By August 3, 2015 Read More →

Sophomore Year for Tenacious Dreams 2015 Film Fest


We were all a bit disappointed when Greg and Mark Runnels announced the reschedule of their film festival, Tenacious Dreams, earlier this year. Knowing they are very busy men preparing to release their second film “Alleycat”, fans excused the reschedule and waited patiently to hear about new dates of the film fest.

Imagine our excitement last Friday, here at the MV corporate office when we heard Tenacious Dreams was happening the very next day!

They received 247 submissions this year, and automatically disqualified any films that had poor sound or visual. Submissions were then narrowed down to 100, and then they chose the best of those, resulting in 19 films.

The shortest was 11 seconds, and the longest was 17 minutes. They ranged from drama, humor, horror and documentary.


Part one:

1. Antennas To Beyond (2013, USA)

From the program: “We shot this film throughout several days on a budget of practically nothing.”

Filmed on thrift store equipment, this had a slightly creepy Vincent Price feel. It was as if Vincent Price rewrote and shortened Contact (1997). Though some of the stop-motion scenes were visually powerful, the film was a bit in-cohesive.

2. Miss Finknagle Succumbs to Chaos (2013, CA Bay Area USA)

From the program: “This delightful tale, chronicling one fate-turning day in the life of a lonely teacher.”

Miss Finknagle goes missing, and four high school students try to piece together what happened to her. Miss Finknagle decides to make all decisions one day based on the tossing of a coin, and leads her to what we hope was happiness. It reminded me of season one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, right down to the male geek mish-mashing his words to perfectly describe something.

3. Crucez (2013 Mexico)

From the program: “A tragic yet beautiful film chronicling the epidemic of violence in Mexico.”

This could be the tale of a myriad of young couples in Mexico City. Slow and ambiguous at first, leading to suspense and a dramatic conclusion.

4. Cualquier (2013 USA)

From the program: “Follows an adolescent struggling with the consequences of his choices and the devastation that they cause the people around him.”

The music over-powered the talking of the main character, and the music didn’t quite to seem to fit the mood of the scenes. It had almost a sci-fi feel, as if humans and their strange behavior were under microscopic study by alien creatures who could not understand us.

5. 8 Ball (2013 UK)

From the program: “A sad and whimsical tale of fate and morning told through the power of an 8 Ball toy.”
What you fail to grasp until you watch the film, is the 8 Ball is not the magic toy many of us remember from childhood, but a human 8 Ball, a man who either see the future, or can extrapolate as good as Sherlock Holmes. What starts as a silly movie about guessing games takes a somber turn and you are left feeling really awful for the main character, while at the same time hopeful for the pregnant woman who takes his seat on the park bench. This is not your typical extrovert vs introvert conversation.

6. 80’s Monster Claymation (2013 USA)

From the program: “Remake/ homage to my favorite monster movies from the 80s including Brain Damage, The Fly, Basket Case, The Blob, Pumpkinhead, From Beyond and Gremlins.”

Red Letter Media would have a field day with this. So would MST3K. As for me, I will say these were  just as cheesy and gross as the original movies.

7. Derniers Recours (2013 France)
(Translated Last Ditch)

From the program: “A riveting drama by French filmmaker Mahi Bena with notes of early Martin Scorsese.”

Mahi is definitely pulling from Scorsese. As is typical of Martin Scorsese, a story is produced with lots of blood and chaos that while both entertaining and dramatic, lacks true plot and resolution. Great musical score and camera angles.

8. Driftwood (2012 UK)

From the program: “The story of a 15 year old boy who is a swimming prodigy, whose life is split into two very different worlds. A poignant antithesis between talent and achievement at the dawn of his sporting career, and fear and torment in his home and social life.”

The emotion felt in the various situations Sam found himself in was palpable. You find yourself rooting for this underdog and your pulse begins to race when his dad smashes the glass vase, the hair on the back of your neck raising with Sam’s to defy his dad. I can only hope that Collin Firth appears in his life at some point and helps him get into the Kingsmen Secret Service, where he can be a top-rate underwater scuba diver rescuer.

9. (notes on) Biology (2012 CA Bay Area USA)

From the program: “A brilliant animated account of an organism adapting to its environment.”

Who doesn’t doodle in biology class? Everyone. Who doodles an adorable laser-toting elephant with a nuclear bomb making trunk? Only this guy. This very cute and expressive elephant certainly does adapt to his environment. The music was perfect. This film had the whole audience laughing loudly. I think Napoleon Dynamite inspired this animation.


Part 2

1. Medicine For Your Dreams (2013 USA)

From the program: “A wild animated film that journeys through deep space, the dark and light corners of the brain, and beyond.”

This is 8-bit Atari-esque randomness, that I’m sure is supposed to be deep or pay homage to really old video games.

2. Varuo (2013 Canada)

From the program: “Sigur Ros music video.”

Ever drive during a particularly insomniatic night, or while distracted about something super important, and end up at your destination without any recollection of how you got there? Yeah. This is a music video portraying that experience, I’d bet money on it.

3. Black and White (2013 UK)

From the program: “A short social realism film that mixes drama & documentary interviews with its cast of non-professional actors as each of them tries to answer the difficult question of how they try to live their lives inside of broken Britain.”

This was a bit seizure-inducing at first, but when things calmed down, the characters were revealed to be emotional beings, full of frustration and tired, searching for justice, equality and happiness, venting their concerns and frustrations through rap. Weird, dramatic and scary. An interesting balance.

4. Capacities (2013 Germany)

From the program: “A description of capacity as it exists in general in unlimited nature for man and his environment.”

I swear this was filmed on an iphone while someone was waiting at a bus stop. The surprise on the man’s face was not practiced, it was pure surprise. For being 11 seconds, you got a lot out of it.

5. Zombie National Guard (2013 USA)

From the program: “American is now in the protective hands of the Zombie National Guard.”

Zombieland meets a fifth-grade educational health video from the 1960’s. Red Letter Media would also enjoy this one. This is what we love about zombies and what we fear about zombies all in one hilarious little video.

6. Trapped In The Net (2012 Slovakia)

From the program: “A young student decides to embark on an unusual experiment, changing sex, on the Internet”.

This movie shows us the real reason gender equality is still an issue in 2015. A beautiful and frank portrayal of gender roles and expectations. A ending full of what it feels like to accept yourself, accept others and drinking beer with new acquaintance who could end up as a friend. (My favorite film of the 19.)

7. Mass (2013 CA Central Valley, USA)

From the program: “A cult of women who worship a female god get ambushed by a group of vigilante fundamentalists.”

Although it fails to portray an accurate pagan ceremony (note to the screenplay writers), it mostly accurately portray the hate and violence between any 2 religious groups and their naiveté towards each other. You could replace the pagans or Christians with any extremist group and it would still be two groups of people killing each other over a book making it relevant  to any group of religious practitioners.

8. Sightseeing (2013 USA)

From the program: “An experimental journey of otherworldy colors, textures, shapes and sounds.”

Was this a recorded hallucination? I can probably now safely assume I’ve done mushrooms without ever having done mushrooms. As if I am being held underwater, after being put into a drug-induced coma.

9. The Both Explode (2013 UK)

From the program: “A short hallucinatory tale of consumption, sorrow, redemption and vomit.”

Yes, it contained all three. A little gross, a little magical, and little about choices and consequences wrapped in a nice little bow of “and then everybody died.” An interestingly cute story, probably not for children unless you were like me growing up. I didn’t enjoy the Disney version of stories, I wanted the Brothers Grimm versions.

10. Dragon High School (2013 SPAIN)

From the program: “A short musical about parents dropping their children off at school and feeling separation anxiety in the oddest way.”

This takes “High School Musical” to a whole new level. A great parody of the start of empty-nest syndrome. Hilarious and loveable, and even a little bit relatable (aside from the fact that some parents apparently like their kids? Strange, that.) Another one of my favorites.


The judges picked Derniers Recours (Last Ditch), and the audience favorite was (notes on) Biology. Don’t miss the next one, come watch, laugh, participate and cast your vote for the next up-and-coming film makers from around the world!


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About the Author:

Bring on the rain, and a bottle of Wonky & Wry's Honey Braggot Ale. Loves to roast marshmallows over a fire. Enjoys the mix of cigars and whiskey.