The Santa Monica College Film Club’s annual Student Film Festival played to a standing-room-only crowd on December 11. Judging by the themes of the entries, today’s film students are thinking about: sex, drugs, rock and roll, violence, fear, dogs, Venice eccentrics, time, apocalypse, zombies, and pizza.
The theme of being out of time kicked off the show, with a very short film called “Intro” in which a young man (Cory Smith) worried that he’d missed the film festival and hurried across the SMC campus, scampered up the stairs of the Art Complex Building,, entered Room 214—and with the lights turned up, came into the auditorium live! Smith then breathlessly introduced the screening and read some announcements, throwing in a few jokes.
Two short films that followed dealt with the colorful Venice street scene. “Venice Daze” was a series of stills accompanied by Judy Collins’ ‘Sunny Goodge Street;” Tobias Deml’s “Faces of Venice” featured interviews with some local street characters, including Doll House Man, who wore a dollhouse on his head and got big laughs with his profanity-sprinkled observations, such as the idea that Governor Schwarzenegger is “asteroid-driven.”
The “Fun 48 Challenge” consisted of two films that had been made during a 48-hour period and incorporated several common elements, in this case, pizza delivery, the future, a knife, and the phrase “I loved her even before she got arrested.” Daniele Violi’s “Baked to the Future,” was the better of these two, organizing the elements into a cautionary tale of hash-pipe overload. The other film, “The Rescue of John,” also had funny moments but was less organized in its narrative.
Among the films that followed, standouts included Tim Moss’s “Black Figure” in which a girl is haunted by a vision of the classic black-cloaked figure of Death; Daniele Violi’s “Il Cane di Paola Muzzi,” an amusing tale of a dog-napping gone awry; Hiroki Kamada’s “Amelia,” another story of a girl’s dark visions with a surprise twist; Jonathan Hernandez’s “Santo Pecado,” a crowd-pleasing crime drama; Deja Prem’s “Life, Death, Etc,” a kidnapping story, also with a twist; Emmanuelle Yang’s “Side Effects,” a wacky piece in which a guy invents an “ideal” girlfriend; and the evening’s biggest hit, Michael Hall’s “Xombie Corps.” This fairly long short paid satirical tribute to every “living dead” movie every made, while actually being quite gruesome and scary in itself. It would also be safe to say, from the cheers of recognition in the audience, that the whole cast of “xombie” extras was probably in attendance.
Other films included “Chew Gum Consumer,” “Bus Connection,” “Time Out,” “Love Affair,” “Hitsville,” “Deal,” and two hip-hop music videos, “A Vietnam Story” and “Mother Earth.”
After the screening, the overflow audience went downstairs to the patio, feasted on pizza, of course, and voted on their favorite film-which turned out to be Xombie Corps.