Film Review: FELL, USA, Drama/Supernatural

This five minute American short wraps up fable, myth and supernatural suspense in a quick and dramatic tale. A woman sits beside a fire and listens to two small children tell her a fairy tale of two wolves who have puppies. The puppies however, are turned into children by unknowable forces. Mysteriously moved by the children’s tale, our heroine remarks that the fairy-tale’s children must be very well loved. When she leaves the campfire to get more wood, she is alarmed to  hear dogs barking in the distance.

 

FELL is one of those alluring, almost chilling films that leaves just enough unanswered for the viewer to want to watch it again and again. Meaningful natural symbology gentle lace there way through the film like cobwebs. Special note must be given to the excellent performances of both children, as well as the lead- as so much emotion is conveyed in such a short amount of amount of time, and with such simple dialogue.

 

At times eerie, and often unknowable, there is something indescribably captivating about FELL, something magical and ethereal that may make you want to watch it again and again.

Review by Kierston Drier

FELL, 5min, USA, Drama/Supernatural, 
Directed by Holly Voges

A cautionary tale about man’s possessive relationship with nature, as told by two children over a campfire.

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Film Reivew: HEDDA NEEDS HELP, USA, Comedy 

Director Lisa Baron delivers us a comic gem on a silver platter in the form the HEDDA NEEDS HELP. Enter Hedda- a sweet and wide-eyed innocent with the good-natured optimism of a classic buffoon. Bent on being a poet, she thinks she’s found a foothold in when she agrees to dog sit the dog of a famous poet while he goes on vacation with his wife. Sadly, her plan to wiggle into his good graces goes awry when she finds the dog dead in the apartment. Thus begins an uncomfortable but undeniable comedic escalation of circumstance while Hedda attempts to cover-up (and then dispose of) his mistakes.

 

You will laugh afresh with each new antic and despite the increasing severity of the events, you cannot stop yourself from loving Hedda. She personifies the endearingly eager and earnest hope for success that so many do- and the lack of foresight that some are also equally guilty of. A charming and at times befuddling romp through a comic wonderland, HEDDA NEEDS HELP is bright, charmingly, excellently cast and most importantly- hilarious.

Review by Kierston Drier

HEDDA NEEDS HELP, 14min, USA, Comedy 
Directed by Lisa Baron

Hedda Needs Help tells the tale of Hedda, an aspiring poet and undying optimist, tasked with watching the most prized possession of Manhattan’s acclaimed poet, Albert Stein: his dog. But when Hedda accidentally kills her big break we find that no one fails quite like Hedda, as she carries the weight of her problems around Manhattan in this all too real comedy gone awry.

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Film Review: BETWEEN SECONDS, USA, Romance/Music

BETWEEN SECONDS is a 20 minute American romance coming to us from director Nora Jaenicke.  Two musically talented star-crossed lovers met when they are both stuck in a professional rut. Alicia loses her beautiful operatic singing voice after struggling to find a foothold in her industry and Adrian, a classical pianist is unable to play in sync after his ex breaks his heart. Yet the two manage to find each other and learn how to once again, make beautiful music.

A polished and gorgeous piece, with anachronistic aspects that give it a timeless feel, BETWEEN SECONDS pulls you in with a sense of romantic mystery- and keeps you wrapped up in the story with it’s symbology and clever use of visual motifs.

In a fast-paced world that so often leaves it’s Artist struggling and treading professional water rudderless, this is a film that can pluck the heartstrings of anyone with a poetic, sensitive or romantic soul. BETWEEN SECONDS will take you on a journey and leave you with a powerful message- between every second lives risk and opportunity, but regardless: love is music, music is love.

Review by Kierston Drier

BETWEEN SECONDS, 20min, USA, Romance/Music 
Directed by Nora Jaenicke“Between Seconds” is the story of two musicians who have grown out of sync with their music and ultimately themselves. Adrian, a classically trained pianist, loses the ability to play in sync with his music when thoughts of his ex-girlfriend flood his mind. Alicia, a struggling opera singer, loses her ability to sing in sync when she realizes she can’t really grasp her dreams. Both the musicians discover mysterious red envelopes which lead them inside of their clocks and into a surreal clock world. Here they must figure out how to synchronize themselves or they risk never being able to play their music again.

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Film Review: FIRM WITH PURPOSE, USA, Comedy 

This raucous five minute comedy is a sharp, witty romp through a devoted mother and an emotional human-resources specialists on a job interview. FIRM WITH PURPOSE is bright, sparkling with humor and dazzling with situational comedy that very well may have you thinking “I think I know someone just like this.” When a supportive mother goes to an interview in place of her daughter to interview in her stead, she locks into an emotional climb up a comical staircase with the employer, leading to some surprising twists and turns.

 

Directors Tia Ayers and Shannon Ayers Swanson have done an excellent job with this work. A simple story that packs a powerfully effective comic punch, FIRM WITH PURPOSE is sure to please baby-boomers and millennials alike.

Review by Kierston Drier

Film Review: THE BENEFACTION, USA, Drama

THE BENEFACTION is a strong dramatic tale of an Indian Taxi driver, doing everything he can to eek out a living for himself, his wife and their young and ill daughter. While he treats his daughter to presents and promises of her bright future in dance, his relationship with his wife suffers- for his doting on their daughter is an expensive habit they can ill-afford while they fall behind on payments for his taxi cab. He thinks he may have found a turn of fortune when a patron leaves thousands of rupees in his cab- but his initial idea to gamble the money to try to raise more funds for his daughter’s’ health care needs backfires when his cab is repossessed before he can use the money. Soon after, his daughter collapses and is rushed to the hospital with a prognosis they can not afford. But our hero’s fate turns one more time.

 

Life is all about choices. THE BENEFACTION is a powerful and moving film that demonstrates this concept with excellence. Excellent performances and strong and engaging story elements keep this film gripping and meaningful. A multilayered story that ties in duty, fate, faith and karma, THE BENEFACTION leaves a powerful message that we all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.

Review by Kierston Drier

THE BENEFACTION, 27min, USA, Drama
Directed by Nikhat Powell

Protagonist Rishi, a young Indian taxi driver struggles to make his payments on his sole means of livelihood, his taxi. While under the threat of repossession, he finds his daughter falling prey to an unknown illness that could take her life. When his taxi is repossessed and his wife is ready to leave him, he must make choices that will affect his future, and the life of his daughter.

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Film Review: THE FOREST PRINCESS, USA, Fantasy/Family 

A five minute fantasy by Gretchen Bayer this gorgeous, sumptuous film is a beautiful look at life, nature and human relationships through the eyes of a child. A young girl runs through the forest recounting the wisdom of the world she has heard through her mother. Her universe is small, achingly innocent and astonishingly detailed as she embodies the  warrior and wanderer archetypes within the natural world. Beautifully shot and boasting excellent casting, this piece shines because it perfectly marries simplicity and profundity.

 

THE FOREST PRINCESS has some deeper tones within it. On the surface, it is a simple piece about the world of a child. Look just a little deeper though and this is a piece with a metaphor for the transition of death. As our young protagonist looks for her mother in the forest, and recounts the transition of a caterpillar into a butterfly, a poignant parallel can be found.

Review by Kierston Drier

THE FOREST PRINCESS, 5min, USA, Fantasy/Family 
Directed by Gretchen BayerIn a world, where the unknown is feared and misunderstood, one girl begins the journey within… searching the path for direction, finding the beauty that connects us and uncovering what conquers fear. She emerges with a simple, yet powerful understanding….

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Film Review: POST NO BILLS, Canada, Animation/Adventure 

Bright, fun and full of eye-catching pop-culture, POST NO BILLS, a five minute Canadian animation adventure from director Robin Hays, details the heroic journey of a small anthropomorphized Noodle-Box who comes to life from his advertisement poster. Falling in love with with the beautiful humanoid-fortune cookie a few posters away, our hero must journey across several other poster-advertisements to meet his dream girl/cookie. His journey turns deadly though, went the Urban wall all the advertisement posters are stapled to begins to get painted over.

POST NO BILLS is bright, with action and adventure in every frame. Highly polished, with a clean glossy feel to it, this is a joyful romp that will leave the viewer smiling from first scene to last. What makes POST NO BILLS special though, is that it also packs in a deeper message for the viewer. The film alone is bright enough, colorful enough and action-packed enough to be enjoyable. It is the ‘Cherry on top” of this film that adds that extra jolt of satisfaction. It is a message found as our hero completes his journey- that the sweetest things in life are uncovered in the lengths we’ll go to for love.
 

Review by Kierston Drier

POST NO BILLS, 5min, Canada, Animation/Adventure 
Directed by Robin HaysOn an urban city wall plastered with posters Noodle Boy must make his way through a series of obstacles and challenges in order to save his crush, Miss Fortune from the city’s clean up crew.

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MOVIE REVIEW: KAJAL (KOHL) (Drama)

Played at the August 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival to rave reviews.

by Kierston Drier

Most cinema aims to make the audience feel something- laughter or joy, terror and thrill, anticipation and satisfaction. Excellent films achieve this, while also making you think. Spectacular films do all these things while also leaving one with an empowering message. Enter Kajal, which has transcended all these requirements and more. This twenty minute short from Indian directed by Paakhi A Tryewala, is a cinematic masterpiece of beautiful, terror and empowerment. A statement on society through one woman’s solitary tale of domination and resistance. Our heroine, a submissive and cautious woman, disrespected by strangers, ignored by her boss, and berated by her husband, stumbles into a mysterious package on her way home- containing a gun. Empowered by a weapon that finally gives her an element of protection, defense and choice, our hero sets about making changes the the world around her that treats life as though she is less than those around her.

 

It is never the gun that creates the changes- it is our heroine, empowered by the realization that she can wield power- and she does so without ever uttering a word.

 

Kajal is beautifully shot, with gorgeous cinematography. It is exceptionally well cast on every level. The performance of leading actress Salony Luthra is nothing short of awe-inspiring, as she captivates the screen with strength, poise and undeniable grit and determination. This is a rare gem of a film that is composed in near-perfection as it takes the viewer slowly into the life of one woman, prepared to change her world by any means necessary. Yet, the gun that empowers her is a beautiful metaphor for her own power. A gun is only as dangerous as the person who holds it.

Kajal is a must-see film. It resonates with tension, sparkles with anticipation and burns hot with a deep message of empowerment. A breakthrough film with razer-edge execution, it is a riveting cinematic piece to watch. Bravo Paakhi A Tyrewala. Bravo!

KOHL, 20min, India, Drama
Directed by Paakhi A Tyrewala

Like all elements, humans have a saturation point. What happens when a woman — constantly bullied by a boss, harassed by strangers and abused by husband — finds an abandoned package one night?

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MOVIE REVIEW: NO STRINGS ATTACHED, (Music Video)

Played at the August 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival to rave reviews.

by Kierston Drier

This five minute music video from the USA, No Strings Attached is a bold and dramatic statement about the commercialization of art.  Highly abstract, yet clear with its goals, motives and intent, this stylized musical art piece is comment on media, money and the rights to human expression.

 

No Strings Attached performed by Alyssa Maria featuring Destiny Claymore and directed by Lindsay Penn is not only a strong musical number but is composed with exceptional lyrics and an unforgettable performances. The lyrics jump out at the viewer as clearly and as vibrantly as the stunning emotional visuals.  

 

A special nod must be given to the artistic design- the costumes, makeup and overall visual spectacle of the piece is just as lush and entrancing as the highly moving lyrics. An artistic but strong criticism and review of our music industry and the money that propels the creation and distribution of content, this is a strong and memorable performance and a incredibly engaging film to behold

NO STRINGS ATTACHED, 5min, USA, Music Video
Directed by Lindsay PennFans or dollars? A surreal exploration of the inner conflict of the independent artist.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

MOVIE REVIEW: THE SESSION (Comedy)

Played at the August 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival to rave reviews.

by Kierston Drier

An emotionally intense and psychologically thrilling comedy, this ambitious seven minute short hailing from the USA and directed by Molly Maguire is rollercoaster of extremes. It follows a timid Amanda at her first meeting with her  strong and confident therapist. Eager to please and desperate to be “just like everyone else”, Amanda is quick to obey the words of her trusted therapist, who quickly persuades her into accepting deep truths about her psyche. The power dynamics of this piece are quick, intense and startling, as the rapid fire writing carries the story from one emotional high to the next.

 

Incredibly successful while still being admirably ambitious, The Session may push a viewer out of their comfort zone with psychology manipulation and comic irony. However, this is the type of daring and adventurous cinematic short that must be highly commended for its strong performances, excellent writing and killer mic-drop comic twist ending. A worthy watch and a short not to miss.

THE SESSION, 7min, USA, Comedy
Directed by Molly Maguire

Amanda arrives early for her first therapy session a bit eager, nervous, and open to her Dr.’s professional words of wisdom. Dr. Franklin uses all of this to her advantage. Turning those fateful minutes in which Amanda arrived early into ones Amanda will never forget.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!