Your mission this Memorial Day Weekend --- should you choose to accept it --- is to postpone seeing the latest big-budget lobotomathon and instead get an advance peek at the future of cinema. On Sunday, May 28, the School of Film and Animation at Rochester Institute of Technology is presenting their annual Honors Show, with more than 15 short works by RIT students filling the Little Theatre screen for two different shows, at 1 and 3:30 p.m. Remember, you only get one opportunity to be able to say, "I knew them when..." Here are a few highlights:
Rachel K. Sreebny, Brendan van Meter, and Mark Justison pooled their talents to create Clonal Eclipse of the Heart, combining live action and animation in a sweet short that tells the tale of Nate, a young man who really wants a girlfriend. Nate is "helped" in this quest by his bratty little sister, who supplies a cute robot, as well as cartoon space creatures, who send down Nate's clone to learn about "the human phenomenon called love." The slightly confusing plot is rendered forgivable thanks to immensely likeable lead Matt Risi, who plays the lovesick Nate. The clone is played by, um, Ratt Misi.
The Calabrian's Feast, Adrean Magiardi's senior thesis work, is a touching short that unfolds in the mind of a very old man after a sepia-toned photograph prompts memories of family, love, and loss to come rushing back, most to the sweeping sounds of opera. Magiardi shot Feast in his native Italy and the results are beautifully filmed, using natural Mediterranean light to luscious advantage. And in Bill Robinson's Love at First Roach, an amorous insect pitches woo at a ravenous rat in a filthy kitchen. Robinson fashionedRoach with 3-D animation software called Maya, and squalor and vermin have never looked so candy-colored and cheery.
Graduate student Adam Fisher painstakingly photographed each frame of the stop-motion The Ballad of the Purple Clam with a 35mm camera, allowing for a clever and satisfying short that features a cantankerous clam hunter (complete with New England accent) squaring off against the titular clam... and not for the first time, as we learn in flashback. I know I've come down a couple of times in this space on the reprehensible genre of vigilante films, but after seeing Purple Clam I must make an exception: Absolutely all art involving clay clam avengers is OK with me.
RITSchool of Film and Animation Honors Show (NR) plays Sunday, May 28, at the Little Theatre, 1 and 3:30 p.m. Admission is $5, or free with student ID.