“What The Fuck” Award: “Split”
Directed by: Andy Stewart
Runtime: 17 minutes
Based on his body of work, Glasgow’s Andy Stewart is a fascinating filmmaker, but maybe not the type of guy you’d want to have a beer with. His debut film, “Dysmorphia,” also screened at BAFF in 2013 and quickly earned Stewart a reputation as one sick monkey. His newest short, “Split,” does nothing to dispel this reputation, but adds an impressive amount of depth to his steadily growing filmography.
“Split” chronicles a man’s depression following a nasty breakup. Easily going toe-to-toe with masters like David Cronenburg, Stewart uses his knack for graphic body horror as a gruesome visual simile for the protagonist’s mental state. As the protagonist falls further into depression, his body steadily degrades into mucus and puss covered decay. Even at 17 minutes, it’s a hard film to watch and it clearly deserves the BAFF 2014 “What the Fuck” award.
You can learn more about Andy Stewart and “Split” at the film’s official website.
Best Local “Golden Shovel” Award: “Hellyfish”
Directed by: Patrick Longstreth and Robert McLean
Runtime: 13 minutes
Full Movie embed: http://youtu.be/nrmziUUzNrI
“Hellyfish” boasts a surprisingly slick production quality for a small, locally crafted independent project. The film is overflowing with enough CG monsters and digital gore to rival the likes of “Piranha” and “Anaconda.” The plot is no less campy than those films either. A couple of terrorist spies attempt to recover a nuclear weapon at the bottom of the ocean but accidentally trigger the bomb instead, setting off a Jellyocalypse at a nearby beach.
Directors Patrick Longstreth and Robert McLean have an obvious adoration of goofy creature features and “Hellyfish” is more a gleeful homage than a smirking satire. The film may be light on substance, but it makes up for the shallowness in sheer spectacle. “Hellyfish” was definitely a standout entry at this year’s BAFF.
You can learn more about “Hellyfish” at the official website and you can see the full movie below.
Local Runner-Up “Silver Spade” Award: “Goat Witch”
Directed by: James Sizemore
Runtime: 13 minutes
“Goat Witch” may have only taken home the “Silver Spade” at the 2014 BAFF, but it was undeniably one of the best films of the festival. Director James Sizemore’s short is creepy, well acted and filled with jaw-dropping practical effects. Labeling a film as “independent” normally carries the stigma of being cheaply made, but “Goat Witch” is a professional and quality production that overshadows most of Hollywood’s schlocky horror.
The set up is simple enough. A witch looking to transcend the physical plain ropes her lesbian lover into participating in a satanic ritual that becomes far more serious than anticipated. Sizemore doesn’t pull any punches, rolling out horrifying, DelToro level beasties and even a little dark humor. “Goat Witch” is the sort of film you go to film festivals hoping for.
You can see the full film here and the “making of” video below.