Borscht is Dead: the short films, part 2

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Courtesy Alexa Lim Haas

A few days ago, we revealed five of the ten shorts that will be featured at Borscht is Dead: Curated by Indie Ethos & Collab With Choose954 on Oct. 19. Now, here are the rest of what I consider some of the best films the Miami-based filmmaking collective Borscht Corporation has ever produced. The event will help raise funds for us to match our Knight Arts Challenge grant. Details of the event can be found on our Facebook event page co-hosted by Choose954. Finally, here are the details and trailers for the other shorts in our lineup…

Agua Viva (2017) by Alexa Lim Haas, 5:37 min.

In this gorgeous and austere animated short, director Alexa Lim Haas employs hand drawn watercolor illustrations to tell the story of a Chinese manicurist working in the suburban South Florida city of Hialeah. The power of animation for a creator is that it forces them to fit a lot of information into one frame, and Haas shows a very deliberate, dense pace with her 5:37 film. During the short, Haas breaths diverse, beautiful life into this woman, touching on her personal obsessions, her past, her foreignness and how it can be just fine to be aware of your own aloneness. This stands as a personal favorite from last year’s Borscht film festival, where it was shown as a work-in-progress. Haas is working diligently in her current hometown of New York City to finish it. You can read an in-depth review of “Agua Viva” and other shorts I saw during Borscht Diez by following this link to the Miami Rail.

Courtesy Julian Yuri Gonzalez

One Dog Gone Summer (2017) by Julian Yuri Rodriguez, 7 min.

Another favorite from last year’s Borscht Film Festival. This short was also a subject of my in-depth review for the Miami Rail. With our “Borscht is Dead” event, we get to host the premiere of a new, tighter director’s cut by Julian Yuri Rodriguez’s. A film of great humor and heart, the short follows a little boy (talented local actor Wesley W. Wray) as he sets out to make sure the corpse of his pet dog Scrappy goes to heaven, despite adults telling him there is no such physical place. Defying what he sees are the various absurdities of adult logic, from his parents to a priest, he finds transcendence in the most unlikeliest of places. Using a bright color palette and a varied tempo, Rodriguez has created his most dynamic film to date. This is also a very personal film for the filmmaker. You can read about that in an interview I wrote for PureHoney Magazine.

Pineal Warriors: Supermeng vs. The Anunnaki (2014) Egon & Otto Von Schirach, 7:30 min.

As zany as this adventure movie about a mystical group of super heroes seems, leader Otto Von Schirach takes it super serious. “It’s more of a lifestyle, here in the Bermuda triangle,” he says. “I feel that we’re constantly protecting Earth … The brain coral talks to me [telepathically] … talking to the pineal.” The short features local music legend Blowfly (a.k.a Clarence Reid) and Miami-based experimental electronic musician Von Schirach, as part of a band of “Pineal Warriors” battling an alien race of lizards and their devout followers headquartered in a coral castle. Co-directed by Von Schirach and his brother Egon, the film’s strobe-like edits and surreal narrative embraces self-deprecating humor while also celebrating Miami culture, from Santeria ritualism to Freestyle music.

Courtesy Bleeding Palm

El Sol Como un Gran Animal Oscuro (The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal) by Bleeding Palm, 4:23 min.

Bleeding Palm are two Miami-based animators, Ronnie Rivera and Christina Felisgrau. Their archaic digital images bring an awareness to the medium that is only transcended by their thematic concerns. In this short, inspired by the poetry of the tragic Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, a love story between a computer and its user becomes a vehicle to reflect on modern concerns with how integrated modern technology has become with humanity. Humorous, startling and moving, this stands as the duo’s most personal work. The short features voice over work by Miami artist and RadioEE host Agustina Woodgate, who also contributed art to our silent auction to accompany this event (details coming soon). Somewhere on this site you can see the entire short, and it rewards repeat viewings.

When We Lived in Miami (2013) by Amy Seimetz, 13 min.

Beautifully shot and earthly performed, “When We Lived in Miami” is an extremely intimate film directed by actress Amy Seimetz. In this vignette about a couple falling out of love, a little girl bears witness to the wrath of her mother and the apathy of her father. Fragmentarily shot, the film is about the small moments, like how her parents struggle with holding hands or that night Mom smashed out Dad’s car windows. In between these vignettes are the howl of hurricane winds (it was shot in Miami during Hurricane Isaac) and prismatic glances of the bright Miami sun through palm fronds. It’s as much about the mundane moments as it is the traumatic ones and how they unite into an experience. Sometimes it’s not why your parents break up but how.

Hans Morgenstern

Borscht is Dead screens Oct. 19, 6 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., at Savor Cinema, 503 SE 6th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Tickets are $13 and $25. A silent art auction/reception begins at 6 p.m., featuring a DJ set by Poplife’s Aramis. The films start 7:30 p.m. with a Q&A with the filmmakers after the screening. Get tickets by following this link. And if you can’t come, please donate to us: follow this link and hit the “DONATE” button via PayPal. We thank you so much for your support.

(Copyright 2017 by Independent Ethos. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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