ATVA Film Reviews 2019

Another year, another night of ATVAs! Air3 Features have again been gifted the chance to review AirTV’s newest short films for their festival happening at the Macroberts Centre on Tuesday 21st at 5:30pm. Film-loving Air3 committee and members have been gathered, and it’s time to see what they thought!

Disclaimer: some reviews mention areas of plot, and are marked for any spoilers!

Je m’amuse – Director: Brice Ledingham

Matthew

To me, the title of this piece sums up how Brice went about making this film – having fun. With no boundaries, he is free to delve and explore topics in new ways from a very obscure and unique medium. This is done well through the different chapters of the piece which gives this film its only bit of structure. Yet in this chaotic and bizarre film I had a smile on my face from start to finish at the daft “in your face” comedy that Brice portrays so well. The pure randomness of the shorts within the film is what makes this piece work so well as it is truly impossible to see where each part is going, and this makes for an interesting viewing experience. On top of this, the animation and entire production of the film is a testament to what Brice can do and is truly an impressive feat.

Rating – 4.5/5

Harry

Overall, a funny collection of sketches. The animations were the best part of this film for me, with some of the other chapters being quite hit or miss. However, that is the nature of comedy like this, and most did make me smile or laugh. I think some could have been shorter to hit the mark more effectively, but what do I know? All I know is that I could have done with seeing fewer JPGs of poo in kettles. And yet, this is what we deserve.

Rating – 3.5/5

Ti

 Mind-boggling is a word reserved for visual experiences such as this. While the film has no rhyme or reason, you can’t avert your eyes from the screen. There are so many different elements coming at you that it is difficult to keep up but the film is a fun watch.

Rating – 3/5

Joshua

Dear Christ this was a good laugh to watch and felt like actually original comedy something we can see has generally gone amiss in recent years. I found myself re-watching it at the end because of how much I joined it. For me the best film of this year from AirTV.

Rating – 5/5

Paranormal Duck-tivity – Director: Cameron Hutchison

Matthew

A humorous short piece that works well as a parody and not much else. Apart from the rubber ducks, there isn’t too much change from the normal generic format and the ducks just aren’t enough to make up for this. The ending itself is also a little underwhelming and feels slightly rushed and less funny than it was intended. However, most of the film still holds up to being funny and it keeps its tone well. Many of the camera angles, as well as the entire cinematography, is very good and this makes up for some of the slack left by the plot. The visual effects were quite well worked considering the limitations that a budget student film has, and it didn’t take away from what else was going on in the shot. I also kept hoping to see all three ducks come out of the portal the right way up and this scene in particular, did make me laugh quite a bit.

Rating – 3/5

Harry

The duck-night scenes had some really nice physical comedy and made me laugh many times. Some scenes seemed out of place to me, such as the scene with a knife – didn’t seem to fit with the plot of the film. The actors played the script well, and it was edited nicely. Overall a fun duck-filled time.

Rating – 3/5

Ti

 What started out as an odd premise, turned into quite an enjoyable little film. The film is lighthearted and funny with the duck stealing every scene they are in.

Rating – 3.5/5

Joshua

I surprisingly enjoyed most of this, the ending was rather weak in my personal opinion, but the sheer daftness of the entire thing overshadowed much with what was wrong with it. The VERY obvious wires were easily ignored when dafter aspects of the film raised it up.

Rating – 3/5

The Great Emu War – Director: Darren Gratton

Matthew

This mockumentary type piece was an enjoyable one to watch as it took the strength of an unbelievable true story and showed why the truth is hard to believe. At many points the actors themselves were struggling to keep straight faces due to the constant deadpan comedy. Some of the Australian accents were a little dodgy but this was more than made up for by the editing in of the old pictures and the introduction’s sound track and sequence.

Rating – 4/5

Harry

Having heard ripples of discussion surrounding this film over the last few months, I had an expectation of what THE GREAT EMU WAR was, and that expectation was Darren Gratton putting people into chairs, making them do horrendous Australian accents, and trying to make each other laugh.

It worked for me. The imagery edited in was funny and kept me from getting bored, the comedic timing was nicely placed, and the interviews made me laugh. I was not expecting that final monologue, but accepted it. Some more variation of framing and scenes would have been nice, but that perhaps would have retracted from Stanislaw Stawowiak’s Best Actor performance. Fuckin’ emus.

Rating – 3.5/5

Ti

A nonsense film from beginning to end but this is meant in the best possible way. The film does what it sets out to do in terms of making viewers laugh. At no point does it take itself seriously and that lends greatly to the finished product.

Rating – 5/5

Joshua

Right first of all – Jesus Christ Stan, please never attempt to do an Australian accent again, I’m not even Australian but I felt personally offended by it. This was definitely an interesting choice of topic to cover, and I thought it was done well but I think more could’ve been done with the EMU itself.

Rating – 3/5

Blood on the Glass – Director: Kate Stone

Matthew

Kate makes a solid effort at a short crime story, that has a plot that really intrigues you as a viewer. The cuts to the flashback scenes are done extremely well and helped raise the whole production to a higher level. The actors did a great job under what appears to be good direction and the set for each scene was one of the best I saw in the of the films in this years ATVAs. However, the ending did feel a little anti-climactic and I felt that there was a lot of tension missing from the film. The last line also felt a little cheesy and out of place but other than this the dialogue was done to a high standard.

Rating – 4/5

Harry
SPOILER WARNING!

I have respect for the ambitious nature of this film, and I like a lot of elements of it. However, many elements didn’t gel with me well, and I thought the ideas and direction clashed in places.

I really enjoyed Brammer’s supporting performance in this film as a serious and genuine officer carrying out the interrogations. The editing worked, and I appreciated the details of the suspect files. The costuming was perfect. However, I think the character of the detective should have had more presence in the film. The idea of placing her as an observer in the flashbacks would have worked for me, but as she wasn’t the one interrogating or hearing this story, I was jarring and out of place for me. She seemed to be the lead, but the character of Sergeant Clark was the true anchor of the film, which confused me.

The final scene revealing Detective Parsons wanting the viewer to solve the case just seemed odd to me, and I wasn’t pulled in by enough details of the case to want to solve it myself. I think BLOOD ON THE GLASS is a well-made production, but I unfortunately failed to be grabbed by some of the respectfully creative and bold choices of direction.

Rating – 2/5

Ti

The film is very reminiscent of murder mystery TV shows such as Midsomer Murders and Death in Paradise. Almost immediately you find yourself fully engaged in trying to figure out ‘who done it’. Overall it was quite enjoyable, tense at times and well filmed.

Rating – 4/5

Joshua

A lot of effort went into this film, I personally love crime dramas but this I felt lacked some aspects of classic crime shows/movies. Not quite my cup of tea but it was obvious the amount time and effort that went into the creation of this.

Rating – 3/5

Fantastic Man – Director: Lauren McAngus

Matthew

Although I’ve seen many sketch versions of the same basic plotline Lauren manages to make it feel slightly fresh by leaning into the flaws of the film and turning them into a great comedy for the most part. The acting of the characters (particularly by Oliver King) was really good and it felt that you could actually see some character development within the short period of time. The overall production of the film is very good, and it relishes within its restraints – despite a few comedic moments that don’t quite find their mark.

Rating – 3.5/5

Harry

Coming out of the trailer for the film, I was buckled in for Daniel Brammer prancing around a forest in spandex for roughly 14 minutes, and was pleasantly surprised by a respectable, nicely-made film and not something Tumblr would have banned by now.

Brammer and King’s performances were easily likable, and there are some great lines from McAngus’s script that make this film very charming. The costuming, hair and make-up were good, especially on Malor’s character. The production of the set was nice. Some of the sound was inconsistent and hard to understand, but I thought the cinematography was very good, with an effectively dramatic use of silhouettes. Daniel’s forest scenes were blatant fan-service, and something I will see every time I close my eyes for a long, long time.

Rating – 4/5

Ti

Funny. The idea of a hero and a villain arguing over past encounters is one that doesn’t really crop up in media so it is quite innovative. The dialogue is akin to arguments between friends or siblings, petty. Overall a fun film to watch.

Rating – 3.5/5

Joshua

Kinda funny and I really enjoyed an alternative look into the relationship between a superhero and his villain, especially the minor roast battle in the middle. Would loved to have seen some more of this or even the potential of a Fantastic Man series – A Fantastic-Verse, if you will.

Rating – 3/5

When The Colour Fades – Director: Marie-Paulin Melzig

Matthew

I have very mixed feelings about this ambitious project. The overarching idea of the story is fantastic and for the most part, Marie manages to tell it wonderfully along with some very beautiful shots and use of colour (and lack thereof). This coupled with some stellar acting from Marie made for a really strong and impressive film. However, at times it felt that it was trying too hard and this made it feel less natural and enjoyable to watch. Furthermore, I still have no clue whether I liked the guitar soundtrack or not. In some of the scenes, it fits in very well and helped further the plot effectively but in times where the plot slowed, the guitar felt out of place, clunky and ultimately drew my focus from the story. Despite its flaws “When Colour Fades” does a great job at tackling a hard, and extremely important struggle that faces society and it explores this both respectfully and effectively.

3.5/5

Harry
(MILD) SPOILER WARNING!

I thought this film was very good. I was immediately captured by its cinematography right away – this is a visually pleasing film the whole way through. It shows a lot of story without words effectively, which is always a difficult task. I think the main issue with the film was its editing, as the flashbacks and cuts were confusing or jarring at times. I also thought the cut to the advert about the Vitamin Happy drug felt out of place cutting from a poster on a wall.

The concept of the medicine mixed with the shots of the coloured glass of water (or vodka, not sure how hardcore this was meant to be) was effective, but I was a little troubled by the themes behind it. Was this meant to be a metaphor for antidepressants, with the concept of someone lending a hand being the true medicine? Or was this about relying on recreational drugs to place a band-aid on a feeling of loss? I’ll interpret it as the latter. Overall, the film was somber, creative, pretty, and generally interesting.

Rating – 4/5

Ti

The film manages, with great ease, to deliver a coherent, interesting and empathetic story through the use of visuals and almost no dialogue. It felt easy to connect with that premise that life loses its lustre when you lose people who are precious to you.

Rating 4.5-5

Joshua

I felt this hit a few spots really well with the aspect of loss and depression, as someone who lost a relative this year I think this may be why I really enjoyed this. The concept was great and pretty simplistic but it worked well.

Rating – 4/5

A Quiet Conclusion – Directors: Paulina Zurawska & Jack Buchanan

Matthew

This was a beautifully filmed piece that conveyed a simple, yet empathetic story which is shot in a stunning setting that Jack and Paulina make the most of with their lovey wide angled shots. The editing (particularly with the colour) helped create and maintain the tone throughout. The high level of production is matched by the genuinely outstanding acting by Toni and Heather (and Sandy) and this helps raise the quality of the film as a whole. The simplistic dialogue, ever-present wind, and the somber ending work magnificently and leave me wanting more. The lack of backstory to this film is what makes it so intriguing and a true student film masterpiece.

 Rating – 5/5

Harry

Well, this is a bit depressing, isn’t it? A Quiet Conclusion is a completely stunning visual piece that makes its setting look completely other-worldly and desolate while still keeping its beauty. I was immediately struck by how extremely slowly-paced the film was, starting with about a full minute of the characters simply walking into frame. While I think this added a lot to the concept of this sad and drawn-out end of the world, I felt it was somewhat too much at times. Heather Bounds and Toni Benedetti-Martin give good performances, and the film has some really excellent sound design, with every little movement and object having clear noise which cuts into the silence of the rest of the world. The dog is good. The cinematography is terrific. Overall an excellent-looking piece showing an end to lives, and possibly the world, in a way it always ends: not with a bang, but with a whimper. Also, thanks for not killing the dog. Means a lot.

Rating – 4/5

Ti

The dull colour palette reinforces the bleak nature of the film. Also, the in-between silence shows how lonely the end of the world could be. The cinematography, shot choice and script were quite good.

Rating – 4/5

Joshua

I personally love Post-Apocalyptic films and the genre as a whole, I thought this was well done and really enjoyed the heaviness of the entire thing.

Rating – 4/5

In Conversation – Director: Ronan Simpson

Matthew

In Conversation is a fantastic film which is directed extremely well by Ronan from start to finish. The first conversation in the film shows this with an interesting shot of focusing on one character whilst keeping the other hidden and this creates curiosity within the audience. The continued motif of the shoe throughout the film also works well to tie the plot nicely together. The actors more than pulled their weight and gave a great performance despite some dialogue which felt a little clunky. Furthermore, the sound editing was extremely effective and added a lot to each scene of the film and kept the tone of the piece continuous and consistent. I also did love Laurens plug of her own film with the Fanta t-shirt.

 4/5

Harry

Pretty interesting film here. The script carries it, clearly has a lot of thought put into it. It has interesting direction, and good performances all round. Generally entertaining scenes of people talking, which is difficult to do. I think it could have done with a little more narrative changes, but in short films it’s usually good to keep it simple.

Rating – 3.5/5

Ti

 This film was difficult to watch. The plot was not very clear however the diversity in the shots and the array of surroundings were a great redeeming feature.

Rating – 2/5

Joshua

I thought this was brilliant, though I’m not gonna lie bits of it could be improved. I felt Ace was good in it and from everything I’ve saw him in (apart from perhaps EMU War) that this was a role he did well and it shown through.

Rating – 4/5

Sin – Directors: Rowen Rennie & Andrew de los Perros

Matthew

A wacky, random and often outright weird, Sin is a glimpse (and luckily no more) into the creative minds of Rowen and Andrew. The often overdramatic acting and music only help further this mad-house of bizarrity and yet I found myself thoroughly entertained and kept asking myself “what could possibly come next?” Despite the madness on screen, the true talents of Andrew and Rowen can be seen clearly by their work off camera. The editing and entire production of the film manages to feed off the on-screen energy and helps to amplify it perfectly, showing that maybe Sin and its writers aren’t quite so mad after all.

Rating – 4/5

Harry

I want this film stricken from AirTV records. I want it stricken from my memory. My family found out I watched this and disowned me. I live on the streets, sobbing and laughing, as this film taunts my entire consciousness. Please let me die. Help me.

Rating – 0/5

Ti

This film was incoherent from beginning to end. Weird interpretations of the 4 sins and whatever ‘Yeet’ is, although the day in the life of a record is the best part of the film.

Rating – 1/5

Joshua

I was sickened by the beans in the cereal box and ice cream tub. What kind of sick twisted mind does that? I feel like I’ve discovered Satan’s shite tier porno collection, the fact that I’ve seen Rowan in those boots and Andrew like that more than once is causing me to seriously question my life. This video is literally the type of video you find on YouTube that people have saved to “Videos for when I’m high” playlists.

Rating – 2/5

Through The Darkness – Director: Stanislaw Stawowiak

Matthew

Through the Darkness is the epitome of student film making. There were times when I was watching this and I forgot that I wasn’t watching a professional short piece on the TV. Not only is the lead character well written and relatable, Sophia’s acting was magnificent and her portrayal of Amelia was, for me, the standout piece of acting in this years ATVAs. This coupled with the masterfulness of Stanislaw’s direction and attention to detail leaves you with an outstanding film that draws emotion from the audience. Having the detective show as part of the story was a nice twist that kept the plot moving without it feeling rushed. The dialogue between the characters was natural and conveyed characters emotions as well as a hinting to greater parts of the plot in a very simplistic and effective manner.

Rating – 5/5

Harry

This is a rich and charming film, with some really good looking shots that are colour-graded nicely. I think the plot is a little simplistic, but it tells a nice story of overcoming fears and following some dreams. I also enjoyed the noir scenes added in, I felt this added a lot to make the film more interesting.

Rating – 3.5/5

Ti

 Brilliant acting and great underdog story. The main character is extremely relatable and feels real as she navigates life with crippling anxiety as many of us do. The added touch of predominantly voiced characters rather than faces aids viewers in empathizing with Emilia over anyone else.

Rating – 4/5

Joshua

It wasn’t really my thing, I personally felt like it dragged on a wee bit. However, it was well done on all aspects and well done to Sophia who was excellent in it.

Rating – 3/5

Beautiful Me – Director: Martina Rebecca Inchingolo

Matthew

This is an inspiring and uplifting film that tackles a core issue at the heart of our society. The concept of this film is its strongest point, and this helps to mold the plot for a decent film. Although in some places the acting and portrayal of the plot can get a bit questionable, Martina has a clear vision of where she wants this story to go and the message she wants to give. The cinematography is definitely one of the strong points of this piece and clearly a lot of effort went in to create this inspirational piece.

Rating – 3.5/5

Harry

Quite hard to critique a film like this, because I feel this film is about sharing a story and a positive message, which it does effectively. Martina Rebecca Inchingolo leads the film really well, I imagine tapping into struggles she’s had in her own life. I noticed some editing flaws, but it doesn’t really matter. The film is a clear message from the director about starting the journey to accepting your own body, which I think it delivers just fine. I refuse to give a rating because it just seems silly on a film about how rating each other is bad.

Rating – None

Ti

 Another film that is essential from the world women experiences today. Every image from the media damns women for having different body types rather than embracing that diversity. This film highlights the negative impact of body shaming but also set a great example of those friends/family that do nothing but encourage acceptance. Great film.

Rating – 4/5

Joshua

As someone who is not thin, I really enjoyed the look into the get thinner mentality from a person who’s aiming to do it but eventually just sees the usual cracks that appear. Some bits felt forced but overall quite enjoyable.

Rating – 3/5

Lazarus – Director: Reymond Sawyer

Matthew

Reymond’s Lazarus is another example of what student film can achieve as it creates tension both through dialogue and lack of dialogue. The sound editing throughout is exceptional and helps to keep the audience invested alongside some great camera work. The plot is intangible from start to finish yet I felt myself drawn and was almost disappointed that it gave me so many questions with very little answers. The actor’s performances are also extremely impressive, and I felt ashough I was watching a TV drama over a student film. All round this film was truly impressive and kept me more hooked than any of the other films in this years ATVAs.

Rating – 5/5

Harry

It’s safe to say that this is an odd film. I can’t say it really connected with me, but I appreciated the production and the ideas placed into it. The camera and editing were good and the cast played their roles well, but, well, I dinnae get it.

Rating – 2.5/5

Ti

Beautiful camera work and great acting help distract from the fact that the film is difficult to understand. The visuals are of a high quality whilst the sounds of nature help to set the atmosphere for what is a thought-provoking plot.

Rating – 3.5/5

Joshua

Right so firstly, the guys bag not being closed while walking from the Study Zone to Accommodation low-key gave me anxiety. I’m not gonna lie I really did not enjoy this, bits of it felt like it was written to spread out time.

Rating – 2/5

Prefer Not To Say – Director: Maili Fraser

Matthew

This is a beautiful film that tells the tale of a fantastic transition to being free and is handled wonderfully by all parts of production. The acting by all the cast was fantastic, especially at the party scene. It challenges issues with society head on and with true transparently. The sound editing was amazing and helped convey the emotion of the characters perfectly.

Rating – 5/5

Harry

This is my favourite ATVA of this year. This story of feeling wrong in the world and finding a space to feel accepted is told beautifully, with stunning cinematography, great editing, solid acting, clear direction and surprisingly wonderful music.

It engaged me with the character enough in a short few minutes to feel connected with them in a meaningful way once they finally broke into their transition of becoming non-binary. It’s a joyful and charming film capturing the essence of the unfortunately rare times someone like this can truly find their true selves and feel accepted for it in a new space. Hell yeah.

Rating – 5/5

Ti

This kind of film is extremely important because the LGBTQIA needs more representation. Although this film does not account for every individual experience, it does give some insight into the struggles members of the community face when trying to understand their own bodies, feelings, and place in the world.

Rating – 3.5/5

Joshua

Fucking nice cinematography. I was honestly waiting for it to end badly but the fact that how it ended made it so much better. Nice to see an LGBTQI+ film that was oriented on Non-Binary. The only real issue I had was the wig really bothered me from the get-go but apart from that fantastic. 4/3 would watch again.

Rating – 5/5

And that’s all, folks! We hope to see you at the ATVAs this year, make sure to grab tickets here. We had a great time watching so many great films this year, and the range of opinion just shows that film impacts everyone differently. I wonder how it’ll impact you?

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