Short Film: I Heart Staten Island

Does anybody really love Staten Island? New York City’s geographically disconnected borough is the setting for Jef Taylor’s mesmerizing short film I Heart Staten Island. To say much more before viewing this mysterious little short would do it a major disservice. So watch, then, if you want, continue reading below.

Filmmaker Taylor has evidenced a strong visual naturalism in some terrific shorts such as Coverage and After You Left that he continues to utilize in I Heart Staten Island. Visually, through the gorgeous work of cinematographer Ryan Dickie here, that style leads the viewer on in a seductive, “everything is going to be all right” kind of way while his films places characters in situations that are anything that are “all right.” In that regard, Taylor’s films are very much disconcerting to watch, but as a pleasant, entertaining experience.

I Heart Staten Island is Taylor’s most abstract,
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Short Film: Coverage

9/11 and sexual dysfunction go hand in… Well, hand with something else in Jef Taylor‘s wicked and brilliant media satire Coverage. Instead of a guy being depressed by the relentlessly repetitive news footage of that dark day, it has quite the opposite effect on his libido.

Why this particular short film speaks to me personally is that it very smartly avoids offering commentary on the actual events of 9/11. One could substitute lots of tragic events in for the TV coverage that Taylor’s lead actor compulsively watches over and over. To me, that’s the over-arching point about our current media climate that the film strikes on in its own smart fashion that’s especially striking on today’s tenth anniversary of the attacks.

To go off on a bit of a rant here, the media’s modern wallowing in horrific tragedy is, I believe, crushing our country’s soul.
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

/Film Boston: IFFBoston Announces Lineup

/Film Boston: IFFBoston Announces Lineup
The Independent Film Festival of Boston [1] recently released their full line-up and it's a doozy. Sundance favorites such as The Future [2] and Submarine [3] will be there, along with awesome documentaries like Being Elmo [4] (With Elmo In Attendance!!!) and Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times [5]. I'm looking forward to films I wasn't able to catch at Sundance and SXSW, such as the legal documentary Hot Coffee, the heartbreaking How to Die in Oregon, and the new fascinating Conan O'Brien film. Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins [6] also looks like it will rock the house. The full line-up is below. The festival is April 27th through May 4th, and it's one of my favorite movie events of the year. If you live anywhere in New England, I invite you to come and check it out. You can follow IFFBoston on Facebook for updates [7] or buy your passes now [8]! Narrative Features 13 Assassins
See full article at Slash Film »

Sundance 2011: The Words Of 10 Filmmakers

At the 30th Sundance Awards Ceremony last night, I walked around the hall and asked filmmakers a simple question, and requested a short response. My question was: “What does Sundance mean to you?” Their answers were incredibly diverse — in fact none were identical. I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Out of varied thoughts are born unique visions that can become great films. Of course not great films for everyone, but great for someone, or for a group of someones. For an audience taken on a journey where they have never been, or have not been for a long time, films open eyes and minds and souls. Films make their audiences more human. And isn’t making us more human the essence of great film?

I can categorize these ten filmmakers’ replies as about money, a warm sense of community, reaching an audience, confirmation of their self and their work, the uniqueness of this festival,
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Underground Film Links: January 30, 2010

I always love new websites that celebrate the art of short films. Short of the Week is a nice new site that features some great stuff, including, yes, short films, but also news and updates. Go bookmark this one. Congrats to Bad Lit fave Jef Taylor for a successful Sundance romp! (You usually hear so little about short films at these kinds of events.) His After You Left got some nice reviews, first at Reel Guys and then at College Movie Review. It was sad to hear that Random Lunacy star Poppa Neutrino passed away last week. The New Yorker‘s Alec Wilkinson, who wrote a book on Poppa, has a wonderful remembrance. Rupert of SnuffBox Films keys us into a great new web video tool,, which converts video into every playable online video format possible. The sample played really great. Mike White posted up an amazing list
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Underground Film Links: January 23, 2010

The Paul Sharits memorial website, run by his son Christopher, is looking for articles to post on art and music. Congrats to Stuart Simpson’s fantastic El Monstro Del Mar!, which has been picked up for distribution by IndieFilmNet. Careful, this one’s “dirty”: The great cartoonist/reviewer Rick Trembles covers Usama Alshaibi’s hilarious short film The Amateur. Then, Usama Alshaibi tackles the myth about Muslims not being able to render images of the prophets. J.J. Murphy tackles one of the most controversial movies of the last year or so, whether you knew it or not: Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers. Always a cause for rejoicing: Jonas Mekas announces a new film debuting in Feb.: Sleepless Nights Stories! A little background on the film from Jonas here. SXSW interviews fellow festival founder Lisa Vandever of Cinekink four questions about her upcoming interactive panel in Austin, TX. Professor
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Sundance & Slamdance: Off The Beaten Park City Path

Both the Sundance and the Slamdance Film Festivals begin in Park City, Utah this week. While I previously posted up the full Slamdance lineup and some underground highlights at Sundance, I thought I’d round them up again for those attending the festivals who might be reading this and looking for the quirkier, out-of-the-hype screenings.


The first movie you don’t want to miss at is After You Left, directed by Jef Taylor, which was recently reviewed on Bad Lit. This easygoing, but emotionally complicated tale about a semi-immature dude in his mid-thirties dealing with a serious broken heart has a minimalist charm to it that makes it instantly likable. It’s the kind of film that at first it may not seem like much is going on, but actually has a lot to say. Lead actor Michael Tisdale is really good in it, too. Exact screening info is on this page.
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

After You Left

We’ve all been there. Stuck listening to some self-absorbed acquaintance babble on about his own personal obsessions while our heart aches after having it stomped on, squished, mangled, and manipulated after a sorrowful loss. All we want is someone to help lift us out of our misery. All they want is to download their nonsense.

That’s exactly how Jef Taylor‘s melancholy short film After You Left opens. Mat (Michael Tisdale) has just been dumped by Sara (Joanne Tucker). Hoping to get his mind off of his broken heart, Mat is stuck listening to the boring ramblings of his friend Dylan (Dylan McCullough).

To us, the audience, Dylan’s whiny ramblings over whether or not he should go see the new Twilight movie just because Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has a song on the soundtrack is a riot, especially because he’s so sincere about his dilemma. But,
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Five Sundance Film Festival Films To Air Simultaneously On VOD

Five indie films screening at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, which is set to run Jan. 20-30, will air simultaneously on Video-on-Demand systems all over the country, courtesy of Sundance Selects, the theatrical and VOD distributor.

The films that will be playing on VOD are: Brendan Fletcher’s Mad Bastards, Michael Tully’s Septien, Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton’s These Amazing Shadows, Joe Swanberg’s Uncle Kent and Gregg Araki’s Kaboom. The first four films in that list are World Premieres while Kaboom is the film’s U.S. premiere.

Uncle Kent is Swanberg’s first film in Sundance, although this isn’t his first experience with a film of his playing on a movie screen and on TV simultaneously. Back in 2007, his film Hannah Takes the Stairs had a limited theatrical release while also playing on demand courtesy of IFC. Interestingly, both IFC and Sundance Selects are owned by the same media conglomerate,
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Gtbp Exclusive: Emerging Filmmaker Series: Jef Taylor and Michael Tisdale Tell Us What Happened 'After You Left'

Back in the early 90s, Jef Taylor and Michael Tisdale, a couple of college kids who had been friends since early childhood, hit the road for a music festival in southern Ohio. Shortly after pitching an old canvas tent that Jef had borrowed from his father, the two realized that their shelter was no match for the elements. Despite the pouring rain that found its way into the humble quarters, the two made the best of the situation. Using Jef’s tape recorder, the two spent the evening singing and improvising little sketches that they later entitled: “Leaky Tent”. From these soggy, yet joyous beginnings came Leaky Tent Collective, the small film, theater, and video production company that the two created that has just been granted the distinct honor of producing a short film accepted by the Sundance Film Festival.

Last fall the long time friends found themselves in yet
See full article at Get The Big Picture »

Sundance 2011: Underground(ish) Short Films By Jef Taylor, Colburn, More

Out of 6,467 short film submissions — a record for the fest — the Sundance Film Festival has selected to screen 81 of them during its 2011 edition, which will run on Jan. 20-30. Out of those 81 short films, a handful have ties to the underground film world.

First, I want to offer special Bad Lit congratulations to filmmaker Jef Taylor, whose film After You Left — written by Taylor and Michael Tisdale — was one of those short films chosen.

Earlier this year, I reviewed Taylor’s phenomenal, award-winning short film Coverage, so I was thrilled to hear another one of his more recent films got into Sundance. (I also hope to have a review of After You Left up around the time of the fest.)

Some other recognizable names from the underground film world include:

Martha Colburn: Legendary underground animator Martha Colburn is no stranger to Sundance and she has another film in the
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Sundance Film Festival 2011 Short Film Line-Up Announced

The Sundance Film Festival 2011 has a great line-up of movies this year, and I'm really excited about what we are going to get to see this year. The festival has just released their short film line-up, which is always cool to check out. Some of these movies are underated, but I've seen some pretty incredible live-action and animated short films at the festival.

Here's the official press release and list of films for you to check out:

Park City, Ut— Sundance Institute announced today the program of short films selected to screen at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival's Short Film Program comprises 81 short films from U.S. and international filmmakers selected from 6,467 submissions up 6% over 2010. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs January 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at ”It’s a
See full article at GeekTyrant »

2011 Sundance Film Festival Short Films Announced

2011 Sundance Film Festival Short Films Announced
The 2011 Sundance Film Festival is shaping up quite nicely. The films in competition [1], and out of competition [2], have already been announced and each has some incredibly exciting entries. Monday brought the announcement of the 81 short films, chosen out of 6,467 entries, that will play in Park City, Utah this January. And while the majority of them are by currently unknown filmmakers, there are a few that jump out featuring names like Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Jack Black. Actually, those guys are all in the same short. Other notables include Neil Labute, Tim & Eric and Isabella Rossellini. After the jump, we'll highlight those films and show you the full list. Scanning the list, here are the films that stick out as particularly exciting. Fight For Your Right Revisited (Director and Screenwriter: Adam Yauch) - After the boys leave the party... Cast: Elijah Wood, Danny McBride,
See full article at Slash Film »

Sundance Institute announces 2011 short films program Sundance Institute announced today the program of short films selected to screen at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival’s Short Film Program comprises 81 short films from U.S. and international filmmakers selected from 6,467 submissions up 6% over 2010. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs January 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

“It’s a marvel to discover the creativity in this year’s shorts program. These filmmakers are charged with telling compelling stories, nurturing breakout performances and engaging the audience, all in a fraction of the time allocated to features, and each one delivers,” said Trevor Groth, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “For 2011, we are pleased to be able to shine a light on indigenous filmmakers working around the world in the short-form medium, and to provide festival goers with a window into native storytelling.”

“These directors have once again raised the
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Sundance 2011 Short Selection Includes Beastie Boys Video Starring Wood, McBride, Rogen, Ferrell, Reilly, and Black

After announcing their feature film line-up (here and here), the Sundance Film Institute just sent us over their short film selections. Most initially appealing is Fight For Your Right Revisited, directed by Beastie Boy‘s Adam Yauch. The short features Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Jack Black. I’ll definitely be checking it out.

Neil Labute is also directing a short starring Julia Stiles, and Jonathan Caouette‘s short starring Chloë Sevigny will show, from the trailer we previously featured. There is also a short co-written by Cloverfield and Unstoppable‘s T.J. Miller. Check them all out below and look for our coverage in January.

U.S. Narrative Shorts

After You Left (Director: Jef Taylor; Screenwriters: Jef Taylor and Michael Tisdale) — A man in his mid-thirties searches for meaning in the aftermath of a relationship.

Andy and Zach (Director and Screenwriter: Nick Paley
See full article at The Film Stage »

Sundance Shorts Line-Up Includes: Moon Molson, Mohan, Yauch, Weiler, Zellner Bros., Labute, Lake Bell, Carter Smith, Rossellini, Mulloy, Ostlund

Short films by some Sundance alumni in Moon Molson, Michael Mohan, Oscilloscope founder Adam Yauch (see above), Lance Weiler, Zellner Bros., Neil Labute, Lake Bell, Isabella Rossellini, Daniel Mulloy, and as we mentioned before Carter Smith will be attending the festival with Yearbook with the logline being: "Something strange is going on at Rockdale high school…" And always worth the detour, Ruben Östlund brings Incident by a Bank whose plot is pretty much revealed in the title. The short films selected for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival are: U.S. Narrative Shorts This year's 44 U.S. short films were selected from a record 3,453 submissions. After You Left (Director: Jef Taylor; Screenwriters: Jef Taylor and Michael Tisdale) – A man in his mid-thirties searches for meaning in the aftermath of a relationship. Andy and Zach (Director and Screenwriter: Nick Paley) – When Zach decides to move out, his roommate Andy tries to set up
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Sundance ’11 Short Films Announced

The Sundance Institute has announced the short films that will be screening at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The full list of titles are below.

See the complete list of competition titles here and out-of-competition titles here.

The festival will take place Jan. 20-30, 2011 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

U.S. Narrative Shorts

After You Left (Director: Jef Taylor; Screenwriters: Jef Taylor and Michael Tisdale) – A man in his mid-thirties searches for meaning in the aftermath of a relationship.

Andy and Zach (Director and Screenwriter: Nick Paley) – When Zach decides to move out, his roommate Andy tries to set up a new life without his best friend.

Awol (Director and Screenwriter: Deb Shoval) – Days before her deployment to Afghanistan, Joey, 19, comes home to rural Pennsylvania for Christmas, with big dreams of running away to… Read the rest
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Sundance Film Festival Shorts Program Announced (Congrats To Moon Molson, Tahir Jeter, Others…)

Well, we’ve see the list of feature-length films that are in the 2011 lineup of the Sundance Film Festival. Just moments ago, the festival revealed the full list of short films that will accompany those features – 44 in total, from a record 3,453 submissions! Wow! Glad I’m not on that judging committee.

But of note in the below list are 2 filmmakers who are followers of this blog, both I’ve communicated with in the past – one actually was mentioned on Black Filmmakers To Watch thread, so we may as well add the other.

I’m referring to Moon Molson and Tahir Jetter.

Moon’s short film is titled Crazy Beats Strong Every Time. Some may recall that, in September, I posted an entry for Moon, to help raise money to complete the short film. He was trying to raise $8,000, and actually ended up raising $10,250! So, congrats to Moon! The synopsis for
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

The next Sundance Next

Last year, to much hype about the future of film festivals bringing films into people’s homes over the Internet, the Sundance Film Festival launched Next, a curated series of 8 “innovative” and “low-budget” films that also played on YouTube — for a price — for the duration of the fest.

As an innovative program, Next proved to be largely disappointing — to the indie film industry anyway, not to the filmmakers themselves. Getting into Sundance is a cachet for any filmmaker in and of itself, so that was bonus for these films. However, during the fest at the time, many film bloggers and writers complained that the Next films were impossible to find on YouTube. Plus, the entire program didn’t end up turning the industry or the current film festival paradigm on its ear, and financially it sounded like it was all a big bust.

But, Next, or as the festival also
See full article at Underground Film Journal »

Cinekink To Get Los Angeles Hot And Bothered: Oct. 8-10

Cinekink, the NYC-based erotic film festival, is bringing its unique brand of sexuality to Los Angeles for three steamy nights on Oct. 8-10.

The festival’s definition of “erotica” is clearly a very broad one that includes neo-burlesque performers, bored dominatrices, kinky judges, randy sheep-women, 9/11 enthusiasts and more.

The feature films that are screening — the documentaries Waxie Moon by Wes Hurley and My Sexuality: A Sensory Experience by Felicia Giouzelis; and the fiction films S&M Judge by Erik Lamens and Modern Love Is Automatic by Zach Clark — were all award winners at the 2010 Cinekink. The short film program on the 9th, collectively titled “Best of Cinekink/2010,” also features a batch of award winners, while the other programs are a mix of general 2010 festival favorites.

Regular readers of Bad Lit will have noticed that one of our favorite films of 2009, Modern Love Is Automatic, will be screening, so we’re thrilled about that.
See full article at Underground Film Journal »
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