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Featured DVD Review: Festival Selects: Best Lesbian Shorts and Best Gay Shorts

May 16th, 2011

Festival Selects - buy from Amazon: Best Lesbian Shorts and Best Gay Shorts

Short films are a bit of a niche market, as are films aimed at the LGBT community. So odds are these two DVDs will fall between the cracks, but to they deserve a wider audience, or are their strictly for the niche market they are aimed at?

Best Lesbian Shorts

  1. 25 Random Things I Did During My Big Fat Lesbian Depression
    When Chris Russo was dumped, on Facebook, she took it rather hard. She tried just about everything to get over the breakup. We get a list of some of those random attempts to get over depression. It's mostly rapid-fire jokes and while it gets a little repetitive, it's also funny.
  2. At the End of the Street
    A Polish film about a woman, Alexandra, trying to get back the last of her stuff, a table, a table her ex is currently using for a dinner party. At least that's the pretense she uses to try and get her girlfriend back. Her plan doesn't work, but while dragging her table through the streets at night, a man offers to help her and she learns a bit more about loss.
  3. Birthday
    Like the previous film, this one is directed by Jenifer Malmqvist, but this one is Swedish. Sara is preparing a 40th Birthday party for her wife, Katrina, with their daughter, Johanna and their friend, Fredrik. Sara wants to have another child with Katrina, but Katrina and Fredrik have something they need to tell her. A good character driven short that is longer than most on this DVD and that allows for more depth.
  4. Parental Guidance
    Two seven-year old kids are trapped on a camping vacation with their parents, her two moms and his two dads. While the parents fight, the two kids discuss it in a way that I think is supposed to be ironic, but it doesn't work for me. It's just trying way too hard.
  5. Public Relations
    Summer Bishil stars as Sara and Sienna Farall stars as Genevieve, two PR assistants working for horrors of clients, Candice and Stella, who just happen to be sisters. They've talked over the phone every day for years, but never met, since one works in the L.A. branch and the other in New York City. But when Candice packs up for L.A., they get a chance to meet for the first time.
  6. Swimming
    A musical with singer / songwriter Phranc as a lifeguard who falls in love with a woman looking for swimming lessons.
  7. Tech Support
    A very irate customer of Pomegranate Computers calls tech support when she can't transfer her files from his desktop to her laptop. The call isn't going well, till they both let it slip that they were dumped by their girlfriends. That's not the only thing they have in common either. It's a little cheesy, but fun.
  8. Tools 4 Fools
    Tired of paying retail for sex toys? Then head on down to Tools 4 Fools. A great parody of the over-the-top commercials you'd see on local cable channels for used cars, but for used sex toys. Tasteless, but funny.
  9. You Move Me
    Dex is helping Tru move her stuff out of her ex's place. But their plan to get in, get her stuff, and get out doesn't go that smoothly. And for the record, yes, bees do leave their dicks behind, and no I didn't have to Google that.

The Verdict

There are nine shorts on this DVD, of those I would recommend seven, which is an excellent hit to miss ratio. On the other hand, there are no extras, which is a bit disappointing. That said, I think the crossover appeal is high enough that it is worth checking out for most, picking up for many.

Best Gay Shorts

  1. After
    Three teens pine after the same jock. "Pine" might be too weak a word, but after we see how they feel, the short takes a tragic turn. After watching a DVD of mostly humorous lesbian shorts, this is quite a change of pace.
  2. Bedfellows
    Bobby goes to the same bar where his heart was broken by his best friend. Despite worrying about the bad memories associated with the place, he makes a connection with Jonathan. But will it be just a one-night stand? Or will it be something more? This short has some darker moments, like the first one, but it also has sweetness and romance. If the rest are as good as this one, I'll be very happy.
  3. Curious Thing
    Interviews with several gay men about relationships they had with straight men were used to create the story of Jared, a closeted gay man, and Sam a straight man, and the connection they have. It's a good story and I like the format, as it helps set the film apart.
  4. Gayby
    A straight woman, Jenn, wants to have a baby with her gay friend, Matthew, but she doesn't want to use artificial insemination, because she's too broke. She wants to get pregnant the old-fashioned way. This has bad idea written all over it. Some of it works, but it felt a little too sitcomy for me.
    Think Chatroulette but for gay people and less full-frontal male nudity. We bounce between more than two dozen men as they look to make a connection in rapid-fire combinations. It's a little hit and miss in terms of individual jokes, but overall enough works that it's fun.
  6. My Name is Love
    Love, a closeted gay man, meets Sebastian while walking home from a bar. It's difficult to discuss the rest of the plot without getting into spoilers. It is a very powerful, and disturbing story.
  7. Mouse's Birthday
    This one is hard to explain. It's a poem about a mouse, a cockroach and a gay man and the how they all come to nasty ends. It's made with a combination of costumes, puppets, and hand-painted backgrounds / greenscreen effects. Too strange for my taste.
  8. Steam
    Two men are trapped in a steam room together, and I don't mean the door is stuck, I mean there's no door at all. While they try and figure out where they are (Heaven? Hell?) And how to get out, they begin to talk and start to piece things together. A powerful story and a good way to end the DVD.

The Verdict

Eight shorts this time, but the hit to miss ratio is not quite as good with five solid shorts. Also, the eight films on average are a lot more dramatic and I think that those two points are related. It's a matter of personal taste. There are again no extras, so it is probably only really worth picking up if you are part of the target audience. Call it a solid rental, marginal purchase.

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