to leave the film crying.

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