You might have heard the term "mumblecore" recently and are wondering where it came from and what it means. I'm still trying to figure that out myself. Here's what I know: In 2005, Andrew Bujalski (Mutual Appreciation) gave an interview to IndieWIRE in which he mentioned the term "mumblecore" as a name for a new indie-film movement. (The term allegedly came from Eric Masunga, the sound mixer on Bujalski's Funny Ha-Ha.) At SXSW this year, the term "mumblecore" was invoked everywhere -- the cast of Joe Swanberg's film Hannah Takes the Stairs included several mumblecore filmmakers, and SXSW Film Festival head Matt Dentler called the film "the blockbuster of this movement." Aaron Hillis actually created a groovy chart that linked many of the mumblecore gang together on different projects. But none of this is giving you a clear definition, is it?
As I see it (and you should feel free to correct me), "mumblecore" refers to a group of American filmmakers who tend to work on each other's movies, and whose films are performance-based and focus on the everyday problems, often about relationships, of middle-class twentysomethings. Some examples besides the above-mentioned films might include Susan Buice and Arin Crumley's 2005 feature Four-Eyed Monsters; The Puffy Chair, from brothers Jay and Mark Duplass; and Orphans, Ry Russo-Young's film that won a special jury award at SXSW this year (Buice and Russo-Young are in the minority as female filmmakers among the mumblecore guys).
So this week's Eat My Shorts includes a sampling of films from some of the Mumblecorps, as the group is also called, mostly from their earlier filmmaking days. Every short film on the following list ties in with one of the others -- the editor of one may be the director of another and the star of a third. These shorts tend to be funny rather than angst-y, but with some genuine emotion behind the laughs at times. Whether you're mumblecore or working on your own shorts, feel free to email me links to any shorts available to watch online: shorts AT cinematical DOT com.