Lucky 7 Newport Beach Film Festival Live Action-Meets-Animation Mind Melds

Categories: Film

Tito's Handmade Vodka: the breakfast of champions

The biggest news as the Newport Beach Film Festival opened its 15th run last night was not the opening night world premiere of Lovesick, a romantic comedy starring Matt LeBlanc of Friends and Episodes fame. It's that after more years and hangovers than I can remember, the official vodka sponsor is no longer Absolut but Tito's Handmade Vodka.

We'll see (or be rendered unable to see) how the free-flowing elixir out of the Mockingbird Distillery in Austin, Texas, alters our brain chemistry after samplings from the opening-night party at Fashion Island, in-between parties all over the place and the closing-night party at Lido Village.

Come to think of it, the mind melding already began with the previews of the following seven short films (which include some music videos: deal!) playing during NBFF 2014. Each blend animation with live action and/or still images to produce something akin to your favorite vodka-infused dream/nightmare.

1. The Last Time I Saw Richard


Jonah is a teen who pretty much runs the mental health clinic holding him as a patient. But his new roommate Richard is not the only one moving in, he's just the only one seen in the waking state. Writer-director Nicholas Verso's freakout dream sequences are the best parts of this 22-minute creeper out of Australia that relies on animated little buggers who'll suck the life out of your open mouth as you sleep just like your pet cat does. This screens as part of Sunday's 8 p.m. Horror Shorts program at The Triangle in Costa Mesa.

2. M.O.


Frankly, I don't know what all the Czech Republic's Jakub Kouril relies on in this six-minute ditty, but if I had to guess I'd say stop-motion animation and puppetry mostly. And silhouetted live action, perhaps? Sure looked real. Guess I should have paid more attention during that Pixar tour. Anyway, whatever Kouril has in his bag of tricks it effectively helps tell his lonliness tale about a granny relying on M.O. (mail order, or is it male order?) to get herself a fella. Look for the irony at the trash can. This screens as part of Sunday's 8:30 p.m. Mind Over Short Matters program at The Triangle.

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