Film Review: SKIN DEEP, UK, Fantasy 

How far would you go to recapture the passion of young love? How far would you go for vanity? How far would you go to put the spark back in your marriage? SKIN DEEP, a twenty minute UK film directed by Tim Willrich, tackles these complex problems through the lense of science-fiction.. When Millie feels unnoticed and unattractive in her stale marriage, she orders a mysterious miracle cream online. But it does more than just refresh her pores- it gives her an entirely new face and body. Initially attracted to the new look, the sparks fly between her and her husband- until Millie becomes obsessed with the many different bodies she can inhabited.  Increasingly uncomfortable with his wife regularly changing into a different person, the marriage becomes strained. Finally, Millie runs out of her product.

Metaphor intended, what makes SKIN DEEP a fascinating piece, is that it goes so much deeper than the surface. It is not simply a movie about a couple revitalizing their marriage with some new tricks- it is about a film about the illusions we engage in for love. It is a film that dissects the lengths we will go to for a sense of romantic security- and how those lengths often backfire is strange and horrible ways.

Gorgeous performances and wonderfully communicated despite the minimal (yet effective) script, SKIN DEEP is a strong, smoldering and fascinating science fiction film.

Review by Kierston Drier

Film played at the 2018 FANTASY/SCI-FI Film Festival on Valentine’s Day in downtown Toronto, Canada

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SKIN DEEP, 20min., UK, Fantasy 
Directed by Tim Willrich

Obsessed by appearance, a woman applies mysterious cream to help reignite her stagnant marriage. But when her skin peels away, her obsession soon turns his fantasy into a nightmare.

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Film Review: DEAR INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, UK, Documentary/War

Riveting, impactful, emotional and honest, DEAR INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY is hard-hitting and compelling look at the international crisis affected refugees in the middle east. Directed by filmmaker Henrik Friis, this film is a brave look at the front lines of the international conflict happening in our world.

In an age flooded with news and information, it is easy to get lost in the conflicts of others and it is hard to resist the urge to pull the blinds from conflicts that do not affect us. Until, that is, we realize that we are all connected.

A bold statement on poverty, humanity and staying awake and informed, DEAR INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY is a call-to-action, and an appeal to lend out our hands to other humans in need. A strong piece to be seen, well done to Henrik Friis.

Review by Kierston Drier

PLAYED at the January 2018 EUROPEAN Film Festival.

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DEAR INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, 4min., UK, Documentary/War
Directed by Henrik Friis After travelling to the frontlines of Iraq and the border of Syria for the past several years documenting the war against ISIS, ‘Dear International Community’ is a short video documenting the hundreds of encounters we’ve had across Europe and Iraq.

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Film Review: THE WAVES, UK, Animation

A bright and unique animation, this four minute UK film brought to us by director Oscar Lewis tells a deeply moving story. An artist retells his childhood memories through simple and vibrants animations- softened and slightly surreal, the way distant memories often feel. Poetic and interpretive in nature, the film appeals to a love of high contrast. On one hand, the bright, youthful images dance carefree in the minds of the viewers- on the other hand, the adult recounting these memories seems to hint at a darkness that lurks within him- sometime after these early memories, sometime before his current point.

Laced with occasionally ominous undertones, but still managing to captures the purity and innocence of youth THE WAVES is a love letter to childhood. It is a short film that carefully wraps up memory and tucks it safely away from the harsh realities of adulthood. A deep and compelling animated film.

Review by Kierston Drier

PLAYED at the January 2018 EUROPEAN Film Festival.

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THE WAVES, 4min., UK, Animation
Directed by Oscar LewisAn artist returns to his work after suffering a mental breakdown.

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Film Review: 21ST CENTURY HERMIT, UK, Documentary

The story of a woman who felt the calling to God since childhood, 21ST CENTURY HERMIT tells the true story of the life of one woman seeking solace and fulfillment through religious sacrifice. Following her through “a-day-in-the-life-of” format, we hear Sister Rachel Denton’s story and her vow to life as a religious hermit. This powerful three minute UK documentary directed by Neil Hall shows us that a happy life is not measured by materials, or conventional success- but measured by the fulfillment of the human heart. When Sister Rachel confesses her recent diagnosis with a terrifying illness, she sets out to make a proverbial bucket list- only to discover so many of her goals and dreams are already being accomplished.

For a film so short and simple, it is racked with depth and emotion. A heartfelt piece indeed.

Review by Kierston Drier

PLAYED at the January 2018 EUROPEAN Film Festival.

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21ST CENTURY HERMIT, 3min., UK, Documentary 
Directed by Neil HallSister Rachel Denton has vowed to spend the rest of her life living as a consecrated hermit in the Catholic faith. A hermit is a person who chooses to live alone, with the intention of finding God. Rarely leaving her house, she lives a life of prayer and solitude. However, she uses the internet and social media to share her experience and distance herself from physically interacting with society.

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

Film Review: TOO SOON? (UK, Comedy)

 A sharp witty comedy coming out of the UK, TOO SOON, directed by Natalie Neagle and Sally Samad, is a fun and political romp down the rabbit hole of politically correct law breaking.

When a young shopkeeper stops an Egyptian woman from shoplifting, the tables are turned with the rule-breaking breaks into a passionate breakdown of who really owns the bread. Is it the European store, or the country the bread came from- this lady’s country, she might add.

Humorously uncomfortable, gritty, witty and bright, TOO SOON must be commended on several key points. It boasts dazzling comedic performances from both actresses, has a smooth, glossy visual appeal and strikes very current in our modern age.

Perhaps another element of story that must be noted, is the efficiency of story. With one scene, approximately two shots and only three minutes, a full story is generated, complete with conflict, dramatic tension, comedy and a killer twist.

Well done, TOO SOON. A delight and savvy comic romp.

PLAYED at the January 2018 Comedy/Drama Festival. 

Review by Kierston Drier

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TOO SOON?, 3min., UK, Comedy
Directed by Natalie Neagle & Sally Samad

In this short, we see an awkward encounter in a supermarket car park as a new comedy duo take a satirical swipe at imperialism.

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Film Review: WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY, UK, Experimental/Relationship

WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY follows a handful of transgender individuals living within the Hijra communities of India. Although India has passed a law acknowledging a third gender within their population, and Hijras, as a community have been recognized within social and religious communities with India for centuries, Hijras still face incredible discrimination in India and struggle to gain the basic rights offered to other Indian Citizens. A Hijra may identify themselves as a transgendered person, may be eunuch or an intersex person. Many Indians identifying as Transgendered may face discrimination of isolation from their community, and may seen refuge in the Hijra community. WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY chronicles the life of several such women. Denied access to many jobs, our protagonists are often left with little options for work except for sex work or begging- often exposing themselves to terrible dangers in the process.

 

But the lives of our heroes, while often difficult, are far from hopeless. Each of them possess incredible talents, such as classical dancing, or  provided important roles during religious ceremonies, or have admirable aspirations, such as working for the their government. There is never a doubt of the boundless human potential that exists within them, despite the often difficult circumstances of their lives.

 

WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY is a telling tale of it’s time. It acknowledges that crucial aspect of the hijra community not being one that has “suddenly appeared”, but one that has long since been a part of Indian history and culture. But it also showcases the changing tides of a future on the cusp of changing. WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY showcases the life for the Hijra community now, but also points to the hope of what the future holds for the community as well. A future where this community has rights to land ownership, child-adoption, working freely without discrimination. WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY is a story of hope, through the eyes of the women on the front-lines of movement to provide a better life for all people. A moving and important film. Many credits of acknowledgement to the amazing bravery of the cast, and the director Tabs Breeze and Georgia Oakley.

by Kierston Drier

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WE DID NOT FALL FROM THE SKY, 26min., UK, Experimental/Relationship
Directed by Tabs Breese & Georgia OakleyPurushi, Pratiksha and Shalu are three best friends and trans women struggling to find their place in contemporary Indian society, often via the only means of making a living available to them: sex work and begging. Our film is a highly stylised art piece – the live action is intercut with animation and dreamlike dance sequences.

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Film Review: ALAN WILLIAMS METAL ARTIST, UK, Documentary/Art 

ALAN WILLIAMS METAL ARTIST is a spectacular piece of cinematic documentary storytelling. Shining with incredible images from every frame and with fantastical creations waiting to leap out in every corner, Alan Williams carries us, the audience, along with him while he turns seemingly useless scrap metal in to utterly stunning works of mastery.

 

At seven minutes, to see so much in so small a time is an ambitious feat, but director Ben Cox is able to put together a brilliant documentary in that impressively small time frame. A film that sparks as much passion as the artist himself clearly has for his work, ALAN WILLIAMS METAL ARTIST is a captivating visual journey of art and beauty. A delight for the eyes and the artists’ heart.

 

by Kierston Drier

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ALAN WILLIAMS METAL ARTIST, 7min., UK, Documentary/Art 
Directed by Ben CoxAlan Williams: Creatures of the Deep offers an insight into the mind and work of the immensely talented Brighton sculptor Alan Williams, who turns scrap metal into amazing animal figures

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