Films / news

Borscht is Dead features series of short films that challenge moviegoers

As a fan of film, it’s fun to be challenged and think outside the box. There’s your usual moviegoing experience — ya know, the blockbuster-type spectacles — but there’s something to be said about short films and how they break away from the norm.

South Florida film critic Hans Morgenstern, co-founder of Independent Ethos, has partnered with Choose954 to present “Borscht is Dead,” a series of short films (handpicked by Hans) and produced by Borscht Corporation.

The event and its information can be found on Facebook here.

Here’s the official event description:

“Independent Ethos & Choose954 Are Excited To Be Bring You ‘Borscht Is Dead’ – a series of short films produced by Borscht Corporation spanning the 13 years of its existence as selected by Independent Ethos’ co-founder and chief film critic Hans Morgenstern who also serves as the vice-chair of the Florida Film Critics Circle and as a Miami New Times arts and culture journalist for the Miami New Times Arts & Culture division.”

Now, let’s dive into some of the short films I was sent by Mr. Morgenstern himself, which you can of course view for yourself at “Borscht is Dead.”

Suddenly We Jumped

This is a 2014 short film that is prefaced by :

“Suddenly we jumped, hearing the mighty noise of the huge double-decker trams that rumbled by outside, ablaze with colored lights, like villages on holiday suddenly struck and uprooted by the flooding Po and dragged over falls and through gorges to the sea.”
– Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Antonia Wright is completely nude and, on the surface, this is just a woman breaking through a sheet of glass in slow-motion. But digging deeper, I get the sense that Wright falling indicates that she accepts possibly dying. This, coupled with the quote, leads me to believe that these are her final moments. The black backdrop is just that — black. There’s nothing fancy with the set. Her being nude, the lack of fancy decor — it all represents her leaving this world as she came in: naked.

The breaking through the glass might indicate her transition from life into death. Suddenly We Jumped is short and to the point. However, like any good piece of art, the interpretations are endless and this prompted me to think.

Life and Freaky Time of Uncle Luke

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. This short by Jillian Mayer and Lucas Leyva left me craving more by the end. From beginning to end, the unique storytelling gripped me. It’s a zany story, narrated and acted on-screen by Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell himself. The art style is cartoonish in nature, using cutouts with actors’ arms and legs. It’s different, sure, but it’s better than what I expected, which was simply an animated short film.

The tale is almost believable at first, knowing the history of 2 Live Crew, and its impact in Miami and beyond. When the film reaches its zaniest point — Campbell on an operating table — the fun ceases to let up. My goodness, this is one of the best shorts I’ve seen, and I think it really helps introduce audiences into what Borscht is at its core.


Barry Jenkins, who floored me with his 2016 Best Picture-winner Moonlight, directed this short, Chlorophyl from 2011. I wasn’t in love with this film at first, but that’s because I was studying every detail. The title itself is revealing, with only one “l” in “chlorophyl,” instead of two (Jenkins did this on purpose, hint hint).

The short film really speaks for itself, but we follow a woman from the time she catches her boyfriend cheating and emotions thereafter. It’s a very visceral piece that took place in Miami.

Borscht is Dead will feature these shorts along with plenty others. The event, again, takes place on Oct. 19, beginning at 6 p.m. with a silent auction. The films will be showcased from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with Q&A sessions with various filmmakers and artists, including Ahol Sniffs Glue, Bleeding Palm, Lucas Leyva, Julian Yuri Rodriguez and more.


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