Show Me Shorts 2012

Now in its seventh year, the Show Me Shorts festival showcases a variety of short films from New Zealand and around the world. The festival begins in Auckland with tonight’s sold-out gala opening at the Capitol, and tours five other centres throughout November. There is another gala opening next Thursday night in Wellington, and the festival will have a ten-day programme in Whitianga in January. The annual event has grown steadily in both scope and international standing since its humble beginnings in 2005. Earlier this month, it programmed a series of Kiwi shorts for the 10th-anniversary celebrations of Melbourne’s Federation Square. The 2012 festival presents shorts from more than 30 countries; more than half of the programme’s 18 selections enjoy local premières in the festival. (Some films, such as Richard Man’s much-vaunted cgi sci-fi story Abiogenesis, prefaced features at the NZIFF this year.) The programme is divided into six themed sections, which all come in at under 90 minutes. Of this year’s offerings, I’ve seen the dark dramas The Wilding and Lambs; a documentary on the Christchurch earthquake called Kia Kaha; the gory, zombie-plagued Icelandic horror Undying Love, and the comedies ‘50% Off’ Mail-Order Bride and The Dump. Perhaps because the format lends itself most readily to comedy—a spritely pace, lots of visual gags and/or one-liners—I enjoyed the last two the most. Both The Dump and Lambs contain terrific performances from young Kiwi actors. All six shorts, though, could easily work as features, and there’s something fascinating about seeing the stories on a micro level, so to speak. The festival also includes seminars from visiting filmmakers, and a Short Film Lab in partnership with Script-to-Screen. Details on these extra-cinematic sessions, plus the full programme and ticketing info are on the festival’s snazzy new website,