This year’s Cinequest San Jose Film Festival was held March 2 through 13, 2005 and included films offered on the Internet at the Cinequest Online Digital Theater. Using video-on-demand technology from Kontiki, many trailers, short films, and features can be downloaded to fans’ computers in exceptional quality through April 13, 2005. The availability of these independent films online heralds the rapidly approaching day when almost all content has moved online, with society-changing results.
“Still Life” is one of the shorts available from the “Viewers Voice Collection” in the Digital Theater. Directed by first time director Quan Hoang, the film has received a great deal of positive feedback from viewers. The film follows an excited artist as he visits a few friends prior to catching a cab to the airport. He is heading to Paris, France where an exhibit of his work will launch his career. Unfortunately, something is amiss as he is struck periodically by disturbing visions, leading to a dark secret that could undermine his chance at success.
The juxtaposition of the artist’s passion and excitement with the recurring vision generates great suspense throughout the short film until the jaw-dropping climax. What I enjoy most about this film is the naturalness of the acting and the insights about artists and their work. Several of the visuals are simply beautiful, including the rose during the ending credits. The official website for the short is also well done.
The examination of art through art (as in “Still Life”) and the distribution method for this film are important trends to watch. The old rules of distribution are undergoing rapid changes while new options are proliferating for artists at every skill level. The emergence of an independent passion enabled by technology is perhaps one of the most underappreciated aspects of accelerating progress in our time. Too many people dismiss technology as cold and distant. “Still Life” and its presentation online strongly suggest otherwise.