Short Takes on Film
State of the Arts
Big news for the Green Mountain Film Festival came at press time: There’s been a major changing of the guard at Focus on Film, the fest’s parent nonprofit. Donald Rae, executive director of FOF for the past six years, has stepped down, along with the rest of the board. The board’s new president is Terrence Youk, owner of Montpelier’s Savoy Theater, who says in a press release that he sees this as “a timely opportunity to bring the Savoy under the wing of the Focus on FIlm nonprofit.”
Always a venue for the GMFF, the Savoy has held several public funding drives to address its financial vicissitudes in the past few years. Like many local independent theaters, it faces an uncertain future in the digital era. Is Youk taking this opportunity to rebrand the theater as a nonprofit community resource with an educational mission? Watch this space or our staff blog, Blurt, for more news.
Is it possible to fall in love in mere hours? That’s the premise of Falling Overnight, an indie drama making its Vermont premiere at Merrill’s Roxy Cinema in Burlington this Friday.
The movie stars 25-year-old Shelburne native Parker Croft, who also shares writing credit with director Conrad Jackson and Aaron Golden. Croft plays Elliot, who is facing risky surgery for a brain tumor. Knowing he may have just one night to live, he decides to pursue his interest in Chloe (Emilia Zoryan), a young woman he met that afternoon when she served him a smoothie.
As the two of them ramble through the nocturnal city, in and out of parties and shows, their chemistry is evident — but Chloe doesn’t know about Elliot’s morning appointment. While the plot suggests a combination of Before Sunrise and last year’s 50/50, Falling Overnight is shot and acted in a low-key, naturalistic style that drew praise from the Village Voice during its New York run.
Though he now lives in LA, Croft maintains connections to the greater Burlington arts community. His mom, Juliet McVicker, has sung with Pine Street Jazz and other groups locally; his sister, Lila Webb, also a musician, contributed a song to the film’s soundtrack. The young actor, who says he got his start performing with Very Merry Theatre and Vermont Stage Company, has plans to return to Burlington soon — for a film shoot. Croft says his next movie, still untitled, “begins just before Christmas in Vermont and centers around a poet who struggles to meet a life-changing deadline in the spring.”
Also on tap this coming week at the Roxy is a showcase called Future Shorts, billed as “the world’s biggest pop-up film festival.” The short films are curated by the UK-based creators of Secret Cinema, who stage film screenings-cum-happenings in London. They offer a new package of shorts to exhibitors each quarter, and Roxy owner Merrill Jarvis III says he’s considering screening future installments.
Lovers of shorts will find Future Shorts’ summer selection uneven but intriguingly diverse, with several global regions represented. The feature-length program includes a family drama from South Korea; a slice of street life from Brazil; a coming-of-age tale from South Los Angeles; and an absurdist UK comedy that suggests time travel could cause bloody culture-clash issues.
Viewers of last year’s Oscar-nominated shorts will recognize Grant Orchard’s animation “A Morning Stroll,” but this series of three parallel urban vignettes — set in three drastically different eras, with corresponding styles — is creative enough to warrant repeat viewing. Ornana Films’ “(Notes on) Biology” is another fun animation, while Mihai Grecu’s experimental “We’ll Become Oil” uses computer effects to create a cryptic parable of global greed and conflict. The future may not look bright in Future Shorts, but it is colorful.
And, speaking of shorts ... on August 29, don’t forget to head over to Burlington’s City Hall Park for the Vermont International Film Festival’s free screening of shorts from Mexico, Israel, Palestine and Great Britain. That list hints at the variety likely to be on display at the festival proper, which runs this year from October 19 to 28 in several venues, most of them in downtown Burlington. Watch this space for more info.
Falling Overnight and Future Shorts: Starting Friday, August 10, daily at Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas in Burlington. See movie showtimes. Regular admission.
Global Films in the Park: Wednesday, August 29, 8 p.m. in City Hall Park, Burlington. Free.