Showcase 1 is titled “Life’s a Journey, Not a Race,” which feels a bit misleading since the films we were able to preview went by pretty quickly. But despite the quick runtime, most of them tended to stay with us, which is a good thing when you’re marathoning two hours worth of short films at a time.
This richly animated story about a retired mountain climber overcoming new obstacles seems to heavily borrow from Pixar’s Up, both indesign and spirit. But that’s not a bad thing: here, too, we are joyfully reminded that the strength to persevere comes from within.
Shining Star of Losers Everywhere
This standout short—the unlikely story of persistence from a small corner of Japan—is exhilarating. Its impeccably woven animation and documentary footage narrate how a struggling local racetrack bets big on a perennially losing racehorse, Haru Urara. In the process, the racehorse becomes a national symbol for hope. But if this isn’t enough of an endorsement, Shining Star of Losers Everywhere carries the stamp of approval as a short produced by ESPN’s critically acclaimed 30 For 30 series.
Tallest Race on Two Wheels
Don’t call it a big wheel. This dynamically shot film about the penny farthing bike race in Frederick, Maryland—“the only high wheel race of its kind”—will give you a new appreciation for cycling culture.
On The Run
This French short trails a man with 10 minutes to run home or his wife catches him in an adulterous lie. But the question wryly shifts from, “Will he make it?” to “Does he want to?”
Where We Begin
An ambitious story that uses dance to illustrate the life and love of an elderly woman at the end of her life. While the high drama production may not appeal to all, one underwater sequence gives it a gothic touch that justifies the conceit.
Showcase 1 screens Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11 at 5 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.
*Not all screenings in this showcase were available for WCP to preview.