Future Shorts film screenings

Future Shorts film screenings started in 2003 and have since spread worldwide. This phenomenon includes Finland, where film enthusiasts can attend regular screenings across the country. I went to check out the March session in Helsinki at one of my favourite venues, Cafe Mascot, in the Kallio region of Helsinki. The front row seats were arranged for viewing and the venue was full Entry was a mere 2€ cloakroom fee, which means that the price of the screening license was not even passed on to the watchers. All of the films had English subtitles.

Future Shorts logo

There were three hours of screenings arranged, with toilet and drink breaks each hour. The programme is arranged so that the first hour is dedicated to local productions and the rest of the night is a showcase of international films. This month Teemu Nikki was the featured Finnish artist. Three shorts were shown: The Opportunist (Menestyjä ) – 2006, about a young boy who take the opportunity to improve his life by switching parents ;  Mother doesn’t bowl anymore (Äiti ei enää keilaa) – 2009, about a Nazi-sympathiser who suspects his brother of having murdered their mother while he was doing time;  A perfect day (Hyvä päivä) – 2011, which concerns a man who returns to work for the first time since finding himself in a wheelchair.

I can only say positive things about Teemu Nikki’s films. I’m sure that makes me a terrible critic, but thankfully this isn’t a blog for critique. The dry, dark, realist humour has the very Finnish flavour and I’m particularly fond of it. The social issues tackled – inequality in from birth, racism and disabilities to name the most obvious – were handled incisively and in a matter-of-fact manner. There was no messing around pretending the audience needed it watered down, but at the same time the films did not feel crude or sensationalist, probably in large part to the wry humour and ordinary-looking environments and actors.

Teemu appears to have a Viimeo channel with a short called A Fish Story on it, so I can at least show you this:

A Fish Story from Teemu Nikki on Vimeo.

Okay, enough about Mr. Nikki. There were other films shown following his. An eclectic mixture of animation and acting that should have provided something for everyone in the audience, as could be garnered from the conversation next to me after the first film, a very visual and surreal affair, which went something like this:

Woman:      Cool!
Friend:        I thought it was shit.
Laughter breaks out in the surrounding tables and the audience applauds the film.

The shorts shown were:

  • Skream – Listening To Records On My Wall, David Wilson, 2010
  • Potilas, Misko Iho, 2011
  • La Parabolica, Xavi Sala, 2007
  • September, Esther May Campbell, 2008
  • What Light (Through Yonder Window Breaks), Sarah Wickens, 2009
  • Matter Fisher, David Prosser, 2010
  • Bitch, Dom Bridges, 2008
  • Much Better Now, Philipp Comarella, Simon Griesser, 2011
I found myself sucked into September, a romance story of a service station worker who encounters a young woman undergoing paranormal training and is encouraged to break out of the drudgery of day to day life, but I didn’t feel that many others in the audience remained engaged throughout. It was one of the longer offerings, along with Potilas, which had quite a slow start but became more engaging as the plot unravelled. La Parabolica was another with an intentionally slow start, but it held a strong message about isolation, globalisation and information overload that was worth waiting for.
Of the animations, Matter Fisher got a very good response from the audience, but not quite as much from me. It had some very detailed artwork and switched from animation that resembled 3D spaces to animation of 2D spaces throughout and, particularly at the end, made use of this manipulation of space to chance perceptions of size. Much Better Now was cute and reminded me of early Pixar shorts. What Light (Through Yonder Window Breaks) was deceptively simple-looking; the time and skill that went into animating light sources in a  believable manner impressed me.
Mascot being primarily a music venue, there was also a DJ and a band after the event, too. It makes for a very good Saturday night out and I’ll definitely be going again.

You can follow Future Shorts Finland on Facebook for upcoming events and check out the March program in Tampere and Rovaniemi:

17.3. TAMPERE @ Kahvila Hertta 20.00 
@ Kauppayhtiö 21.00

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our blog on Facebook too. 😉

Edit: 19/03/2012 – correction provided by reader


4 thoughts on “Future Shorts film screenings

  1. April I presume? Pulled them out of the table so that they’re easier to read:

    07-Apr Finland Tampere Kulttuurikahvila Hertta
    07-Apr Finland Helsinki Cafe Mascot
    13-Apr Finland Rauma Kahvila Soppi
    14-Apr Finland Oulu Elokuvateatteri Studio
    20-Apr Finland Rovaniemi Kauppayhtiö
    21-Apr Finland Tampere Breakfast Club

  2. great read! i would appreciate if u would change the names in the shortfilm list :
    “Much Better Now, Lip Alpin Comarella, 2011” into “Much Better Now, Philipp Comarella, Simon Griesser 2011”

    ciao thx


  3. Thanks for the review and we’re glad you enjoyed our club! Heads up for the next event, the films are going to be awesome – http://futureshorts.com/calendar-city-screenings.php Including fresh work from Spike Jonze and sequel to one of my all time favorite Future Shorts film “Spider”, shown in 2006. “Spider” is online nowadays via Blue Tongue here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmbv8kevQ-E&feature=plcp&context=C4d46858VDvjVQa1PpcFMEshES_h4fzxmJ1ZsPtYB9NjiMRywtCrs%3D

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