Best of Filmapalooza 2019

My picks for this year’s top movies

Exclusive to MeierMovies.com, March 10, 2019

Another exciting Filmapalooza has come and gone, and though the highlights of these annual cinematic smorgasbords are often the parties, networking, new friendships and wonderful travel destinations, we can’t lose sight of the event’s main purpose: to honor the year’s best 48 Hour Film Project movies.

I was a judge for last year’s Filmapalooza in Paris (see my wrap-up article from 2018), and this year, as a resident of host-city Orlando, I was happy to help in several ways, including organizing some of the discussion panels. But the one part of my job that I treasured most was watching all 115 city-winning films in advance and presenting the 48HFP staff with my feedback to assist in the selection of the films moving on to the Cannes Film Festival. They and this year’s judges made some surprisingly different choices, but I guess that just proves once again that intelligent people can have vastly different opinions about the same piece of art.

While I congratulate all of this year’s winning films and thank my 48HFP friends – especially Orlando City Producer Kyle Snavely – for their efforts, I regret that many of the best films never received the credit they deserve. So, as I’ve done for the past five years, I present below my picks for the 25 top films of Filmapalooza. (Links are provided when available. The six films with asterisks are among the 13 picked to go to Cannes.)

 

  1. Richmond, Virginia, USA; Decay; by Shields Shoes Productions. This imaginative, dystopian drama-suspense contemplates a world where art is illegal, yet even more magical than we ever considered possible. Dark and mysterious, but imbued with a childlike sense of wonder, it’s my pick for this year’s best film. Oh, and be careful what you wish for.
  1. Rotterdam, Netherlands; Out of Office; by 240 Hour. “High concept” films were plentiful at this year’s Filmapalooza, and I found this brainteaser to be perhaps the most intellectual of the bunch. This surreal drama reeks of Luis Buñuel as it straddles the worlds of presence and absence. (And congratulations to Rotterdam for being selected as host of Filmapalooza 2020.)
  1. * Utrecht, Netherlands; The Internet; by Supersolid & Friends. This minimalist period piece is a smartly executed and bitingly humorous commentary on the role the Internet plays in our lives. It’s zeitgeisty, but never to a fault, as it’s also one of the most enjoyable of this year’s films.
  1. Toulouse, France; Some Things to Tell You; by HappyGrumble
  2. Nantes, France; Last Floor; by Super 8
  3. New York, New York, USA; And Many More …?; by ForeSee Film Productions
  4. Greensboro, North Carolina, USA; Pierre Poulet; by FILM-FLAM
  5. * Los Angeles, California, USA; Silence; by Transplant Pictures
  6. Tampa, Florida, USA; Love Hurts; by Film Jams
  7. New Haven, Connecticut, USA; Manifest; by Jester Pictures
  8. * Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Wayless; by Imaginary Friends (HCM)
  9. Warsaw, Poland; Finis Griseo; by NiePOVazni
  10. Portland, Oregon, USA; Joan Dark: Folk Singer; by Dandelion
  11. Lyon, France; L’Archiviste; by AcidBox
  12. Lisbon, Portugal; Refém; by Black.Art
  13. * Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Masterclass; by Team Tonger
  14. Toronto, Canada; Sir Ludwig’s DuClaudian Twins are Alive & Well and Living in the Same Building; by RABfilms
  15. Melbourne, Australia; Big and Tall and Hairy; by Woke
  16. Washington, DC, USA; Wingdog; by Crash of Rhinos
  17. Tours, France; Un Heure de Tranquillité; by Samba Samba
  18. Montpellier, France; Orage; by Réalviscéralisme
  19. Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Two for Twenty; by Conrad Studios
  20. * Chicago, Illinois, USA; Knockout; by Alley Cake Films
  21. Lima, Peru; Lulu; by Estrech y Esquash
  22. * Bogota, Colombia; El Águila de Oro; by Roble Films

For more on this year’s event, check out my previous article. And click here for the full list of winners chosen by the 48HFP staff and judges.

Copyright 2019 © Cameron Meier

Oh, and here’s some (really bad) 16mm footage I shot at Filmapalooza with a 1930s Keystone A-3 camera. My apologies it didn’t turn out better. (Most of the footage is actually of the Florida Film Festival, but you will notice a couple of downtown Orlando landmarks at the beginning of the film.)