National Screen Institute: Drama Prize Winners

National Screen Institute: Drama Prize Winners
Mostly stereotypical and issue-based, the National Screen Institute Drama Prize Winners are occasionally interesting but mostly forgettable, aside from the relatively inspired Auburn Hills Breakdown. Fat children, gay shooter boys, adulterous wives, landmines and WASPS are explored, critiqued and identified within this segment of shorts. If only abusive parents and mortally ill spouses were involved it would be a veritable cornucopia of after school special goodness.

Tigers at the Gate starts out the program with a look at the modern Indian gal and her observations on cultural stereotypes, as shown through non-diegetic on-screen inserts. Animated farts and roadrunner smoke highlight this playful but corny comedy of quirky characters. It thankfully has a cohesive vision, unlike the awkwardly assembled Dinx, about a half-naked shooter boy who just wants to dance on-stage and show strangers his junk. Childhood revelations show little insight into a negative gay stereotype who walks away from his "job” to have a one-night stand with a childhood friend.

As it is no longer trendy to discriminate against people based on their race or sexual orientation, people have shuffled their natural hatred of difference over to smokers and the obese. Poor Marjorie is a little fat girl in a Mary Kate Olsen world. Her mother restricts her diet and her classmates treat her like crap. When people name their children things like Marjorie or Bertha, they should realise that it is likely that their child will attain maximum density at some point or another.

Night Travellers finds Mika sneaking off in the wee hours of the night to fornicate with some dude in a cabin. Once her creepy father finds out, Mika must make a decision about how to deal with her self-created cage. There’s nothing new or unique here but the performance from the father character is unintentionally bizarre and disturbing.

Rounding out the program is the amusing satire The Auburn Hills Breakdown, about a family of cannibalistic hillbillies who find shelter with a perky WASP couple after their truck breaks down. The defiance of cinematic expectations mixed with pitch-perfect performances from the cast make this an entirely engaging short that isn’t perfect but shows some emerging talent.