The Movie Waffler Seattle Shorts - <i>TICKETED / ELECTION NIGHT / THE PERFECT PIECES</i> | The Movie Waffler


We review three shorts from the upcoming Seattle Shorts Festival.

The fifth annual Seattle Shorts Film Festival takes place November 14th-15th and we've been given an early look at some of the shorts competing. Click the image below to book your tickets.

Reviews by Benjamin Poole (@filmclubchs)

The 2015 Seattle Shorts Film Festival, now in its fifth year of showcasing short films and documentaries, finds a welcome trend of strong female characters among its rich and varied programme. First up, there’s Ticketed, a Western pastiche starring one-woman army Sharni Vinson (so awesome in You’re Next) as Jackie, the bored beat cop of a one horse town where the only law-related excitement comes from ticketing double parked cars or shunting home the town drunk. Except, one day a lottery win brings luck to said lush, and also to a group of opportunistic criminals who design to rob him of his ticket; but the most providence is saved for Jackie, who finally gets the action she’s longed for as she designs to confront the criminals.
Ticketed has a lovely rustic feel to it, and the charisma of Vinson shines from each frame of the film like Midwest sun throughout a sleepy town. Slapstick choreography shows off her hard-woman credentials, and there’s a pleasingly comic tone which compliments the action. The hopelessly inept criminals were a little too wacky for my liking (Jackie deserved more of a threat than these bozos), but this farce is fast and furious fun.

Election Night
In Election Night, there’s more pastiche, specifically of The West Wing and its busy, loquacious tracking shots following American politicians as they rapidly converse in a serious sounding patois about senates and bills and suchlike. Here we track the Jantzen family, headed by the Democratic nominee, and their assorted assistants, all in full nervous flow as they negotiate the corridors of a posh hotel upon the eve of a closely contested primary. However, before anyone can address the huddled masses of Maine, there’s some sort of security threat, and the family are bundled off with their bodyguard to the hotel’s kitchen, where the camera and the family are forced to pause their perpetual motion and instead stop and reflect. The location of a kitchen is apt, as the room becomes something of a pressure cooker, with certain long kept secrets and resentments bubbling to the fore, heated by the impending outcome of the vote.
Husky voiced mum Patty (Peri Gilpin) tries to keep the peace as earnest daughter Janie (Caitlin Zambito) argues with her pompous father Richard (Jake Johannsen) about the typical things teenagers quibble with their dads about, except this dad seemingly has a claim to being the leader of the Western world, so his homophobia and generalised dismissal of the American electorate as people who don’t like pro-soccer is especially concerning. But then, just as you’re beginning to wonder if Richard is anyone’s idea of a progressive democratic leader, there’s a revelatory twist…
It’s difficult to discuss Election Night without revealing the intended surprise of the final moment’s gag, so I won’t; suffice to say it’s intended to confront our assumptions, which, although the film has entirely played to those expectations throughout, is still neatly done, if a little preachy. And any short that has the cultural competency to have a family argue about the relevance of second wave Romantic American poets’ sexuality is a-ok by me.

The Perfect Pieces
Another gag again completes the familial conflict of The Perfect Pieces, where restaurateur Portia (Angela DiMarco) is admonished by Grandpa (Paul Eenhoorn) for her lifestyle choices; "I didn’t spend four years in a lab working on…things… so that you could throw your potential away." The short builds menacingly to its black comedy, sci-fi punchline where we discover the violent manner in which the perfect pieces are collected, but while The Perfect Pieces affects as a paean to female independence, even as a short it’s too enigmatic to fully impress.