Young Guns

Area directors show their stuff.


runs July 17-21 at Little Theatre

Created in the wilds outside Monroe, Wash., the short film Professional Courtesy sends its camera slithering ominously through bracken ferns and mossy firs, and for a moment you hope that something out of The Blair Witch Project is going to burst from the woods. Alas, there is no breakout effort among the 30-odd locally made flicks being showcased by the Northwest Film Forum (which helped produce them all), but Courtesy and a few others are relative hits among the relative misses.

Shot on formats from Super-8 to 35mm to digital video, the short films' subjects range from medieval thieves vying for a magical medallion (Courtesy) to corporatized families shedding unwanted children (Downsizing) to a hantavirus epidemic in the Southwest (Muerto Canyon).

Wednesday offers Super-8 titles at 7 and 8:30 p.m., including the cool, psychedelic Light Painting #1 and the ominous Tested. The highlight of Friday's shorts (7 p.m.) has to be Symphony in Estrus, a bizarre, extremely colorful stop-motion animation work featuring a stuffed cat, a snail-like creature, and a fetus that looks like Charles Laughton. Full of larvae, effluvia, pupae, and foaming reproductive organs, it's like a biology primer by David Lynch and the Brothers Quay.

Saturday's shorts (7 p.m.) include the polished, evocative Passion and the fairly nutty Apoplexy, which offers the familiar sight of director Andy Spletzer exiting the Lusty Lady and the unfamiliar sight of him playing golf! (Who knew he was such a polymath?) Afterward, there's something called Gory, Gory Hallelujah at 8:30 p.m.

And if you love REO Speedwagon's "Keep On Loving You,"check out the parodic '80s Ending #30 among Sunday's shorts (7 p.m.). Two features are also shown Sunday: Mulletville and Shag Carpet Sunset.

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