Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
Drop Your Shorts is Athens’s short film festival where filmmakers of all ages and backgrounds show their films on the big screen. This year, the Athena Cinema displayed 22 short films covering everything from aliens to comedy to depression. Some were meant to be funny, some were a commentary on our twisted society, and some reflected the freaky dreams of the filmmakers.
Because Drop Your Shorts allows entries from any age group, two films were produced and made by kids under 13. Granted, they were no master film students, but the ideas and the storytelling were there, especially in Meet The Kids Mockumentary, a film about a bunch of kids who work for their older kid boss. In the style of mockumentary shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation, the kids hate the boss and do one on one camera interviews. The 13-year-old who wrote it claims that they were inspired by Keeping Up With the Kardashians. (I guess one good thing came out of that show – These kids have a lot of potential. Hopefully, they keep doing what they are doing.)
Some of the most interesting work was done by filmmakers who claim to have no idea what the film is about in the first place. They had some of the most compelling variety of shots and some of the most unique sequences. The films that had a serious focus on storytelling and style were especially beautiful, spanning serious topics like loss and depression. Depression, Voice of God was a good example of this, combining personal narrative and beautiful shot variety into a hopeful piece that speaks to many who struggle with depression themselves.
Not only were unique scripts recognized, Drop Your Shorts highlighted stop-motion and other alternative styles of filmmaking. Escape From Skeleton City Part 1 was a film of that suit; a short inspired by a comic made by artist Chris Monday as a commentary on the longevity of his comic. The skeleton escapes the comic and then walks around before getting his head bit off by a plastic dinosaur skeleton. It’s endearing and fun in a way that traditional film methods would not be able to capture.
One of my personal favorites was a series of three films titled Humor 1, Humor 2 and Humor 3 and were basically knock off educational videos on how to use humor appropriately. The humor didn’t come from the writing itself, but from the actor who pronounced humor like “Youma” and lamented about his stepfather. Each installation ended with the actor staring uncomfortably into the camera for about 30 seconds with kitschy documentary music over him. It showed a complete knowledge of the infomercial/educational video style and mocked it in an effective way.
Drop Your Shorts is such a wonderful place to experience art for people of all ages, except for maybe the last 20 minutes of the festival. That is when some of the more bizarre and raunchier films were played. There was a parody music video style short called Hot Betch, featuring trailer trash girls singing about how hot they are in a hot tub and spraying whipped cream everywhere. Yeah. Another short featured alien women crawling out of a giant grapefruit space vagina and into another woman’s brain. It was trippy, to say the least.
Because many of the filmmakers are from the Athens area, it was a great way to hear the stories of local people and what their experiences were like. Many of the filmmakers were inspired by Athens, and many of the actors are from Ohio University or the surrounding areas. If you missed Drop Your Shorts this time around, don’t fret! The next Drop Your Shorts is in February, and if it was anything like the last one, it will be a fun and brilliant exhibition of what Athenians in the film community have to offer.