A Brief Note on the Antarctic Winterover Film Festival

Sorry – didn’t mean to be away from the blog for so long, but the Mongolian Death Flu really blindsided me. Or bushwhacked me. I like the sound of that word, “bushwhacked”. It’s evocative (I like “evocative”, too, for what it’s worth). The actual “being dead” part of the flu only lasted for three days, and by the time dawn rose the morning after the Cough Syrup Incident, things were on the mend. But this bug isn’t giving up the fight yet – I think it’s hoping that the “never fight a land war in Asia” applies equally to my sinuses, and is trying a strategy of attrition against our towering stack o’ Kleenex.

But you don’t want to hear about that. Trust me.

What you really want to hear about is the 2011 Antarctic Winter Film Festival. Now, you remember when I posted about SPIFF11 – the South Pole International Film Festival – ages ago, right? Great fun. Nobody died. Or at least, nobody we cared about – there were those two mysterious goons in Jon Kaufman’s cryptic masterpiece, but they had it coming.

You see, the SPIFF films were all done mid-summer, when Polies were filled with the joy and promise of warm (okay, -25F) sunny days. The films for WIFFA were put together mid-winter, by folks living in dire cold (-80-90F) who’ve not seen the sun since March. The themes are, um, different.

“Would you like to play a game?”

Let’s take a sampling: “Attack of the Killer DOMs” (don’t miss Part 2), the long-form entry from the South Pole. The massive computing infrastructure of the Ice Cube Lab becomes sentient, dispatching floating digital optical modules, and physicist Jens Dreyer, to hunt down and kill everyone on Station. “Night of the Baconless”, from McMurdo. Directed by our favorite purveyor of Food-Related Adventures (FRAs), Michelle Springer. Involves the residents of MacTown being turned into zombies by an acute lack of bacon. They go on a rampage, wiping out a good fraction of the McMurdo population in search of the next best thing. Yes, chainsaws and whisk brooms are involved. Then there’s the innocent-sounding “Antarctic Adventure”, a Dr. Who spoof noted by no less than Neil Gaiman. Dr. Who and tardis find themselves transported to Antarctica where – wait for it – someone is tracking down and killing the inhabitants of MacTown.

Do you notice a pattern here?

Anyhow, it’s well worth spending some time perusing the videos of WIFF2011. They’re not all morbid and creepy – I mean, people seem to die in most of them, but that’s just Antarctica. After all, it’s a harsh continent, right?

I’m just never, ever, ever going to turn my back on Jens again.

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