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Geneva Film Festival featured outstanding films

GENEVA – Film buffs gathered throughout the 3-day Geneva Film Festival that ended Saturday to enjoy independent shorts, documentaries and narrative pieces.

The festival, in its fifth year, received submissions from all over the world and has become a destination festival for some filmmakers.

I attended a late-afternoon session Saturday and saw a group of five films that were completely different on all accounts. One of those films, and my favorite of the session, was “Parlay,”a 12-minute narrative short. Shot in just two days, the film is similar to “Fight Club” in its story, fooling some in the audience of what the film was actually trying to portray.

The session led off with a very funny animated short, “Secret Life of Objects,” a film from Australia that took home the festival’s top award for Best Animated Short. It followed an older roll of toilet paper talking to a newer one about how he had to live in an outhouse back in the day. Although only three minutes, it is fantastic.

“Parlay” followed but then the session took a dramatic turn with the showing of “The Trap of Saving Cambodia,” a 27-minute documentary short about how the corrupt government of Cambodia takes in foreign aid while the country’s citizens don’t see much of it. The images created a moving force for change that even features clips of secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaking about the country in a positive light.

“Infection” was next up, a student short film that was quite graphic in nature but had a story that many could easily resonate. The audience’s reaction was tempered at first, eventually gaining applause once the credits finished rolling.

To round up the session’s films was “Kavinsky,” a narrative short about a boy visiting the home of what he thinks is the father of a girl he wants to take out on a date. Created in Switzerland with English subtitles, it brought comedy back into the session featuring an ending that rivaled “Parlay.”

This was my first time attending the film festival and my only regret was not being able to attend more sessions and see more outstanding films.

• Mike Van Der Harst is the features editor of the Kane County Chronicle. “The Second Row” will feature coverage of arts and entertainment events throughout the area. Contact him at 630-845-5233 or mvanderharst@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeVDH1.

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