Each week the folks at Cinema Circus show a series of short films on Wednesday evenings at the Chilmark Community Center. The films begin at 6 p.m. but at 5 p.m. the circus — complete with jugglers, face painters, stilt walkers, food and music — gets under way.

An advanced screening of the films was arranged. In a world with few certainties, the kid critic is the critic to trust. This week’s reviewers are Eli and Will Graff.

Eli Graff is almost 11 and lives in Montclair, NJ, with his brother and parents. He enjoys reading, video games, swimming and tennis. His favorite foods are hamburgers and pizza and his favorite movies are Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and all of Hayao Miyazaki’s films.  

Will Graff is 8 years old and lives in Montclair, NJ. He enjoys swimming and tennis. His favorite subject is math but he really likes recess.  His favorite kinds of movies are action movies.

Sule And the Case Of the Tiny Sparks (Dirs. Shawnee Gibbs and Shawnelle Gibbs / U.S.A. / 2010 / 12 min.)

Eli: Sule is a proverb detective and I think the purpose is to teach kids educational sayings and to appeal to a kid’s sense of humor. In the cartoon, Yah comes to Sule because Kojo has come to her village to wash clothes. When Kojo comes, her friends tell her not to help him and Yah doesn’t want to make her friends mad, but eventually she convinced them by doing a tiny little thing by picking up Kojo’s soap. Translation of the proverb: “Doing little things can cause bigger monumental things.” This was enjoyable and I like the idea of a proverb detective. This was also funny and we laughed at many parts. All in all, a good film.    

Will: Yah is confused on whether or not to help Kojo because he is new in town and her friends do not want to help. Sule shows her how it feels to be in Kojo’s situation. Yah shows her friends how to help him, and she learns that one action can cause a chain reaction.

Robot Zot (Dir. Soup2Nuts / U.S.A. / 2011 / 8 min.)

Eli: Robot Zot is supposed to be funny for kids of a young age and is based on the many, many, many clips and movies about robots learning to love. Basically Robot Zot comes to earth, battles kitchen appliances, meets the cell phone queen — and it’s love at first sight — and escapes the enemy territory and has many adventures with his new queen and wife. This was not the best story, but it has value for other types of kids. My Grandma liked it a lot.

Will: Robot Zot landed on Earth and went inside of a kitchen where he believes he is challenged by the kitchen appliances. He defeats them and finds the queen and fights for her and then they get stopped by the general (the dog) and then it disappears and they take off to find a new adventure. Since I’m a little older than the target age this was not my favorite, but my Grandma laughed out loud a lot so that shows you never know who will like cartoons. Grandma liked the fact that the Robot Zot went through the house and used his imagination and was brave enough to save hisqueen. Grandma also really liked the artwork and the animation on this one. 

The Sandpit (Dir. Sam O’Hare / U.S.A. / 2010 / 6 min.)

Eli: The Sandpit was basically just some footage of a day in a city. I think it was supposed to show you that in God’s eye, life is quick and we shouldn’t waste it. Again, this wasn’t exactly my style, but it is an interesting idea. My mom thought that maybe the cityscape was supposed to be a concrete jungle come to life. So that shows you to look carefully at this one; you may see something you were not looking for.

Will: There was some footage that went by a little too quickly. I wasn’t really sure about this video. It was a little confusing and I really don’t know what the title was supposed to refer to.  

Oversized (Dir. Myriam Elda Arsenault / Canada / 2010 / 4 min.)

Eli: Oversized is a nice story about fate and how you can’t predict fate. In the film a young girl prepares to be tall like her dad but it doesn’t turn out like she plans. Moral: You cannot predict fate but maybe that’s okay. The animation in this film is really good and the idea is really unique and different. 

Will: Oversized is a movie about a little girl who wants to be as tall as her father but she turns out to be short. It had good animation, and was a pretty good story. I think kids four to seven years old would like this a lot.


Waseteg (Dir. Phyllis Grant / Canada / 2010 / 6 min.)

Eli: The tale of Waseteg is a story similar to Cinderella. A young girl wants to go meet a mysterious boy but her resentful sisters try to meet him first. Of course they fail, but then beautiful Waseteg shows up in a gorgeous outfit and succeeds at what many have failed to do. (Sounds a lot like Cinderella, no?). This also has nice animation and good music and sound effects. It’s interesting to see how a fairytale can be told from the point of view of other cultures, so we enjoyed this one.  

Will: Waseteg is about a girl and her sisters who want to see a boy, and the sisters go and a woman asks them questions but they fail. Then Waseteg goes and gets it correct. This was a nice, kind story and kids probably five to eight years old would enjoy it. The best part is in the end when everyone becomes happy because Waseteg and the rainbow boy together are beautiful and give happiness to others.  

Don’t Give Up (Dir. Tony Dusko / U.S.A. / 2011 / 1 min.)

Eli: Two monsters play catch, one misses the ball and starts to cry, the other monster says (in monster language) “don’t give up, let’s try again.” The first monster throws the ball and the other one catches it and says “YAY!” Grandma thinks this is “if at first you don’t succeed try and try again” — in monster speak.    

Will: [This movie is] about monsters playing catch and one gets hit and cries and they try it again and he catches it. It was a little short and I would have liked it to be longer.  

The Girl and The Fox (Dir. Tyler J. Kupferer / U.S.A. / 2011 / 5.5 min.)

Eli: A young girl seeks revenge for the killing of a bird. She knows that the fox killed the bird and she wants to kill him in revenge because the family needs the food. She intends to hunt him down. When she looks into the eyes of the fox, instead of seeing a fox she sees herself and how the fox is just as scared and she cannot kill him. This act of kindness turns out to be the best thing she could have done, but I won’t give away the end. This was my favorite of all the films. The animation is awesome and the story is so good.

Will: This should be for eight to ten years old kids; there is a little violence.  

The Beet Party (Dirs. Paul Brown and Paul Hunt / Canada / 2012 / 2 min.)

Eli: This is colorful and fun with really good animation. This is a film the whole family can enjoy — my mom, my grandma and even my great uncle thought this was cute.  

Will: This was cool.