Sony "Dreams" in New York

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Perlman's "Switching to Glide"
Last night's New York screening of Sony and Y&R's fourth annual "Dreams" program took last year's emphasis on storytelling to a new level with a diverse group of films dominated by comedy (though touching drama and experimental films were also strong). In the opening film, The Bet, directed by Brown Bag Films' Charles Stone III, two time-traveling buddies wager on the race of historical figures, now that technology allows them to see for themselves. It was an appropriate start to a night devoted to discovery and storytelling enabled by technology, and it set the tone for laughs to come.

"Dreams," founded by former Y&R head of broadcast Ken Yagoda, demonstrates the benefits of using high-definition 24p video technology for the commercials production industry by asking established directors to make short films based around a theme. This year's theme was "Flight." And while last year's offerings featured visual storytelling that showed off the technology, the 2005 bunch demonstrated the camera's versatility.

Some directors took the theme of flight literally, as Hungry Man's Hank Perlman told the hilarious story of a human cannonball and his wife, Smuggler director Stylewar (Filip Engstrom) created a nostalgic air battle between toy airplanes, and Jeffery Plansker of Supply & Demand pulled together briskly-edited scenes of passengers singing an atonal song on an airplane.

The theme of flight was most often interpreted as "escape," however, as in Harvest Films director Baker Smith's comedic film Le Roi, which showed three escaped convicts shackled together, interpreting nature's signs around them. In 40 Love, by Partizan's Doug Nichol, a middle-aged tennis player tries to escape from a nightmare in which he is attacked alternately by tennis balls and images of an attractive woman on the next court. Park Pictures' Alison Maclean's film Flight captured the reactions of unknowing actors as they were forced in various ways to flee an audition room. Gartner's James Gartner and RSA's Sam Bayer filmed touching dramas that dealt with themes of family and escape, while Jesse Dylan of Form took an experimental look at living an entire life in one day in Inside the Light. (Melanie Shortman)

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