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Saturday, January 25, 2020

The 31st Annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival - Jan. 24th, 25th, and the 26th, 2020

Image result for 31st annual notre dame student film festivalGreetings from snowy Notre Dame, Indiana. This is my sixth time covering this glorious film festival. All in all, there were twelve films shown with running times ranging from four to fourteen minutes. The documentaries were the best part (that's just a personal preference for me). Here are some of the strongest highlights coupled with ratings and reviews:

Tape Wizard * * * Stars
Collaborator: Kilian Vidourak
-Tape Wizard is a short documentary that makes you say, "what the!" but in a good way. It's about a dude (Randall Taylor) who's stuck in the 80's and makes melodic music via a tape recorder. I was fascinated by how broad-based Taylor was and I wanted the proceedings to go on just a little longer.

Image result for 2020 notre dame student film festivalSandbranch * * * Stars
Collaborators: Kelli Smith, Bella Martinez
-Flint, Michigan eat your heart out! Sandbranch is a docu about an area outside of Dallas, Texas that doesn't have clean water. The people living there inhabit a doleful existence yet they are still unchanging and upbeat. Sometimes unfocused yet elevated by the camera peaking in, Sandbranch has loose, effective interviews that keep things real.

Anima * * * Stars
Collaborators: Brian Hames, Joey Warner, Emily Ragan
-Anima is a mind-bending, sci-fi short that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's not The Matrix seeing that it's about boyfriend/girlfriend infidelity. I loved the techy synth music and I enjoyed the cinematic hook that occurs during the closing credits. Heck, Anima would make famed director Alex Garland proud.

Image result for 2020 notre dame student film festivalNotre Drinking * * * Stars
Collaborator: Nicole Mannion
-Dug the title but I felt a little uncomfortable watching Notre Drinking. It's about the binging habits of ND students and it puts a sore eye on their revealing plight. Still well done and still recommendable though. Of note: I hope the parents of said students don't see this short. And I hope these students don't extend the notion of alcoholism to be their self-fulfilling prophecy.

Regular Poor Asian * * * 1/2 Stars
Collaborator: Kenny Xu
-This is the best entry in the 2020, ND film festival. Taking place in NYC, it's a fast-paced, fast-cutting docu that discusses the Asian American role in the career world. I loved the archive footage used from older flicks (A Christmas Story) and I reveled in the offbeat humor. The director of Regular Poor Asian is a born filmmaker. I certainly hope he continues to further his Hollywood dreams.

Image result for 2020 notre dame student film festivalSmash (and Grab 'N Go) * * * Stars
Collaborator: Ted Nagy
-Making good use of a flashback and having a quirky narrative told out of chronological order, Smash (and Grab 'N Go) is a swift, lively way to end an ND flick fest. Just think 1994's The Chase but without the getaway car sex scene (ha). Of note: Look for a pseudo cameo at the end from ND football coach Brian Kelly. Or was it actually Brian Kelly? I couldn't tell.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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