Short films shine on the silver screen

What do you get when you take over 100 people, mix their work together, add some sex, some murder and some electronic music?Either a really strange murder mystery or PSST!3, a collaborative film project of 17 animated, short films.An international film project organized by Brian Dougherty-Johnson, PSST!3 had a screening at the Roxy Theater in Burlington on April 9, presented by Matchless Music and Tick Tick.Inspired by the children’s game telephone and “the Dadaist game of Exquisite Corpse” according to the PSST!3 Web site, PSST!3, which consists of animated short films, separates each film into three parts, with different teams of people making the beginning, middle and end.PSST!3 is the third installment in Dougherty-Johnson’s PSST! film series.The films that make up PSST!3 share a common method of creation, but differ greatly in tone and animation style.The films’ topics range from gruesome to cute to conceptually complex: cuddly cartoon animals are killed in a forest, a woman’s dress takes on jet-pack abilities and one film even rhymes.Each of the films that make up PSST!3 face the issue of cohesiveness, as the sections are often quite different. For the most part, they creatively succeed, using everything from time travel to stories-within-stories to do so.With different animators drawing the scenes, PSST!3 showcases many different styles coming together to tell quirky, clever short stories.Although a film made up of unrelated shorts is a bit strange, the films that make up PSST!3 are dynamic and intriguing. They easily retain viewers’ interest as they drift between alluring cartoon worlds.The music in each film adds a nice compliment to the animation. Even if the stories can be a bit peculiar at times, this is an asset rather than a liability as animation is a medium that lends itself well to the abstract.Ben Jastatt, who produced the music for one of the short films, became involved with the project through connections he made when working for Cartoon Network. A Burlington local, Jastatt arranged for the screening at the Roxy.”I just thought it was a really great project, really unique,” Jastatt said. “It’s a huge worldwide collective project and I thought other people might want to be a part of it too.””All the screenings have been set up by people involved,” Jastatt said. With these people being from all over the world, there have been screenings of PSST!3 everywhere from Los Angeles to London to New York and even Lithuania.Seeming more like moving art than the romantic comedy playing one theater over, PSST!3 rejects the idea that the purpose of film making is commercial success.A quote from Walt Disney on the PSST!3 Web site reads “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies” — focusing instead on interesting, quality work and creative freedom.PSST!3 is an innovative and aesthetically pleasing project that takes a novel idea but manages not to let the idea overshadow the artistic work of the films.