Short Film Review: PERISTENCE, 12min., Canada

In the award winning short film, PERSISTENCE, there is a character named Sean. He’s an average white male in his early 30s. He likes a girl that he works with named Brooke. He’s smitten. So he attempts to court her. He tries his “charm” on her and feels that they could be really good together. After being turned down by Brooke for a date, he doesn’t let that dissuade him. He feels that eventually she’ll see the error of her ways and soon enough she’ll say yes. He is determined to get this girl. Perhaps if she’s see how much he likes her, then she will eventually like him.

This premise sounds like a lot of Hollywood romantic comedies in the last 90 years! Guy meets girl at work. Guy likes girl. Guy goes above and beyond to get girl. Eventually she says yes to a date, realizes how great a guy he is, fall in love, and live happily ever after. How many times have we watched a film like this?

  • The Notebook
  • There’s Something About Mary
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love
  • Passengers
  • Twilight
  • The Graduate
  • New York, New York
  • Love Actually
  • Say Anything
  • 50 First Dates

I just named 10 films on the top of my head without even trying. And I’m sure there are at least 50 more. Think about all of the high school films from the last 25 years. Tons of stalking is normal scenarios. And we can do another list in the 100s of the TV shows with creepy stalking.

And this is what PERSISTENCE is all about. “Normalizing” the creepy guy courting girl concept and showing things from the stalkee perspective. Bottomline, writer/director Krista Barzso is telling a story about abuse. Her character (Brooke) is having a nice first date. She’s happy and excited about the moment. Perhaps this date will lead to something more, or perhaps not. The date gets spoiled because Sean arrives with one more attempt to “get” his girl. Now he’s showing up in random public situations because he feels that’s what he needs to do to finally land Brooke.

PERSISTENCE is a perfect 12 minute short film. It tells us a scenario that we’re all familiar with and flips it on his head. And it doesn’t spoonfeed the emotions to the audience. It gives us enough so we can come up with our own conclusions. It shows the film from three unique perspectives. Sean, the abuser. Brooke, the one who is being stalked and abused. And Alex, Brooke’s date who is seeing things from the audience’s perspective – that Sean is fucked up. Sean’s not technically breaking any laws, but he’s definitely doing a criminal act.

Nicely directed by Neil Schell who balances the reactions from all three characters and gives them each a deep emotional journey and arc. Schell starts the film from the stalkers point of view as Brooke and Alex enter the coffee shop in that way a first date couple do. Happy but not totally comfortable with each other yet. Generally a normal person would see this and leave them alone. Not Sean. He’s determined!

All that said, this is Krista Barzso’s film. She wrote a terrific script, which is probably a personal story for her. She’s smart enough to make sure that it’s not just written from Brooke’s perspective as the other two male characters are fully fleshed out. Alex seems like a good guy, so this isn’t a male bashing film. Sean is just a bad apple who doesn’t know quite yet (or might not ever) that his core is rotten. I’m not giving Sean a pass for his behaviour, but perhaps his character is the micro story to the macro problem of men (and women too) getting praised for these types of actions. And it needs to stop.

Bravo Krista. We can’t wait to see what you do next. And you’re an excellent actor too!

by Eli Manning

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Short Film Review: LIGHT, 5min., Sci-Fi/Experimental

“LIGHT” is an amazing film.

First, we need to talk about HOW this film was made.

Directed by Karla Santa Anna, with the help of Midjourney (, an AI-powered program that uses state-of-the-art technology to generate images. In laymen’s terms — This is an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) movie. And trust me, this is only the beginning. You’ll be seeing many more of these types of films in the future.

Karla Santa Anna chats about this process on the WILDsound podcast, and it’s fascinating. All you need to do is watch the film and see the amazing images that were captured with this program that fit the story and overall themes. It must be noted that Karla simply didn’t tell the A.I. to make this film, then lay back in her computer chair for a siesta. There is creative work involved. A lot of it is Karla’s specific communication with the program and then her figuring out what images created worked, didn’t work, and needed tinkering. With anything that succeeds in life there needs to be a plan in effect.

Plus, there is a terrific sound design that gives this film that extra touch of brilliance. Again, Karla uses 2023 materials and takes advantage of Moby’s music track program ( where he allows his music to be sampled for free to Independent, non-profit, and student filmmakers for their short films or videos. Moby’s music with a beautifully written voice over performed by Marlene Gordon takes “LIGHT” to the next level of short films.

So WHY was this film made?

In Karla Santa Anna’s words – “The world is upside down.”

And her summarization is that we all need to find the “LIGHT” in our hearts. To do the right things for the betterment of this world. Of course, that idea could sound a bit fluffy or idealistic to many. But watch this film and you will understand the message and reasoning.

“LIGHT” is a film that should be watched by everyone. Because spiritually it’s a message for the future. And creatively it’s a film of the future.

By Eli Manning

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1977 Movie Review: ANNIE HALL, 1977

Movie Reviews

Directed by Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
Review by Eli Manning


Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the interesting Annie Hall.


First lines of film:
Alvy Singer: [addressing the camera] There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.</br

That is the overall theme of this movie and Woody Allen tells us about it straight up.

There’s been a lot written about this film and many of the film’s core ideas are in other people’s films because this is just one of those films! It triggered a great emotion in the world and is considered the Classic Comedy film of all-time.

Woody Allen is a master of the art of laughter and sadness. When he is in his own films he always plays a man who loves himself and hates himself at the same time. His self-love and confidence puts himself in great spots and situations until his self-hatred brings him down and out of those good situations. And that is the grammar of Woody Allen. These are the films he makes: then, now and in the future.

Allen plays moderately successful comedian Alvy Singer. He’s been married before and is seasoned in the world of relationships. Seasoned but really a failure in it. He falls for the woman Annie Hall, a young idealist with different core values than himself – played brilliantly by Diane Keaton (who picked up an Oscar for Best Actress). Annie Hall likes Alvy because he’s the type of guy that she can learn a lot from and has been in situations where she wants to be.

Right from the start it becomes a mentor/protege relationship and the madness of this situation is that Alvy can learn a whole lot more from Annie than vice/versa. But Alvy is too much into Alvy and his own love/hate of himself. It’s just too hard for him to really see or understand this.

Of course this is a comedy and it’s a very funny film. So funny in fact that I believe that someone who watches this film 100 years from now will laugh just as much as we do now and when they did in 1977 when it opened. It has universal appeal as we all want to find love but the trick is that you need to love yourself first in order to love someone else.

Emotionally most of us attach ourselves to Annie Hall because she carries this genuine kindness for herself and humanity. And we want her to get far away from Alvy because he’s a selfish jerk, even though we can’t help but like him. Avly (and Woody Allen) has charm and charm seems to go a long way in life.

A film everyone needs to watch and see. Some will hate it I understand because it’s just a film that hits too close to home for some people to really laugh at. Or they just hate quirky comedies. In my opinion it’s the best comedy of all-time.

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