Circles of Confusion is a collection of shorts that focus primarily on process. That can mean any number of things such as visually interesting techniques with camera & editing like dramatic focus changes, mirroring, or washing out of a scene. It’s experimental, sometimes with a story, sometimes just eye candy with glitchy soundtrack. I liked most of what I saw here. One that stood out was Site Specific_Las Vegas 05 which was essentially aerial footage of the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas during day and night. The magic here was the way in which focus and depth of field were manipulated thereby creating a world where everything seemed like it was in miniature. I was expecting a plastic Godzilla to sloppily bounce it at any moment. Very cool stuff. Others that stood out include Relative Distance, a confessional piece where family members of the filmmaker intimately share their feelings of her. Another I liked is Suspended 2, an abstract, mirrored and in reverse look at driving across the Bay Bridge.
Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela is my favorite documentary of the festival so far. OK, it’s the only one I’ve seen but it won’ t be the last and it’s still damn good. Twelve Disciples is a moving story about 12 South African exiles who’ve escape to other parts of Africa, Europe, Cuba and the US to build and strengthen the African National Congress. Apartheid and overt racism are standard operating procedure in South Africa in 1960 when this story begins. The ANC is the now infamous opposition group that was formed by black South Africans who organized against the dominant and racist minority white colonial power. Thomas Allen Harris, the filmmaker is the step-son of B. Pule Leinaeng aka Lee who is this story’s primary hero. The doc is a combination of history of the anti-apartheid movement, the role of the 12 exiles who helped to build the ANC and primarily the personal relationship and memories that Harris has with his revolutionary step-father who always considered Harris a blood son as black South Africans don’t have a word for “step-son”. Twelve Disciples is very moving and provides a firm foundation for beginning to understand the struggles that black South Africa had to endure to gain a democratic homeland. Definitely a must see.