“Fugitive Love,” produced by GFTV Tisch School of the Arts, New York U. Executive producer, Peter Himmelstein; writer-director-editor, Tamara Jenkins; camera, Gabor Szitanyi; art direction, Susan Block, Bob Armstrong; sound, GLC Prods.
“Sour Death Balls,” produced by Age 3 and Over Films. Director-writer-editor, Jessica Yu; camera, Pam Tom.
Cast: Teacher Betty’s class at the Neighborhood Nursery School; David Battle, Anna Chi, Suzanne D’Mello, John Enbom, Tim Gallaher, Amy Gordon, George Hickenlooper, Matthew Greenberg, Vincent Jordan, Luis (Bad Influence) Li, Chien-Ei Yu, Marty Yu.
“Angry,” produced by Good Machine. Producers, Ted Hope & James Schamus; director-writer, Nicole Holofcener; camera, Mike Spiller; editor, Robin Klein; production designer, Stephanie Carroll.
Cast: Nicole Holofcener, Lynn Cohen, Sylvia Shapiro, Stephanie Venditto, John Nathan, Ray Kanner, Nitza Wilson, Kate Lear, Virginia Travers, N.S. Fenig, Barbara Fenig, Jojo Samuels.
“Television: The Drug of the Nation,” produced by Island Records. Producer, Carine Rubin; director, Mark Pellington; script, Michael Franti; editor, Bob Perdue.
Cast: The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (Michael Franti, Rono Tse).
PBS summer series “Alive TV” opens its ninth season with a quickly paced half-hour of short films, most of which suggest that the future of the industry is in relatively good hands: Imagination and craftsmanship abound, though storytelling skills fall a bit short in spots.
Films range in aim and content from a semianimated musicvideo for rap group Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy to the carefully plotted “Fugitive Love,” which at 13 minutes almost qualifies as a feature in this context.
“Sour Death Balls” is simplest, with one-shots of people seen sucking on what is evidently a very unsavory candy; the anguished expressions of adults and children as they try to play along with the joke was enough to win director Jessica Yu the Live Short Award at this year’s Santa Barbara Film Festival.
Nicole Holofcener’s “Angry” may be the funniest, starring the director as a young woman trying to escape mom’s (Lynn Cohen) apron strings. Ending has a bit of a shaggy-dog aspect, but it’s an ending.
In “Fugitive Love,” a most ambitious film, Jane (Stephanie Silverman) returns home after a soured romance; her mother (Peggy Cowles), aunt (Jacqueline DeCosmo) and grandmother (Hope Sacharoff) smother her with advice.
Writer-director Tamara Jenkins — who submitted this as her thesis film at NYU Film School — scores humor points here; also impressive is the evocative art direction by Susan Block and Bob Armstrong.
“Television: The Drug of the Nation,” a fairly conventional musicvideo consisting of montaged still and video images, may have been chosen on the basis of itstheme: the numbing effect of the media on impressionable minds. Piece works, but wouldn’t stand out on “Yo! MTV Raps.”