I have a task for you, Chattanooga. Much of my time writing for The Pulse has been spent advocating for independent film. I have given you information, times, places and subjects. I have interviewed filmmakers and devotees who are in love with film as a medium. I have prodded and encouraged attendance for events, not only to support the organizations that bring independent film here, but because I know that lives can be enriched by good, thought-provoking, independent film. So, now I have something to ask of you. It isn’t difficult, or expensive or painful. But it is important; not life or death, but a powerful step in the right direction for making Chattanooga a film-lover’s paradise. All I need you to do is buy a ticket.
The Arts and Education Council of Chattanooga is trying to bring us this year’s Oscar-nominated short live-action films to a local screen. These are not the typical Scorsese or Allen fare; “Hugo” and “Midnight in Paris” are wonderful, but they have the backing of major film studios as well as very famous directors and actors attached to them. It isn’t like they aren’t going to make money.
These short films, on the other hand, are from the other categories, categories that aren’t always celebrated, categories with films in them most people never see. These are films that tell entire stories in compact form, films about interesting subjects, told in distinct and entertaining ways, packed into one showing. It’s a miniature festival with only a $9 price tag. I don’t generally include lists in my articles, but I’m making an exception for such an important subject. Here are the films that were nominated (including 2012 Academy Award-winner “The Shore”):
“Pentecost” When Damian is forced to serve as an altar boy at an important mass in his local parish he faces a difficult choice: conform to the status quo or serve an extended ban from his passion in life, football.
“Raju” A German couple adopts in Kolkata an Indian orphan. Their child suddenly disappears and they realize that they are part of the problem.
“The Shore” is the uplifting story of two boyhood best friends, Joe (Ciarán Hinds) and Paddy (Conleth Hill), divided for 25 years by the tumult of “The Troubles” in Ireland. When Joe returns home to Northern Ireland, his daughter Patricia brings the two men together for a reunion—with unexpected results. What happened all those years ago? Can old wounds be healed? The answer is both hilarious and moving. “The Shore” is about one of the small personal reconciliations that coincide with a national reconciliation.
“Time Freak” A neurotic inventor creates a time machine, only to get caught up traveling around yesterday.
“Tuba Atlantic” When 70-year-old Oskar is told that he has only six days left to live, he wants to put things right with his brother, who lives in New Jersey. Inger, a public “death angel” is sent out to help Oskar through his remaining days. A huge horn stands at the edge of the sea, built by the brothers when they were kids. Will its sound cross the Atlantic?
Of particular interest to me is the film “Time Freak.” I have a soft spot for time-travel stories, and I feel giddy at the prospect of seeing one take place in less than 10 minutes. I really think it’s the length that makes me so excited for these films. I’m an avid reader of short stories, and once or twice have composed my own. These are short stories in a different medium. It is a powerful device, one that can really make an impact on the audience. Every scene, every line is packed with importance—the time limitations force the storyteller to work harder to reach the audience.
From Germany and India to Ireland and Norway, these films are guaranteed to entertain and inspire. But the AEC can only bring them here if 50 tickets are sold before March 19. It is up to us. If I had the cash, I’d buy all 50 tickets myself and distribute them on street corners. But my family considers electricity and water a “necessity”—my wife is completely unreasonable on this point)—so I am resorting to the power of the press. Go buy a ticket. You won’t regret it. Buy one for your best friend. Buy one for your sister. Buy one for your postman. Buy one for your arresting officer. Buy one for me. I don’t care who you buy one for; just buy one.
The Oscar-Nominated Live Action Shorts of 2012
9 p.m. $9
Thursday, March 22
Majestic 12 - 311 Broad St.