North Texas Daily

Friday evening and short films at Thin Line

Friday evening and short films at Thin Line

February 20
22:51 2015

Dalton LaFerney / Views & Digital Editor

I found some time Friday to drop by the Campus Theatre for the Thin Line Fest to watch the short film screenings.

Brian’s Dots 

The first to screen was “Brian’s Dots,” making its Texas premiere for the Denton audience. It’s a 26-minute short featuring Brian, a free spirited twenty-something who bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii in the years following a skiing accident that left him paralyzed.

Doctors told Brian he’d likely never walk again, surely changing his life forever — but not in the way you might expect. Young Brian made the decision to leave the mainland, exchanging Pennsylvania life to be a shirtless beach bum, experiencing life from a vastly different perspective.

Though the use of his hands was severally affected by the accident, he is still able to produce spectacular “dot art” pieces. Director Im JiHoon said after the screen that Brian gains financially for his art, enabling him to continue his spiritual and physical therapy throughout the Hawaiian countryside.

The short is poorly edited, detracting from Brian’s story. However, the home-movie feel of the piece is in a way emphasized by the subpar camera work and editing. After all, it’s about Brian’s journey for a life of fulfillment, hitchhiking between beautiful beaches to meet new friends and establish a life for himself.

Overall, the film has a loving message, but was captured in such a way that audiences will quickly forget about it. It’s just another short.

Elgin Park

“Elgin Park” captured my attention technically and poetically, with its smooth transitions and impactful quotes. The 10-minute short is about Michael Paul Smith, a man who has built a fictional model world called Elgin Park. Smith, a gay man, was bullied and targeted during his youth. Already more introverted in personality, Smith swims deeper into his own self, finding comfort and realization. He battles mental health issues his whole life until he conceptualizes and constructs Elgin Park.

Smith’s photography of his model town became renowned, spreading his work to the world. His photos are on display for the music portion of the festival.

Directed and produced by Danny Yourd, the film is special and noteworthy. There’s something sobering about the story Smith tells, traversing through his mind to recall a somewhat dark childhood, finding himself teetering on the cliff’s edge of suicide. Elgin Park is a project of expression.

The audio of the short mixed well and enhanced the story. The visuals were crisp and and clear, combined maturely with the Smith interviews. Yourd did a nice job of communicating Smith’s perspective.

To Be A Poet 

Short, presentable and to the point. It lasts three minutes, all the time director and producer Michael Johnston needed to share the message of Abraham Nouk, a Sudanese refugee to Australia who learned to read and write English only to become an award-winning poet and spoken word artist.

I won’t spoil the message. I will say, however, Johnston has a perspective from which many of us can take away and benefit. Imagine leaving your native land hurriedly, discovering a new world to become a master of its language.

The Bottom Rung

This one was something to cherish, featuring the under-reported stand-up comedy outfit here. It’s directed by local funny man Ron Lechler, and features comics Alex Smelser and Martin Urbano, both of whom did a stand-up bit before the shorts began.

The short takes the audience to makeshift stages across the North Texas town, showing stand-up performances in places like the basement of J and J’s Pizza, where comics perform for a close-knit community of their peers.

Highlighted in the short is Smelser, a delivery man for J & J’s. But don’t let his day job mislead you — this dude is hilarious. I was fortunate to have been exposed to his live stand-up routine. He shares a helpful, underground angle to Denton, one not often cared for by the locals.

“The Bottom Rung” excellently intrigues the audience and invites it to be more involved in the Denton comedy scene. There’s not much more to say other than it’s funny, well edited and you should see it, whether for a laugh or to explore Denton.

The Curse and the Symphony 

This 20-minute short captured raw emotion and told a story in such a format that it appeared to be live. David Schulte directed and edited the story of Nathan Felix, a former punk rock musician hoping to enter the aristocratic genre of classical music.

Felix’s eight-year fight is cut down to feature the stress of writing and producing classical music, made even more difficult by his lack of familiarity in the genre. The rising and falling actions are are shown during a two-day period rehearsing and recording Felix’s music. The pressure and tension is displayed nicely by Schulte, Felix’s dream coming true on screen.

The undertones and central message of “The Curse and the Symphony” are common to film these days, almost making it cliche. However, it’s a genuinely heartfelt film.

Thin Line continues until Sunday. Keep up with the latest on The Dose.

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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