Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival

Among the 21 short films being screened in two packages, Andrew Bowler's Time Freak has the distinction of a recent Oscar nomination. The 11-minute comedy takes a Seinfeldesque look at time travel, in which a hapless young scientist never gets around to visiting ancient Rome or the dinosaurs. Instead, when his concerned roomie comes looking for him, poor Stillman (Michael Nathanson) confesses that he's been caught up in the trivia of the prior day--calling his parents, arguing with a dry cleaner, and desperately flirting with a pretty girl. "It's complicated" he moans to Evan (John Conor Brooke), "I wanted to get it right." But instead of wonderful discoveries and historical insights, Evan learns, Stillman has become a prisoner of his life's daily minutiae, trying frantically and conscientiously to rectify his every mistake--and there are plenty to correct in the film's well-edited montage of Stillman's blundering. "It's a snowball effect!" he despairs. Time Freak is a bit like Groundhog Day in miniature, with Stillman's tongue-tied flirting gradually becoming successful, he explains, "after a few hundred tries." Presented by SIFF and EMP. NOTE: Saturday shows sold out; Sunday show added at noon at SIFF Cinema at the Uptown. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Sat., Feb. 4, 4 & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 5, noon, 2012

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