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The Full Unveil of Some
of Our Top Shorts

by Jeremy Hanke

When we first started MFM over two years ago, we wanted to have it be a way to constructively help filmmakers, from pre-production to post-production through articles, reviews, and helpful critiques at different stages of completion. At that time, we didn’t give much thought to reaching out to another rapidly growing population: the ever growing group of film watchers that are seeking Independent films. However, as we have consistently critiqued features and shorts, we have had a lot of people email us about where they can watch these films. While many of the features we review have their own websites and can be purchased online, many of the shorts are not given such representation. As services like YouTube have grown the short film market faster than at any other time since cinema was first invented (at which time, all films were short films!), we wanted to give filmmakers a way to showcase their short films in their entirety for little cash.

As such, we decided that we would offer to host short films in either a compressed Windows Media 9 format or a full-size Flash format for our filmmakers for little more than the actual cost of server space for a year of hosting. This provides a professional site for filmmakers to host and link their short films and provides a place where film enthusiasts can watch these shorts in their entirety and then read the critiques that accompany them. Additionally, filmmakers who wish to learn from other filmmakers successes and failures can learn far more by actually watching the films that are critiqued and then reading the critiques afterward.

This may turn out to be a wildly successful program or it may turn out to be a flop that no one really wants. Either way, we’re committing to offer this service and try it out for at least a full year. If it turns out to be as popular as we believe it will be, then we will continue to offer it indefinitely. You will also notice that we are going to start attaching a special “video viewable” logo to short critiques that allow you to watch the critiqued film in its entirety.

To kick this service off, we decided that we would showcase the full versions of our seven most critically acclaimed films in an article. (If this showcase proves popular, in addition to online hosting, we may also look at working out a distributed collaborative DVD collection that would showcase all these great films in an uncompressed multi-DVD set.)

As many of these films were no longer available in an uncompressed version, after gaining the director's permission to post their entire shorts, we tested a number of software packages to see which would be able to rip the cleanest, most professional version of the film from their DVD into .AVI format.  As this is something that is often necessary for filmmakers who may want to repost a previous film that they have burned to DVD and no longer have on hard drive, we decided to post our findings here. 

We tested the current versions of AOA Media's DVD Ripper, Aimersoft's DVD-to-AVI Converter, Alldj's DVD Ripper, Appolo's #1 DVD Ripper, looking for ease of use, variety of options, and quality of exported .AVI.  Of these four, we found that AOA Media's DVD Ripper was superior to the other three we tried.  If you are interested in getting AOA DVD Ripper yourself, they offer a free demo that will convert ten minutes of footage from a DVD so you can try it yourself and you can purchase the fully unlocked version for $34.99. For more information, go to AOA Media's Website.

With that said, please peruse these great films and take the opportunity to watch them in their entirety, many for the first time ever:

The Shadow Effect
Director: Jared & Justin Varava
Issue No.: Issue #25
Critique Date: November 1, 2007
Critic: Jeremy Hanke
Final Score: 10.0
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 20 Minutes
Full Critique: Click Here

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The Shadow Effect is the only film we have ever critiqued to get a perfect 10. It is the story of one man’s pursuit to have a better life and begs the question of: Is the grass really greener on the other side?


Director: Mike Flanagan
Issue No.: Issue #8
Critique Date: May 15, 2006
Critic: Kari Ann Morgan
Final Score: 9.5
Running Time: 32 Minutes
Genre: Horror
Full Critique: Click Here

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The undefeated highest critiqued film for a year and a half, Oculus has been shown at two different Ultra-Indie Film weekends to rave reviews. It is the story of one man’s search into his own family’s legacy to uncover the evil represented in a mysterious mirror. In the end, he will have to decide how far he is willing to go to discover the truth behind the mirror’s secrets.


Morbid Curiosity
Director: Cindy Baer
Issue No.: Issue #17
Critique Date: February 15, 2007
Critic: Kari Ann Morgan
Running Time: 5 Minutes 30 secconds
Genre: Dark Comedy
Final Score: 9.3
Full Critique: Click Here

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Looking at something as simple as childish curiosity, Morbid Curiosity asks the Twilight-Zone-like question of: What would happen if all of your darkest imaginings came true?

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