Nordic Giants and Shorts International

Promo1SimonDylanThe Cinecity event at Playgroup Brighton‘s Blind Tiger bar and music venue opened with a looped series of local and international short films, which led up to an AV experience from Brighton band NORDIC GIANTS, who performed live original soundtracks to a backdrop of award winning short films provided by Shorts International.
A lively, open-plan venue with a shabby genteel attitude, the Blind Tiger was as usual infested with hipsters, interrupted by the odd Harold Pinter or Scroobius Pip lookalike. It was difficult to hear the films over the noisy, welcome rhubarb of anticipation. Many of the short films screened in the lead up to the main event were a real treat.

Written and directed by Atul Taishete, REWIND is the first Indian short film to enjoy an all-India release. It has been screened at several festivals and taken over for international distribution by Shorts International (who are the largest short film distributor in the world). It’s a beautiful, ominous and elegant film shot entirely in reverse, featuring backwards smoking from both guns and cigarettes. The best use of this technique since that “Red Dwarf” episode.

SHE FARTED AND CREATED THE WORLD is by Scott Coello, a freelance artist and musician. Dedicated to a spayed dog, the ultra cutesy naif decoupage animation uses scrap paper and CGI. It’s the soundtrack that made this short stand out. The modest grandiosity of the music and accessibility of the visuals will surely win Coello the opportunity to sell out to a mobile phone advertising campaign.

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Award winning commercial directors Smith and Foulkes’ take their dry humour and animation style from Henry Selick, and their sense of fun from Disney – in particular, DUMBO’s “Pink Elephants On Parade”. THIS WAY UP isn’t particularly original, but it’s very deft and accomplished.

JOJO IN THE STARS is an animation from Studio Aka. Directed by Marc Craste, this one has won a BAFTA. It’s a charcoal sentimental love story with a cast of kawaii creatures; a Garden of Earthly Delights filled with escapees from the tat shelf in Forbidden Planet.

The film that launched the Nordic Giants’ set was David Jackson’s LAST BREATH, a simple riff on the currently popular apocalypse/societal breakdown theme. A group of scuba divers emerge from a dip to find that there is nothing left in the world to breathe, save for what they have in their tanks.  It’s an apocryphal but daring and violent piece, and it’s available for less than two quid on iTunes.

The two-piece post-rock band presented as the bastard grandchildren of Russell Brand and Russell Brand, if Russell Brand had been stranded on the island from “Lord of the Flies”. Drumkit attacks, bowed guitar and strumpetting brass formed the backbone of this ethereally cacophonous performance, accompanied at one point by on-screen acapella from the bluesy Jake Reid. The melodrama of LAST BREATH lent itself well as the bookend screening to the event, and some of the music seemed to have been choreographed to fit the action, but many of the shorts in between were swamped or upstaged by their glorious, jarring accompanists.

Not particularly well advertised, this was an excellent experience which the Nordic Giants are touring around London in similar form over the coming months.  They have only been performing for about a year, but under the wing of seasoned manager Ciara Nolan the talented musicians have developed a seemingly effortless showmanship which must be experienced live, complete with cinematic amuse-gueules.

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