TV Review | In Short 1.1, 1.2 – “Pride/Humility,” “Envy/Kindness”

In Short (Bravo!: Bravo!FACT/Bell Media, 2011) is an hour-long short-film program.  I don’t understand why short films aren’t televised more often.  If they are, they’re in shows like In Short and its spiritual predecessor, Bravo!FACT Presents.  At least Bravo! still funds new shorts, something The Comedy Network doesn’t do enough of.

In Short‘s chief weakness reveals itself within the first viewing.  In Short mostly shows clips from the shorts themselves, rather than the full shorts.  In effect, this is a long-form advertisement for Bravo!FACT.

I don’t like Pride (2011), the first entry in In Short‘s Seven Sins series, and the short that kicks off the “Pride/Humility” premiere.  It has a nice backstory – Joe Cobden’s director character gets 40 shmups on Craigslist to stand in front of a green screen, while the director strokes himself onscreen and through voiceover.  The film’s only two minutes long, yet I got its gist within thirty seconds.

Bruce McDonald’s Envy (2011) begins In Short‘s second episode, “Envy/Kindness.”  Much of his short is random footage of birds flying around, but at least McDonald makes good use of the two-minute format.  This shouldn’t be surprising, as McDonald has been a stalwart Canadian director for decades.

The Alex Epstein-directed You Are So Undead (2010) is featured quite heavily in “Envy/Kindness.”  This short won a 2011 Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award for Lisa Hunter.  You Are So Undead is not as clever as it thinks it is, given how it liberally steals a page from the Ginger Snaps horror-as-teen-metaphor playbook.  At least You Are So Undead shows vampires as vampires, and not as magic sparkling emos with anger issues.

As for the other shorts dotting In Short‘s first two episodes, they’re uneven.  Mike Hollenbeck’s Shpourky & Ombra (2010) looks well-animated, from the minute of stop-motion footage shown.  The story is slight, but the visuals are fairly strong.

Isaac Cravit’s Living History (2010) is fun.  Matthew Rankin and Alek Rzeszowski’s Où est Maurice? (2006) is endearingly stupid.  Most of the Bravo!FACT shorts tend to blur into either dull or “edgy” earnestness, so those three titles stood out the most for me.

If the objective of In Short is to draw online attention to films made through Bravo!FACT, here’s its relatively new YouTube account.  I don’t expect Bell Media to promote In Short half as much as The Borgias, but I wonder how well Bravo!FACT’s shorts are promoted.  As of this writing, most of the YouTube videos have views in the tens.  It’s almost like the videos are orphaned children, though Bravo!FACT’s YouTube only launched a few weeks ago.

At least In Short‘s online brother, Planet Sin, is robust.  Planet Sin would make more sense coming from VisionTV, but I’m not going to question a formula that works.

C. Archer
Le Social