Fantasia 2020 Review – The Weird and Wonderful Come Into Full Focus in ‘Small Gauge Trauma’ Shorts Collection

By Erin Brady|

Short films are great ways of conveying big ideas in short runtimes. Many horror films, such as ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Mama’, actually get their start as short films that were acquired by studios to be made into feature-length. In fact, horror directors like Ari Aster and James Wan made significant marks on the genre before their feature directorial debuts due to their short films.

Fantasia International Film Festival’s collection entitled ‘Small Gauge Trauma’ has many short films that may follow this trend, as the majority of these shorts have the story potential to be fully fleshed out and filmed.

From tooth-stealing sink monsters to magical beings that ask for a price, ‘Small Gauge Trauma’ puts a focus on how powerful concepts can make their impact in less than 40 minutes.

Arguably the best, and most on-brand, short in the collection is Felipe Vargas’ 2020 fantasy short ‘Milk Teeth.’ Opening up with the frantic images of an orphan boy furiously flossing a loose tooth, the short quickly devolves into chaos upon the discovery of a mysterious creature that trades teeth for gold.

With impressive child performances and some truly grotesque imagery, Vargas shows that you do not have to have a long runtime or a major budget to create a stomach-churning production.

If you are more interested in dark humor, Serbia’s entry entitled ‘The Little One’ might be right up your alley. In the midst of an emerging zombie apocalypse, director Danilo Beckovic focuses on a young man more concerned with hooking up with his crush than the fact that his father is being attacked by a zombie.

Through gory practical effects and expertly-edited sound mixing, ‘The Little One’ is funny and timely in an age where many would rather choose apathy over sympathy in difficult times.

Fantasia’s 2020 installment of ‘Small Gauge Trauma’ is full of other macabre shorts (an actress goes insane in France’s ‘The Fourth Wall’ and a father learns about clarifying your advice the hard way in USA’s ‘Oh Deer!’) that are sure to become online cult favorites upon general release.

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