Ten Meter Tower

I’ve seen Ten Meter Tower twice, most recently as part of the Sundance Shorts event at the Wexner Center in Columbus. I liked it even more the second time.

Ten Meter Tower (2016) is a short study of people who are trying to decide whether to jump off the high dive for the first time. It’s a simple, universal concept — I think everyone has experienced the kind of conflicting pressures this film portrays.

The directors paid people who had never been up on the high dive before to climb up and walk to the edge of the platform. From there, we watch them decide whether to jump or climb back down. There’s pressure from the fact that the camera is watching; sometimes there’s another person present, and there’s pressure from them. There’s obviously fear involved in the decision as well — the platform is very high.

It’s interesting to see who jumps and who doesn’t. (I know which category I would fall into.) The film is elegantly done, with humor and respect for the participants. It’s a charming film that evokes personal reactions from the audience — there was occasional laughter and applause on both occasions when I saw it.

Here are a couple of links to more information about the film, including a New York Times interview with the directors and a short article from Colossal including the film itself.

 

Cool Short Films

Saturday night Steve and I went to the Wexner Center to see the Ohio Shorts film program. This was fun — there was a little bit of everything among the thirteen films, from artistic films to documentaries and animation.

I’m no expert on this subject of course, but I do like to talk about movies, so I thought I’d mention some of my favorites among the excellent entries in this program.

Into the Scrum (Rian Brown): This was a beautifully shot film with a fillip of added effects. It focuses on women who play college-level rugby, a rough, hard-hitting sport. We aren’t used to seeing women like this in film — exploring the aggressive, powerful side of themselves usually reserved to men in team sports. A link to  the trailer is here.

The Amerikans: Walter (Mika Johnson): This is one of a series of short films exploring various characters. This one is charming. It profiles a funeral director from Lorain, Ohio who also collects ties. Interesting world this man lives in, and a great interview for a short film! A link to the series is here.

Breezewood (Jonathan Tazewell and Jon Sherman): A lesson about bigotry here, as a young African-American girl experiences racism in Breezewood, PA in 1968. The acting was well-done too, and whoever organized the props and costumes was spot-on. A link to the IMDb listing is here.

Contact (Mitchell Rose): This one’s short — 3 minutes and 14 seconds. This film feels as if it’s showing the struggle of our daily lives, in dance. A man dances alone in a room, while others fling themselves at him in an attack or an attempt to influence him. Nicely done film. Here’s a link to the filmmaker’s website.

Living Room (Nikki Faye Heyman): This was a moving short film made in northeast Ohio. It focuses on three families who are homeless — the kind of people who exist in a separate world we don’t see, but where we could all be “but for the grace of God”. The parents discuss how they feel about the plight of their children as they struggle through homelessness.

Every film shown was fascinating in a different way. I don’t envy the judges who had to choose just one, and I actually didn’t even wait to see who the winner was. It’s kind of freeing to enjoy each film on its own merits without being influenced by someone else’s choice — even if it’s a knowledgeable choice!

The Wexner Center has been doing this short-film showcase for 18 years now, and I’m looking forward to next year.