Saturday, February 09, 2008

Beloit International Film Festival Day 4

Day 4: Sunday, January 20, 2008

Our last day of films; a sad day, as it was last year. Fortunately, the movies were good today.

Found in China
A very well-done documentary, especially considering it was by a first-time filmmaker. Parents who've adopted children from China head back, with their children, to explore their childrens' origins and original culture. Terrific interviewing and editing made this a well-structured, interesting and informative film.

It's Happiness: A Polka Documentary
Terrific fun about the world of polka, efforts to keep it alive, and the fascinating characters who love and support polka: a blind collector with an astonishing collection of music and a long-running radio show; teenage polka dancers who love the dance and music; and a marketing maven who lobbies continuously for polka, and appeared at the end of the film to talk with us.

Short Slot 3
And as the festival began, so did it end for us: with short films.
Real Men: a guy tries to convince his friend to help convince HIM that he's not gay. Funny.

Moviebonics: Jehovah's Witnesses or some such wander into the home of people who only speak in snippets of famous dialogue from movies.

West Bank Story: a wonderfully well-conceived and -produced musical comedy, as the son of the owner of the Kosher King fast-food restaurant in the West Bank falls in love with the daughter of the rival next-door Hummus Hut. Great fun, well done.

Guide Dog: a wonderful animated short about an aspiring guide dog who just can't seem to keep his blind clients from being horribly injured and killed.

Equal Opportunity: a funny short marred by sound problems, which is unfortunate because it relies on quick verbal exchanges. Coworkers of various ethnic backgrounds greet each other in the lunchroom, using every racial and ethnic stereotypical description they can think of.

How Many Doctors Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb? A woman is having gynecological examination, and the bulb on the exam lamp burns out. The doctor doesn't know how to fix it, so he calls in a colleague, who doesn't know either, so they call in another... and another...

Three-Fifty: a guy attempts to weasel out of paying the $3.50 late fee on his video rental return, only to discover the cosmic ramifications of the lie for his future and his happiness, as determined by the video store's omniscient computer system. A very good short film - the amusing opening premise quickly spirals into surreal panic, deftly and engagingly, and I found myself drawn into imagining what I would do or say in the same circumstance.

Validation: a cute play on words (a parking attendant who validates parking tubs also "validates" the parkers' lives and personalities) blown into a mini-film.
And that was all for films. Sadly, we didn't get to see New Glarus this year, although I did pick up a four-pack of New Glarus "Unplugged" Smoke on the Porter.


  1. Melinda11:04 AM

    Hey Erk -- thanks for mentioning our short film on your blog! you can stay tuned with our news at
    I couldn't make it to the festival, but we sent an intern and she LOVED it!!!!!! Melinda

  2. I neglected (in my fatigue over documenting ALL the films we saw) to write that Three-Fifty was a very good short film - the amusing opening premise quickly spirals into surreal panic, and it does so deftly and engagingly - I found myself drawn in and imagining what I would do or say in the same unbelievable circumstance.

    In fact, I think I'll edit the post now to say that, since Melinda was so kind as to write.