HollyShorts 2020: Dust/Alter Presents the Best of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Block - Film Reviews

This year's HollyShorts festival is full of incredible films by many talented creators. While the festival has gone virtual this year, it's an impressive sight to see how many skilled artists brought their work to the world for this year's show. Science fiction is one of the more difficult genres to write for, as the endless possibilities of the future and the fantastical ways things can develop can make it almost too much of a blank slate to capture properly. Thankfully, this year's filmmakers managed to capture the far-fetched, the fantastical, and the emotional in these entries, making this one of the more impressive sets of films at this year's HollyShorts.

An Uninvited Guest
Dir. Richard B. Pierre
Starring Franckie Francois, M.E. Lewis, Richard Walters, Jamie Mac

A silent look at police brutality against people of color. A young African-American man is assaulted by police in front of a group of people at a dinner party. Everyone ignores what's happening in front of them, except for one person. This is my favorite film of the entire festival. It's a heartbreaking, powerful look at the treatment of people of color in society, with so many of their stories going ignored, even when it happens in the public eye. It being silent makes it all the more powerful, as so many voices from that community are drowned out or ignored. It's a brilliant film.

Speak Only Good of the Dead
Dir. Arminio Rivero
Starring David Cope, Magaly Pefig

A young mathemetician, hopelessly in love with his co-worker, uses the supercomputer that he works with to win her heart. He teaches the computer about love and poetry, eventually claiming the computer's works of poetry as his own. This was a gorgeous film, full of love, loss, and guilt, all in the name of showing how much you care about someone.

Snake Dick
Dir. David Mahmoudieh
Starring Poppy Drayton, Sierra Pond

Using a very unconventional set of skills, two women combat the dark acts of others as they travel. This is a very strange, but very interesting, film with great performances, and, despite its name, a surprising turn.

I Want to Be Like You
Dir. Caitlyn Sponheimer
Starring Lorna Kidjo, Brittany Drisdelle

Two women continue to try and find happiness through appearance-altering surgeries. This one was really powerful, showing the high demands of women to tie their own self-worth to their appearance, and the challenges that come from trying to maintain those standards.

Dir. Natalie Metzger, Robert Allaire
Starring Meredith Casey, Laura Coover, Soug Scroope

A dedicated scientist works hard to develop the cure for mortality and death to the detriment of her own relationships. This is an incredible film that explores love and loss, as well as the dedication to help those you care about, regardless of what it takes.

Dir. Anthony Garland
Starring Ali Mueller

While working alone in an office, a woman experiences a strange turn of events as she begins to see different versions of herself at different point. This was one of my favorite films of the festival so far, with the strong performance from Mueller really making a huge impact.

Also in this block are these amazing films:

Dir. Sophia Banks
Starring Emma Booth, Erika Christensen

In a world where standing in for a lost loved one is a profession, one of the more well-known workers in that field battles balancing her own struggles with that of the high demands of her work.

Dir. Marco Baldonado
Starring Rosa Forlano, Marco Baldonado

A 90-year-old woman falls in love with her new robotic companion while trying to teach it how to make spaghetti, though her family recipe is lost through a software update.

Dir. Sharon Everitt
Starring Gabriella Biziou, Kris Stefo

A young girl experiences something very strange while playing on a mysterious game cabinet.

Dir. Anna Chazelle
Starring Anna Chazelle, Shayan Ebrahim, Matthew Gallenstein

In a world destroyed, a young woman has to deal with survival in a world full of monsters, both figurative and literal.

In Hollywoodland
Dir. Jessica Sherif
Starring Yetide Badaki, Karen David, Dominic Burgess

A retelling of Alice in Wonderland, a young actress attempts to land a role, dealing with the colorful characters along the way.

Dir. Azhur Saleem
Starring Taj Atwal, Paul Ready

An artist uses his android assistant as inspiration, but when that inspiration is discovered, things take a turn.

All of these films are incredible and worth a watch. You can see these and all of the other films for this year's HollyShorts at their website, where ticketing for the festival through the Bitpix platform is available.

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