By Barbara Ocsovayová
Brno16, or B16, in Czech “Brněnská šestnáctka”, is an international festival of short films. In the beginning, the festival only featured films with a 16mm format but now includes other formats as well. The filmmakers range from professionals to students. The topic for this year’s festival was “We Are Family”.
The topic of family could be seen in some of the movies though most varied in their themes and went as far from “family” as one could. One example was a Finnish film called Halko about an actor and his “nether regions”.
There was a wide selection of nations represented in the festival including Argentina, Taiwan and many European countries. A nice addition to some “BLOKK”s – clusters of films – were the discussions that allowed the audience to discuss films with the directors. These insights helped with the audience’s understanding of the films and also convey some more insight.
As there was no criterium for the films other than them being short, various differences in the quality in production, directing, acting and camera work led to a strange mixture of films. The differences were striking, and one could wonder if that was not for the worse in terms of the audience’s judgment of the featured films. A juxtaposition of Milk (2) and Anchorage Prohibited (3) could be put as an example in terms of production.
Lastly, the 58th year for the International Short Film Festival B16 brought an insight into an array of current topics such as the refugee crisis and economic hardship. Despite its relocation from Kino Art to Sál Břetislava Bakaly, it attracted its desired audience. Yet, the information in leaflets and posters in Brno provided scant information about the festival itself and almost no information about the films shown besides what could be found on the website or the facebook page.This lack of information could put-off a fresh wave of filmgoers. A welcome addition would also be a word or two from the directors who did not manage to come to the festival as their insight could have been valuable in terms of an understanding of the topics, production and ‘look’ of their work. The B16 family is a strong one, but something should be done to make it more welcoming to outsiders who have not heard of the festival.
Home (2016, GB) – A short film about the refugee crisis. A British family shows with striking reality what a majority of refugees must endure.
Arrival (2016, USA) – A film that drew a good laugh from the audience. This short film played it safe with a satirical look at 1950s America. The film’s slight gradation leads to an absurd, yet understandable ending.
Buzz (2017, USA) – The winner of the audience award won people’s hearts with its humour and a beautifully shot portrayal of two friends who salvage their dysfunctional relationship by finding themselves a man. The love triangle is a reminder that there is something a little twisted in each of us and no one should cast the first stone or point fingers when all involved are satisfied and happy.
Voyage Spatial (2016, Canada) – One of the shortest films mentioned revolves around love, love and again, love. But it so happens that a specific type of wording and vocabulary type is chosen, making this film an enjoyable experience.
Czarnoksieznik z krainy U.S. (2016, Poland) – This was one of the most memorable films shown at the festival. It takes place in Hollywood, USA and showcases a collection of pop-culture references as well as the cliche of a young girl wishing to become an actress in Hollywood. On top its quality production and concept, the film foreshadows Hollywood’s current sexual scandals and thus leaves a lasting impression on its audience.