BITS 2017: Paint the Town Red, Itch, Crux: Black Sol Empire
Paint the Town Red
Scoring tickets to an ultra upscale night club, Josephine (Ariel Hansen, who co-directs the film with Christopher Andrew Graham) and Andie (Allison Klause who is delightful in the role) are excited to have a girls’ night out on the town. Unlike her oblivious party eager friend, Andie cannot help but notice that something is very strange about the trendy spot and its inhabitants. Offering a darkly humorous take on conventional vampire tropes, Paint the Town Red manages to feel both familiar and refreshing. Graham and Hansen utilize the brief running time to maximum effect, constructing a great looking film that is both eerie and amusing with equal measure. The casting of Hansen and Klause in the lead roles also works wonders as their performances make even the most conventional moments feel fresh and fun.
Taking off his usual film critic hat, director Sean Kelly gets behind the camera once again for his latest short film Itch. The plot involves a man (Sean C. Dwyer) whose itchy hand becomes so unbearable that he is forced to take extreme measures to find the comfort he desperately needs. A horror comedy at its core, Itch is a film that is essentially built around a one joke premise. Thankfully Kelly keeps the runtime short to ensure that the gag never runs out of steam. A well shot film, the cheesy lo-fi infomercial opener is a nice touch, Itch achieves its objective thanks in part to Dwyer’s performance. Walking a thin tightrope between effective physical humour and over-exaggeration, Dwyer ensure he never falls into the latter.
Crux: Black Sol Empire
I cannot say that I completely understood Steve Choptiany’s Crux: Black Sol Empire, but boy was I ever captivated by it. An experimental work, the animated film is a visual meditation on the nature of good and evil. At least that is what I think it is about. Much of the film observes a creature attached to an Egyptian inspired crucifix. As the creature moves about, Chopitany’s camera takes the audience on a journey into the soul of both the creature and the third eye style orb on the crucifix. Juxtaposing plenty of religious iconography with flashes of a demon with oversized teeth with, Choptiany constructs a film that is puzzling, chilling, and intriguing all at the same time. It is the type of film that will linger in your mind long after it ends.
Full Blood in the Snow ticket information can be found at the festival’s website.