March 26 2009 12:00 AM

East Lansing Film Festival 2009


“24 Frames”

Short Films Program 1, 7 p.m. Friday March 20 Wells Hall, B

Tempers flare, heads rolls and buildings burn when a crew of animators, cartoonists and puppet designers try to make a film together in this darkly comic stop-motion meta-mock-umentary about the dangers of working in stop-motion. —Eric Gallippo

“Ancestor Eyes”

Shows with “My Winnipeg,” 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, Celebration!

Part melodrama, a la the Lifetime cable network, and part American Indian lore, this convoluted story about a mother and her sick adult daughter moves from sentimental to spooky to “what just happened?” —Eric Gallippo


Short Film Program 1, 7 p.m. Friday March 20 Wells Hall, B

Packed with quick cuts, zippy sound effects, and almost too-interesting camera angles, this dark, suspenseful and well-acted short demonstrates a serious dedication to craft and hyper awareness of the influence of MTV on modern cinema. —Eric Gallippo

“Compact Only”

Shows with “Trouble the Water,” 7 p.m. Friday, March 20, Wells Hall, D & 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26, Celebration! Bratty prima donnas, gothic lesbians, munchy-driven slackers, narcissistic players and conceited yuppies convene in a convenience store parking lot for a serious of hilarious events that play heavily on stereotypes. —Eric Gallippo


Shows with “Loggerheads,” 9 p.m. Saturday, March 21, Wells Hall, C & 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, Celebration!

After confessing his love for his best friend of 12 years, Vincent Portal is rejected and decides to move out of his "shit town" to Paris. Once there, Portal mourns his unrequited love and then gracefully embraces his true desires by dressing up like a woman and taking a nice little stroll around Paris.

But, a brush with a criminal and an act of violence shakes Vincents world. Should he have stayed home and repressed himself? Or is his new life in the big city as the true, transvestite Vincent going to come with a couple hard knocks thatll pay off in the end? —Neal McNamara


Shows with “Fresh,” 4 p.m. Saturday, March 21, Wells Hall, C & 3 p.m. Sunday, March 22, Celebration!

Message trumps style in this shameful expos on the electronics recycling racket, in which hundreds of millions of tons of discarded electronics are shipped from the United States to unregulated communities like Guyu, China, in order to save money. In Guyu, laborers hunch over piles of toxic components, burning off unwanted materials and breathing in the fumes at great expense to their health. Huger piles of what isn’t salvaged mark the nearby landscape, releasing lead, mercury and other awful stuff into the water table. While it’s hard to keep up with the messages of a narrator and unmatching subtext, Americans consumers owe it the victims and themselves to endure through this documentary. —Eric Gallippo

‘Even In My Dreams’

Shows with “Loggerheads,” 9 p.m. Saturday, March 21, Wells Hall, C & 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24, Celebration!

This short film shows how sexual fantasies are roused in an elderly man after he spots a leather-clad action figure "Tom" in the window of an upscale sex toy shop. The man dreams of the doll as a life size human coming to kiss him in a dream and hides the fantasy from a friend by telling him hes been dreaming of a woman. The mans dreams get complicated, however, after he dreams of Tom while lying in bed with his deceased wife. "Even In My Dreams" isnt funny, and it isnt sad — it just shows us a "senior moment" that just happens to involve latent homosexual fantasies. It also teaches us that dreams and desires might be better than getting what you wanted. — Neal McNamara

“For a Few Marbles More”

Shows with “My Winnipeg,” 6:30 p.m., Saturday, March 21, Wells Hall, B

When a couple adult bullies kick a gang of marble shooters out of their playground, the kids appeal to their parents for help to no avail before taking matters into their own hands in this Dutch short. With the help of a mastermind mystery kid, the gang ambushes the bullies in a glorious and disgusting revenge scene sure to plant a smile on your face. —Eric Gallippo

“The Gallery”

Shows with “Behind the Wheel,” 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 20, Wells Hall, A

Watching this brief, beautifully shot comingof-age story about a teen who catches a bus to L.A. in search of his middle school crush only to blow all the money he stole from his parents on room service and fine art photography is kind of
like watching “Rushmore’s” Max Fisher Fisher wander around in Sophia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation.”
Also features an excellent soundtrack by lo-fi songster Elephant Micah. —Eric Gallippo

‘Hot Dog’

Short Film Program 1, 7 p.m. Friday March 20

Not being a Dalmatian doesnt deter this scrappy pup from becoming a fire dog in this animated short. —Luke Hackney

‘Hungry God’

Shows with “The Pool,” 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 20, Wells Hall, D & 6:30 p.m. Wednesday March 25, Celebration!

In a crowded, dirty market, a young beggar dressed as Shiva bumps along to the sound of Eastern/new age music, stretching out his empty hands only to be rejected at every turn. Then come long shots of the kid in front of murals of food and the god he’s made up to be and a sequence where men pass food in front of his face as they bring it to the nose of a large idol of, you guessed it, Shiva. The End. —Eric Gallippo

‘Neither Here Nor There (The Waiting Room)’

Short Film Program 2, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 21

David Lynchian hysterics and bemusements riddle this artsy head-scratcher about a woman in limbo between life and death. Set in what appears to be a hospital waiting room in hell, the short is packed with echoed voices, enigmatic dialogue and crazy people. Look for the creepy older lady manically pleading, “Baaaaaby, Jesus.” —Eric Gallippo


Shows with “Pope’s Toilet,” 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Mach 21, Wells Hall, D & 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 23, Celebration!

This slick short will make you think twice about hitting the reset button on any given device.

The formulaic plot involves humans enslaved by computers, their singular task to be the eyes and ears of roboticized pet and people nannies.

Two of the humans discover each other, and an internal struggle of emotions versus programming ensues. Director Dan Trezise has created a crisp, lushly colorful environment that doesn’t immediately smack of CGI fakery. For this alone, the film is worth 12 minutes of attention. —Mary C. Cusasck

‘The Pond’

Short Film Program 1, 7 p.m. Friday, March 20

A pretty short about three young British friends and a mysterious swimming hole, which spawns tall tales, ominous reservations, a friendly wager and an unforeseen tragedy. —Eric Gallippo

‘The Silver Lincoln’

Shows with “Life Penalty,” 1 p.m. Saturday, March 21

When he’s not taking care of his grandma or working, a nerdy coin collector spends his days seeking the missing pieces to his penny collection, including the elusive silver Lincoln, “Rarest Penny in the World.” When he sees a customer at work flash one while making change, he stalks the man until he comes up with the prize, forgetting all other responsibilities in the process. —Eric Gallippo

‘Six Impossible Things’

Shows with “Hedi 4 Paws,” 1 p.m. Saturday, March 21, Celebration! & 1 p.m. Sunday, March 22, Celebration!

A clever short about a clever young scientist and her dim dad, who as hard as he tries (“Hey, I got a pizza”) can’t really relate to his little girl and her robotic inventions. Both actors give great performances in this short that could be a pilot for a smart, family-friendly comedy on HBO. Also featuring great Dinosaur Jr.-esque tunes by Matt Jorgensen. —Eric Gallippo

‘The State of Sunshine’

Shows with “Fire Under the Snow,” 9 p.m. Saturday, March 21, Wells Hall, B

A brother and sister are living in Florida, shipped there from China by their parents who hope for a better life for their children. Older brother Danny works at a Chinese food restaurant, but on the side pimps his sister, Lily, out to local rednecks. But one day a white businessman from Miami injects hope into Lilys life by treating her with a little respect. This film shows the immigrant experience from a totally different perspective and treats its two Chinese ex-pat characters like born-and-bred Americans, scraping by while living in a backwoods trailer. —Neal McNamara