Sundance Selects Borscht Animation About Key Biscayne ("Xemoland") for 2011 Festival
"Xemoland" is a tale of vengeance based on a true story. As Cardenas tells the blog Ninu Nina, "My older brother David and his friend convinced me that there was alternate dimension that would fulfill all my young fantasies (a lot of which included hover boards), but instead of taking me there they tormented me, playing off my fear of an atomic holocaust I acquired while watching Terminator 2." But in the fictionalized tale, the younger brother gets payback when he causes his older brother and his asshole friend to have a bad trip while 'shrooming.
We spoke with Alex Fumero, a producer of "Xemoland" who also did the voice of the younger brother, Cory. He grew up with Cardenas and the Borscht Film Festival's Lucas Leyva, so when he heard about the idea for "Xemoland" and the CCCV neighborhood stories, he connected the two. The short is based in Key Biscayne, and the condo featured was inspired by real-life Ocean Village, where Cardenas grew up. As Fumero explains, it is a prototypical Miami apartment building that seems plopped down in the middle of a jungle and gets pretty spooky at night.
Beyond the local color appeal to Miamians, though, Fumero thinks it won over the selection committee at Sundance because it takes the universal story of sibling bullying and injects a twisted ending. Plus, everyone loves to hear how Cardenas pounded out "Xemoland" practically by himself in a very short period of time. He did 90% of the work himself, scrambling through late nights animating at the Miami World Cinema Center.
"Xemoland" will compete in the Short Film Program at the Sundance Film Festival, January 20 to 30. Among the steep competition, the Key Biscayne story is up against viral video hits such as "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On." Here's hoping a strong narrative can trump cute.
If you're a local filmmaker, you'd be smart to get your project into the Borscht's CCCV Stories series. "Xemoland" is not the only CCCV film to hit big on the international film scene. Another short film in last year's series, "Day N Night Out," recently screened at Cannes.