Yesterday afternoon, at the end of the gloriously sunny three-day weekend, I stepped out of SIFF's Fly Filmmaking Challenge (at which local filmmaker Bao Tran was a standout) and bumped into SIFF artisic director Carl Spence. I mentioned that, as a SIFF jury member (for the short film selections) this year, I was hoping it would start raining so I could dive into the huge stack of short-film DVDs I had to review and vote on. Carl said, "Yeah, you have a ton of films to watch before Sunday." Yeah, a ton, I repeated. But I hadn't really calculated exactly how many were in that ton. So, I calculated. As of yesterday afternoon, these were my findings:
I had 7 days (the jury has to watch all the short films and pick the winners in three categories--narrative, documentary, and animation--before Sunday at 8pm) to watch over 100 films totaling 19.4 hours. Approximately 20 hours of film-watching over 7 days might not be too tough, until you factor in the portions of said 7 days that must be devoted to sleeping and a full-time job. I figured I needed to watch three hours of films upon getting home from work every night this week (as well as during the day Sat and Sun).
After some mild freaking out and paralysis, I popped in the first of two DVDs last night (SIFF has helpfully grouped the short film showcases into themed 90-minute sets). It was a collection of the short films that are running before some of the feature films and had a couple of quite good films (including one with zombies), as well as one awesome one (can you say, Bog man?). I took a brief laundry break and got right back into the second DVD—featuring shorts grouped under the theme, "Survival Kit." Without giving too much away, my notes say, 1. "Really great." 2. "Pretty but wha' happened?" 3. "Sad but eh." 4. "Nice but goes nowhere." 5. "Supercool in the beginning, then lost interest." 6. "Cute. Too cute?" 7. "Sunny then holy-crap scary. Is the ending earned?"
This is going to be tough.
But there's no time for whining. I have three more hours of shorts to watch tonight (and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next...).