By Robert BellIt wouldn't be a complete short film festival without at least one program dedicated to the nature of love and romance, given the universality and ubiquity of the subject. And while some of these shorts detail relationships and the process of dating, others are more incidental and thematically perplexing, making sure that things don't get too saccharine and repetitive.
Starting things out is animated short Bob, wherein a hamster relentlessly chases down a love interest, only to discover something alarming about her, which transitions smoothly to comic documentary Power of Love, wherein Kenyan Celine Dion fans are interviewed, expanding upon their love of the idiosyncratic French-Canadian singing sensation.
Blind Date is one of the better titles of the fest, detailing the connection of singles Rachel and Daniel at a pub where Rachel is to meet up with someone else for (you guessed it) a blind date. Capturing the awkward pauses and initial excitement of meeting someone new, this short balances comedy and drama perfectly, revealing characters looking for a connection no matter how fleeting.
On the documentary front, Danny & Annie animates the retelling of a relationship between a betting clerk and a nurse, which is brief and forgettable, unlike the melancholic and touching Endless Love, wherein a 90-year-old couple discusses reconnecting after a 60-year absence.
Along the Road has a decidedly different tone, featuring a clandestine homosexual union interrupted by the unexpected presence of a wife and children, which has a similar aesthetic to Man's Best Friend, a short that details the relationship between a depressive security guard and his narcoleptic dog.
On the comedy front, 12 Years is the creepily animated story of two dogs reliving a marriage of disappointment, only to resolve the issue shockingly, much like Bare Knuckle Duet, a film about exes that battle over the use of a bridge for personal artistic expression, only the latter film doesn't feature any blood.