Colorado’s reputation for all things cool just keeps expanding. Cool craft beer. Cool whiskeys. Cool vibe. Cool movie industry.
Yes. The mini-indy scene is hot in the Centennial State.
Audiences were witness to that at a recent EFPalooza at the Bug Theatre in Denver. The Emerging Filmmakers Project offers a view of a wide range of shorts and others, from transgressive to progressive, dramatic to comedic.
Here are a few notable offerings from the most recent festival:
A sublime film from every technical level. With an incredibly polished and professional look, “Huevos” was is third-rail comedic delight. Raunchy, bawdy, or simply NSFW, the short starts off innocuous enough with two friends ordering from a food truck only to be approached by a former classmate, the childhood crush of the main character. A proposition of a regular smoke-out session turns mysterious and ultimately hilarious. Director Adam Rosenberg hot wires human sensibilities and comedy, and his ability to convey that humor, both through dialogue and framing, is a feat of a filmmaker more than just a hobbyist. Rosenberg screens his movies at the Bug Theatre often. See the clip at vimeo.com/291321793. You can also find his works at mradamrosenberg.com.
I Put the Bi in Bitter
“I Put the Bi in Bitter” is a polished and professional comedy. This coming-of-age story focuses on self-identity and what it is like to be a member of the LGBTQ community. In a Q&A after the viewing, Director Marin Lepore stated she wanted to makes something that represented people of the LGBTQ community outside of the common and cliche. The acting is solid. The characters are real and relatable. Standout, however, is the color scheme. Every character pops, A main character clad in bright colors, mirroring her outgoing attitude, is a metaphor for “different is good.” Her best friend dons muted shades, revealing her cynical and more introverted persona. Non-verbal cueing for characterization is hard to master but Lepore did just that in the pilot episode of this web series. To catch the rest of the series or other works by lepore, visit youtube.com/SadGirlProductions.
This was one of the more aesthetically indy movies in the series, which works for the benefit of the serious tone. A documentary on Soviet cosmonauts (specifically the ones that didn’t make it back), “Russian Ghosts” is haunting in its sparseness and terrifying with what it shows. Director Jesus Medina’s work creates an existential fear that’s hard to escape. It includes an audio recording of a Soviet cosmonaut who was in distress as she slowly died in space. The fear in her voice, so long ago, is immediate. The meticulous translation and somber imagery reveals the respect that Medina has for the people who sacrifice themselves trying to conquer any frontier.
Another documentary and web series, “Girl Aspiring” focuses on the various and unique business positions of women in the metro area. The first episode follows a local cider maker, discovering what brought her to a new and unknown field. Director Maureen Lee Maloney’s cinematography is energetic and compelling, mixing quick-cuts interspersed with longer shots. The concept of following self-made women, however, is what captivated the audience. Overtly optimistic in tone, something refreshing after many serious or ironic works, the feeling of hope and opportunity in Girl Aspiring is contagious. Maloney’s other works can be found at maureenleemaloney.com.
See bugtheatre.info for information on their upcoming events.