Plot: What’s it about?
As the format of DVD has expanded, the uses for it have grown and become quite broad. This release uses the format like a magazine, you can browse different areas and content only instead of reading interviews and such, you simply watch and listen to the articles. Instead of focusing on shorts or music like some more specific type DVD magazines, Film-Fest offers a wide look at many topics and ways of exploring those topics. This is my first experience with Film-Fest and I am pleased with what I have seen. The menus look smooth and are easy to navigate at all times, while the content is worthwhile and fun to watch. If you’re interested in seeing some terrific pieces on the people and events around cinema, this is a series worth checking out. The content is divided into four areas and I will detail them below. In the Features area you’ll find a very informative piece on the Toronto Film Festival, which contains interviews with several entrants into the festival as well as some celebrities. You’ll also see some clips and descriptions behind some of the films, which is very cool. In between the clips the filmmakers give some insight into their films and explain why we should see them. Another film festival is shown next, the FICS festival in Chile and we follow the cofounder of the Slamdance Film Festival as he explores the festival. You’ll see chaos unfolds in the streets of Chile as well as learn about some of the entries into the festival. The last piece is an interview with new director Kevin Jordan and his buddies in which he explains his feelings about the festival showing of his film.
The next section is titled Festival Shorts and contains just that, a series of shorts from the festivals, what else would you expect from the name? The first short is Desserts which was written and directed by Jeff Stark. This short features Ewan McGregor and his discovery of a dessert treat in the middle of the nowhere. Who planted this delicious morsel and why? I guess you’ll have to watch and find out. I thought this was a very funny and entertaining short and recommend it. The next short is When The Day Breaks which is an animated piece which explores the breakfast routines of different animals. This might seem simple at first, but the short soon becomes complicated as the morning passes. Again this is a well executed short that I can recommend without hesitation. Next is The Robber which is my favorite of the included shorts. When a robber finds his plans foiled and his butt kicked by the woman he tried to rob, he has to find a way to escape the house. The last short is Dolphins, a beautifully captured and unusual short. I don’t think I can do this justice with a synopsis, so make sure to check it out for yourself.
The third area is titled interviews and contains just that, interviews. The first is with Jim Jarmusch and makes for a very interesting viewing. He discusses his relationship with Spike Lee, his feelings and experiences with film festivals, music, and much more. If you’re a fan of Jarmusch’s movies then this would be an interview you won’t want to miss. The next interview is with master documentary filmmaker Errol Morris and focuses on his most recent effort, Mr. Death. I enjoyed Mr. Death and I think anyone else who enjoyed it should give this interview a glance. Morris also talks about differences in film stock and where he thinks the industry is going in that area. The final interview is with Harry Connick, Jr., makes for yet another terrific viewing chance. He is joined by the director of his latest effort Wayward Son and the two discuss the film, where it came from, and why it went the ways it did. The final area is titled Coming Soon and offers some glimpses at (then) upcoming films and releases. You’ll notes for the period film Onegin as well as three clips from the movie, which whets the appetite if you haven’t seen it as of yet. Jim Jarmusch’s latest film is up next, Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai. The theatrical trailer is included for Ghost Dog. Two clips and some notes have been included for East Is East, which seems like it will be worth a look to be sure. The last entry in this section is for the urban based Black & White and you can view three clips from the film or read some notes.
Video: How does it look?
The overall image varies from clip to clip, but on the whole I am pleased with the visual presentation. When needed the image was switched from full frame to widescreen which is always nice, though anamorphic would have been even nicer. The colors seem bright and sharp when they need to be and I didn’t see any discoloration or smears. The contrast is usually deep and correct, with complex shadows and no detail loss I could see. I didn’t notice any compression errors, which means some care was taken when authoring this disc.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio varied also from each clip to the next, but again the overall audio experience was a pleasant one. The surrounds don’t see much action but then again the material doesn’t call for it, so I am not unhappy. The effects and music always sound crisp and clear and dialogue is sharp and at a proper volume at all times.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Several bonus interview clips play on the menus and are fun to watch and listen to. You’ll hear from Elton John, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon, and Natalie Portman.