Every year, the Utah Arts Festival offers only one official event that provides air-conditioned respite from the summer heat. And every year, it seems that it provides just as much aesthetic cool as physical cool.
UAF's Fear No Film Festival, made up of eight distinctive short film programs, brings the work of local, national and international filmmakers to the Library Auditorium, including the centerpiece Utah Short Film of the Year program. Audience members get a chance to vote on the winner, but more significantly, they get a chance to see some fascinating work by Utah artists from students to professionals.
Curiously, the opening two films both deal with the impact from beyond the grave of family members who have died—though in every other way, they couldn't be more different. Stéphane Glynn's L'Autre Rive
(pictured), from the University of Utah film program, mixes its haunting imagery with scientific details about the process of a human body's post-death decomposition; while the French language dialogue may heighten the impression of artsy-fartsyness, there's a strong emotional base in processing the passing of a loved one. A more whimsical vibe energizes Danny Russan's Papá
, a BYU Animation Program production about deceased protective father turned self-appointed guardian angel, making mischief for the man who is trying to impress his daughter on a date. Its wonderfully detailed character work—like the poor date slumping in his chair after the seemingly ultimate humiliation—mixes well with the dead dad's journey towards letting go.
Among the other highlights: the KUER/Radio West short documentary Ties the Room Together
, profiling Salt Lake City librarian Josh Hanagarne talking about his struggles with Tourette syndrome; Oblivious
, a dark comedy from the 48-Hour Film project about two guys wandering through the lair of a serial killer; B + A
, from a script by local playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett about a married couple's hilariously toxic relationship; and Lincoln Hoppe's gently satisfying Hammer Suite
, a romantic comedy involving a pub musician and one surprisingly appreciative audience member.
The Utah Short Film of the Year program will run Friday (6/24) and Saturday (6/25) at 8 p.m. in the Library Auditorium.