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Mad Cat 2003

7th Annual Madcat International Film Festival

Now entering its seventh year, the Madcat International Film Festival continues to expand on all fronts. Over 850 submissions were received this year, allowing the festival to construct twelve short programs each organized by a common theme. A dozen countries, including faraway places such as Argentina, Sweden, and Korea, have films on display at the 2003 edition of the festival, solidifying Madcat's reputation as the premiere showcase for women's independent film. A look at this year's program will give you a glimpse into the variety of material women directors are covering today.

Gotta Get It:
The opening program of the festival provides a fresh look into various worlds of obsession and addiction. Bingo Ladies escorts us into the strange world of bingo where an unexpected addiction runs rampant, and big business has begun to bully its way in to take advantage of the obsession. Kate's Sole Excess explores the guilty pleasures through personal confessions of a compulsive shoe buyer. However, Drum Solo, a series of humorous vignettes set to music, stands out from the crowd. Despite being generally inanimate, the cast, an enormous collection of miniature figurines, still remains the star of the show.

Out of the Past:
The issue of survival runs through all the shorts in this program, as each of the central characters endures difficult times. Using only voice over and black and white images, Downpour Resurfacing tells the uplifting tale of Robert Hall, who overcomes a childhood fraught with physical and sexual abuse to become a renowned Buddhist teacher, psychiatrist, and poet. Meanwhile, the accessible animation Crying and Wanking, details an experience that everyone can relate to: the alienation that occurs after the end of a relationship.

Cut Snip Ooze: Contemporary Animated Films by Women:
Murder is the order of the day in the two standout shorts of this program. The 'mockumentary' Historia del Desierto chronicles the life of legendary serial killer Rosita Guzman, who roamed the desert for forty years, striking fear into inhabitants and passersby alike. The vivid colors, lively soundtrack, and quick-cutting story make this short an easy watch. For those looking for something a bit experimental, Anorexie fits the bill. Working off of the day-old theme of 'anorexia = bad', this short spruces it up by personifying the disease as a murderer in cahoots with the morally bankrupt organization United Diets.

Divided Spaces:
The highlight of this series of shorts is undoubtedly Rose Dabbs's tribute to Central Park New York's Big Back Yard. Independently, its commentary would sound like dictation from a visitor's guide, as it monotonously lists the various events and historic moments that have the park as its setting. However, set to the music of Central Park, namely the people, this documentary comes to life. Showing home camera footage of various concerts and protests, the voice that seems so flat takes on a whole new meaning. We are reminded how woven into New York's fabric Central Park is.

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