For an emerging filmmaker, the Sundance Film Festival provides a starting point for the life span of a feature-length work. There's a far greater sense of immediacy, however, for the filmmakers involved in the shorts program, where a wide variety of material tends to begin circulating the festival world before fading into complete obscurity. That's why the short films that screened yesterday as part of the third annual Sundance Institute at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) signified the most important aspect of the two-week event: With few exceptions, the films on display received the kind of exposure that helped validate this frequently neglected format. While some of the titles are available on iTunes, many that were shown to a packed house finally got the long-delayed reception they deserved.
Animated efforts almost always offer the best ingredients in any shorts program, since it's here that you'll find a combination of inspired side projects from gainfully employed studio animators and the works of struggling independent artists. The latest program couldn't beat the sheer brilliance of cult animator Don Hertzfeldt's short Everything Will Be Ok in last year's showcase, but two particularly memorable films left distinct impressions this time around.