On 8/8/08 the Russian Air Force commences bombing Georgian villages. People flee to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The fastest way to get to Tbilisi is via Gori. George Barbakadze’s dramatic short Via Gori is the taut tale of a Russian woman and her young daughter making this dangerous journey out of a country under attack, in a minibus full of Georgian women and children. Tensions increase and nerves become stretched as the bombing nears and our fleeing duo attempt to hide their nationality from their fellow travellers. Goga Devdariani’s cinematography is at its best in the claustrophobic setting of the bus, as we not only get to feel every bump of the bus from the well travelled road and every rattle of the bodywork from each nearby explosion, but every inquiring eye suspiciously monitoring this frightened mother and child.

The wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life, although not every wedding day involves being hit by a car and reincarnated as a cockroach. With his dying breath the groom promises to return to bride, a promise she is never expecting him to fulfil, especially as one of the most hated pests in the world. A mixture of live action and animation (imagine a darker version of Roger Rabbit) Luke Eve’s Cockroach is one part Fluke, one part Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and one part Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (there’s a combination I never thought I’d use!). Taking a cartoon approach with the reincarnated cockroach ensured that not only was Eve’s film not in danger of becoming deadpan, but also allowed Ian Dodman and his team to add character to their lovestruck insect. The result is a likeable character and although his quest might seem ultimately doomed, Charlie the cockroach become a protagonist we can encourage in his mission.

With it’s world premier at this year’s South by Southwest festival, Owen Trevor’s Two Laps is “currently going round the film festival circuit to great acclaim“. Combining vivid cinematography and eccentric comedy, this tale of two friends and their highly competitive annual swim race is a short to be worshipped and admired. With the rare mix of absolute engagement, complete watchability and an utter admiration of craft, I dare anyone not to enjoy this playful short. Aesthetically, Hugh Miller’s cinematography couldn’t help but remind me of Jason Wingrove’s Sea Pool at times, but where that more serious documentary stuck to one visual tone, Trevor’s whimsical short flicks between styles with consummate ease. Shot on multi-formats, 35mm, 16mm, DV Cam and Mini DV, the quirky feel of Two Lap’s appearance perfectly compliments the joviality of the story.

Two Laps was the deserved winner of the International Award at the festival, click on the image below to watch film at www.passionraw.com

A rough version of Two Laps can be found on Vimeo, but it doesn’t have the same vigour as the longer, polished festival version:

Edit: All good things come to those who wait, and so the complete and pristine version of Two Laps has made its way onto Vimeo:

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