Future Shorts - Snafu, Aberdeen 25/10/12

The Future Shorts Film Festival is a pop-up festival set up by Future Shorts, a company that accepts short films from filmmakers around the world. The selected shorts are then promoted across the globe through the festival, often accompanied by live music and DJ sets.  It is an inclusive and accessible venture focused on promoting the creative community and any venue that wishes to host a screening can apply. Since its launch in November 2011, the festival has taken place in cities in over 170 countries, from London to Tokyo. On Thursday it was Aberdeen’s turn.

The first thing that struck me as I passed the bar of Snafu was how bizarre it was to see the dance floor set out with rows of chairs facing a projector screen at the front, but it worked quite well once the films were rolling. Fiona Soe Paing kicked off the event by introducing the music videos for her latest work, The Tower of Babel Trilogy.

Fiona is no stranger to film festivals as her previous project with Colliderscope, No Man’s Land, was featured in the Official Selection for the London Independent Film Festival 2010. The audio half of audio-visual duo Colliderscope, Fiona is a half-Scottish half-Burmese artist based in Aberdeen who creates minimal music she describes as “skeletal, off-world electronica”. Apt words, as The Tower of Babel Trilogy is engrossing and mesmerising, drawing you in without you even noticing it.

Abstract sounds and half-heard voices drift in and out while pulsating bass and stuttering beats punctuate the sonic landscape. Above all of this, Fiona’s haunting and provocative vocals hold your attention, communicating in a disorienting mixture of Scots, Burmese and nonsense words.
Meanwhile, the animations of New Zealander Zennor Alexander, the visual half of Colliderscope, guide the audience through a nightmarish world of fun houses, Morse Code and deserted cities. Like all the best music videos, Zennor’s visuals perfectly complement the distorted and disorienting music Fiona creates. No tour dates are planned as of yet, but to see Fiona perform these songs live with Zennor’s animations projected in the background, as she has done with No Man’s Land, would be an incredible experience.

The short films that followed were an interesting mix of efforts from rising filmmakers around the world. Films about rogue balloons in New York, an estranged father and son, a Swiss security guard, an Egyptian couple discussing sex in a Cairo coffee shop and a brief biography of John Baldessari (narrated by Tom Waits) made for an interesting and eclectic evening of film and music.

As the start to an exciting new series of screenings in Aberdeen, Future Shorts seems like the perfect platform for local filmmakers and musicians to collaborate and promote the creative community in Aberdeen.

Artists interested in getting involved with Future Shorts should check out the Future Shorts and Film Fund Initiative Facebook pages.