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“best friEND”

– a short clip of the film

“best friEND” is a docu-short about the first and only full service pet funeral home. The documentary follows pet owners through the process of mourning a pet, the same as they would a person. The characters in the piece are diverse, but they have one thing in common, they are all pet lovers. This piece takes the viewer on an informative journey showing how pets are cremated, embalmed and prepared for their viewing/wake service. With the recent fascination with the funeral industry, this is a piece of the puzzle that has yet to be explored.

The funeral industry is a big business and with the veterinary industry making 12 billion dollars a year, will they start seeing pets as a viable opportunity to make money? Get to know Ray Leone and his wife Kathy, the owners of ‘All Pets Go To Heaven’ pet funeral home in Brooklyn and at the same time, get to know all the characters that pass through their doors. Is the owner of the pet funeral home a wacko or a pioneer? You be the judge.

Tonya Hurley -director
Ryan McFaul – editor
Vince Clarke – composer
Produced by Tracy Hurley
Edward Gorey title art – Courtesy of the Edward Gorey estate.

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“Kiss My Brain”

“Kiss My Brain” is an animated short dealing with the topic of brain chemicals in relation to emotional states. It was first performed as a spoken word piece at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church.

The character in the film is a scribbled, simply-drawn, precocious girl who waxes philosophical about brain chemicals and their role in generating her fears and feelings of depression. Key moments in this work are the character pulling out her brain and bouncing it like a basketball, walking over to a “brain tree,” plucking off a brain and eating it like an apple.

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– a short clip of the film

Solo Me-O is a documentary short about a cemetery visit. Mary Pagnotta, the subject of the film, is a ‘colorful’ Brooklyn-bred Italian-American woman in her late 60’s for whom the past is very much a part of the present. The film follows her to the graves of her husband, parents, brothers and sisters — and still finds her in deep mourning, years, and even decades, after their deaths.

Despite her obvious pain, Mrs. Pagnotta lightens up the sad ritual with her odd reminiscences of her loved ones and personal accounts of their deaths. She is a true character in every sense of the word and approaches the grave tour, her favorite past-time, as intimately as she would a chat with a loved-one at the kitchen table. She explains that everyone in her family that she went to visit, the next day they would die and so she is deemed a ‘grim weeper’ figure.

Mrs. Pagnotta takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride that is both heart-wrenching and hysterical as only an Italian woman from Brooklyn could.

The music of the film was composed by Vince Clarke, a pop music icon that has started such bands as Depeche Mode, Yaz and is currently with Erasure. He has written and produced several pop hits over the last few decades.

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“Baptism Of Solitude: A Tribute To Paul Bowles”

– a clip of the 35mm animated short.

Baptism of Solitude: A Tribute to Paul Bowles is a spoken word piece written and narrated by the legendary writer/composer Paul Bowles. This short clip of the animated work, directed by Tonya Hurley, is set to Bowles’ Baptism of Solitude, which has Bowles himself reading the piece. It is a 35mm short uses imagery to depict the inimate relationship between Bowles and the Sahara Desert. The film combines real life photography of Bowles and cutting edge, elaborate animation.

Paul Bowles is one of America’s most influential existential writers. His work, The Sheltering Sky has gone down in history as a great piece of American Literature. Mr. Bowles was born in New York, but he lived and wrote in Tangier, where he passed. This work is a tribute to him.

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“Biblical Real World”

– a short clip of the film

The Biblical Real World written and directed by Tonya Hurley, original music by Vince Clarke – depeche mode, yaz, erasure.

The Biblical Real World, a 35mm animated short, is a parody of MTV’s long-running and popular reality-based series, The Real World. Set in Gallilee in the first century A.D., and starring caricatures of Jesus, his disciples (the ‘roomies’) and other New Testament figures, the animated short satirizes many of the motifs used in the Real World program that have now become cliches — the extravagant furnishings, the politically correct mix of gay, straight and minority characters, house meetings and of course, and most appropriately, ‘the confessional’ where housemates reveal their true feelings directly to the audience.

The underlying humour in the ‘Fractured- Fairy-Tales-Meets-Davey-And-Goliath’ piece is based on reducing the most universally sanctified people in human history down to the level of selfishness and pettiness commonly found in Real World participants and will prove to deliver some hardy laughs for the millennium.

Some brief character descriptions include Jesus, who is soft spoken and arrogant, ordering people to get the phone or fetch him a glass of water because God wants them to. The Virgin Mary is a washed up, depressed mother who never hears from her son and gives him typical guilt trips. Judas accuses John of being a racist because of John’s missing sandals which he immediately pins on Judas because he is the only one from Southern Iscariot. There is even a ‘Clinger’ from M*A*S*H character who tries to get himself dismissed by wearing a pink boa and carrying a purse.

The background is all basic, natural materials. Wood, trees, rocks, fire, however, the set is sprinkled with the typical MTV furniture including a billard table, an Ikea couch and a neon fish tank which, in this case, is occupied by a fresh water bass.

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