Random Acts, Channel 4’s innovative short film programme, is a tricky animal to classify. It’s ostensibly a television series, collating handfuls of disparate short films into weekly half-hour episodes, but cinematic in spirit and scope. However, it’s online, where the films are archived following their TV premiere, that the youth-targeted project has really prospered. Not many people may be watching at midnight when the episodes first hit the airwaves, but the bite-size individual films (none longer than four minutes) are perfectly suited to streaming via social media. That they mostly hinge on stylistic novelty – the emphasis is on creative experimentation rather than standard scripted drama – helps the word of mouth along.
This year’s series started last Tuesday, kicking off on a particularly eye-popping note with German animator Brenda Lien’s Call of Cuteness, a witty, gruesomely imagined subversion of internet cat-video culture that may give the feline-inclined among us nightmares for a week.
Random - Word - Series - Talent - Spirit
Random is the operative word: that the series is geared mostly toward new talent lends it a spirit of suck-it-and-see browsing, though you’ll find the likes of a David Shrigley animation or a David Oyelowo Shakespearean reading nestled amid the unknown quantities. My favourite find so far: British animation duo Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling’s four-part cult item Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, a dark, deadpan, grimly philosophical sendup of children’s educational programming.
WAtch a trailer for Call of Cuteness.
Short - Film - Shrift - Column - Return
Short film tends to get short shrift in this column, so the return of Random Acts reminded me of another online goldmine I’ve been meaning to spotlight. The US-based Short of the Week is perhaps the biggest, brightest, most easily accessible shorts-oriented website around, living up to its straightforward name with a fresh weekly selection of films in a range of genres, adding to a free-to-view back catalogue of well...
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