The 56th edition of the Zinebi Express contest was presented on Tursday 13th, 2014 in the Bilbao Alhondiga with the city as “vanishing point”. More than 300 people participated and 23 short films were selected to be show on the festival. The shorts had a good story or shots, but not both. All of them are available on the ZinebiExpress YouTube channel.
Locktown Films “Faint” won the first prize for its cinematography and color correction even it overexplained the vanishing point with a man talking alone. It was a good visual thriller with raccord errors that made the audience laugh. The director overkilled it saying that they were high when they made it.
Second place was for Juan Zubillaga’s “Polysemy”, which also hadn’t much substance but was well recorded. It transmits emotions using shots from Bilbao with no characters until the third act, where it looks like a completely different short. At least it had the best shot in the entire contest.
A lot of shorts broke the silent or non musical tone they established since the beginning just to add unnaturally Toccata and Fugue. Polysemy was really rude with that, people asked if it ended abruptly or we were in the same short. A lot of raccord or pacing mistakes were prized over the content. Fortunately, Zubillaga was thankful thought everyone because he can have a movie career now at the 70 years old.
Erik Legardi’s “The ideal city” was patethic both for winning the third prize, as a short and speech: that they needed 46 hours to make it, like everybody. It tried to be different just speaking French, I wonder if an African language could get the first prize just for that. The short was about a girl stealing a picture with vanishing point, the most literal interpretation of the theme was overrated by the judges.
Underrated and overrated comedies
Deconstructing was a recurrent formula in the shorts, used in different and original ways: “A-Z of Film” was like a fashion commercial with a model telling the alphabet, “Discord Point” was a trailer with interviews to explain the vanishing point isn’t a real theme, “Toccata and Fugue” was a dark comedy playing with the pretentiousness and “Short love story in the 1986 winter, Part 2” was a tongue-in-cheek musical.
Even the not so good comedies were better than the shorts about men talking alone in the woods for dive minutes. Some bad comedies hurt for the obviousness. The least bad of them was “Siyusun”, which at least ends before it can bore, unlike “Fugakami”. The mentioned short is a static shot about two hipsters overly caricaturized with overused jokes.
But the most painful comedy to watch was “Vintage”, which felt like a Fugagami mockbuster with jokes out from a spoof movie. “Vanishing movement” tried something different but didn’t pay-off since it bet everything to the climactic joke. I can defend the comedies if they didn’t make me laugh or think, they should have deconstructed something not as overused.
There were also good comedies which made me wanting more like the made in Bilbao Asterix parody “Operation Ponytails”, mockumental “Limbo” and the musical. Some of them were mostly filmed on the street and they could be heard properly, that wasn’t valued as much.
Genderless, questionable, boring monologues
“Careful” was bad just for some technical problems on the sound, but the idea was great and unique. Even the silly comedies are more memorable than the lonely men talking alone in the woods for five minutes. But maybe not as “Wedding ahoy”, a genderless short with long and boring dialogues that pretend to be comedy using simple shots, pain in the neck love story, over explanation of the vanishing point and the worst meta-humor I heard in a long time.
Men talking alone should be it own genre right now, “Shewer Nights” and “Behind scene” are the worst shorts by far not adding anything. “City Nocturnals” tried at least a little twist with a woman walking on Bilbao searching the vanishing point that you only understand reading the contest’s bases.
Another shorts-breaking detail was the “typical piano”, especially on pretentiousness. “The porthole” almost saved from this because the cinematography, interesting locations and machinery. It also had the best sound edition, but so exaggerated that became a comedy for the viewers.
“To see you smiling” was a one-shot wonder well recorded and acted, until it sacrificed the credibility for the typical piano at the end. “Encounter, and end” does that one shot travelling in the side of the river. The other shorts were “Uroboros Profugere” with is traveler ball and “Irrational Fear”, which only works in the conversations.
Going to the Zinebi Express festival has been a great experience, better than watching bad movies alone. I would love to participate as a contestant next year, only to see if my short would be showed. Because to win, I would need to make a boring monologue and I don’t want to.
Giving abstract themes to promote creativity doesn’t mean nothing if they only will value the cinematography. If the theme would be just Bilbao, it would be more advantageous. The fact that men talking alone shorts were overrated is the only thing that separates me to respect their decisions. Not a single deconstruction, comedy or one-shot was prized.