A dark August evening in Cape Town; the city is wet and everyone is scrambling to get to their Happy Hour. The date is Tuesday the 21st; it’s the fourth instalment of Short & Sweet. Aside from the unforgiving weather outside, it had been a tough week for film; Tony Scott had just tragically passed and things were looking rather sombre. Julia Stephenson, founder and curator of Short & Sweet made her way to centre stage where she delivered a rousing welcome, urging everyone to get involved and be inspired by what they came to see.
As the official media partner, one small seed set out to Wunderbar Theatre for Short & Sweet, which seemed like the most dignified thing to do, beside polishing off a bottle of brandy to stave off the chill. The place feels beautiful… like something out of a World War Two movie, except with a cast of grandpa-sweatered hipsters instead of war-torn heroes. There is a certain intimacy that covers the theatre; the projector light bounces off eager faces and the smell of hot popcorn gives everyone that common ground of nostalgia. The crowd is looking to be as varied as the line-up of films. You’d find everyone here that’s typical of a film screening; the obnoxious guy in the front telling everyone to shut up, the equally obnoxious couple behind you talking about nothing in-particular and the rowdy people in the next row offering pre-show entertainment. Except there’s nothing typical about Short & Sweet.
From animation and dark comedy to music videos and conceptual pieces, the short films selected that night left the audience in a changing state of being. Each with its own ident (a short and sweet ad), the short films and sheer charm of the event left the dismal atmosphere outside happily forgotten. The mish-mash of hilariously nasty, over-the-top, enlightening and down-right engaging international and local short films (along with the free Cutty Sark Whiskey) were enjoyed by everyone present. One of the guests had this to say:
If nothing else, the selection of films was well curated – whoever is putting the line-up together is rather well-versed and realizes the profundity for the evocative power of short films. In the cramped space of a few minutes, there’s enough time to articulate, but not exhaust a concept or thought.
Elements - the contribution from AFDA Film School student, Lukas Kuhne – was purely an exercise in cinematography and how to do it just right. I caught up with him to find out how this little gem came to be:
What inspired you to produce a love story? Was it personal experience or just something you’ve always wanted to do?
This is a question I always dread. We were asked to do a short experimental film at AFDA, where I’m currently studying. The explanation doesn’t always come out as clear as I would have liked, but I wanted to show the turmoil and the conflict that comes with trying to deal with certain elements of ourselves as well as those in other people. With her being wind and him being water, he tries to write a poem but the ink keeps getting washed away, while every time she tries to draw, her pencils and paper keep blowing away. It shows how we hinder ourselves with our internal fears… for example the fear of rejection. But in the same vein those things about them complement each other, where her wind element dries him, and his water element gives her purpose…The film gives commentary to any relationship, especially the relationship with oneself.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on my graduation piece for AFDA at the moment, which is going to be a comedy. I find that these are a lot more fun to do.
And what’s next for Short & Sweet? For the moment, there’s another two more screenings lined up – Tuesday 28 August and Tuesday 4 September. And after that, well, Julia has a few more events in the pipeline, so stay posted to our Twitter and Facebook for updates!
Article by: Shiba Melissa Mazaza
Photography: Giuseppe Russo