Movie Review: DISNEY CARTOON CAMERA (USA, Documentary)

Played at the August 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival

by Kierston Drier

A fascinating look at the history of cartoon cinema, from the early 20th century to present, Disney Cartoon Camera breaks down the cartoons through the technical lenses- literally and metaphorically.

 

Following respected and often renown Disney animators, archivists and technicians, this 30 minute short doc takes us step by step through the detailed and highly nuanced breakdown of creating lush and realistic art. From Snow White to Chicken Little we see the elaborate and innovative technology that makes it all possible. Bright, colorful, nostalgic and beyond fascinating, there is something for everyone in this cartoon-classic doc.

 

Disney Cartoon Camera takes on a far more educational tone that a more story-driven or character-driven doc, but it is nevertheless engaging and captivating. For the movie buff, the young-at-heart or even the cartoon geek, this is a film to watch, savor, learn and enjoy.

DISNEY CARTOON CAMERA, 23min, USA, Documentary
Directed by David BosserDisney Cartoon Camera, hosted by acclaimed historian Leonard Maltin, tracks the history of animation cinematography – from the origins of crude “down shooters” to the first multi-plane camera fashioned out of old car parts, to the latest digital camera capture systems – through the eyes of the camera operators and technicians.

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

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Movie Review: MY NAME IS JOAN (USA, Documentary)

Played at the August 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival

by Kierston Drier

My Name is Joan, packs an exceptional emotional punch. Poignant, compassionate and full of intrigue, it follows a story that is nothing short of scandalous, involving the mother-and-baby homes of the 1920-1980’s in Ireland. We follow Susan Drew, born Joan Fagan to an unwed mother in Dublin and adopted under mysterious circumstance, as she recounts her story of discovering her past. As Susan revels her own history- and that of her mother who lost her daughter in a mother-and-baby home to an overseas adoption, we also uncover the history of illicit adoptions performed through the Catholic church in a time when unwed mothers faced extreme persecution.

 

Untold numbers of women gave birth out of wedlock after the second world war. While the Irish government looked away, those women were sent to Church-run mother-and-baby homes, where they were promised totally anonymity and safety to deliver their babies. What they were not told was that they would be subjected to difficult conditions, poor treatment, neglect and that their children could be taken from them and adopted out- with very little they could do about it.

 

Susan would have been one more unnamed child lost in a sea of murky documentation. That is, if it hadn’t been for one nun who saved and scanned the paperwork of every child she saw under her care- Susan being one of them.

 

My Name Is Joan is an incredible documentary. Susan’s journey being the primary tale, the story still branches out, spider-web like, into the larger scandal. With jaw-dropping statistics and frightening conclusions to be drawn from them, it is incredible that such an event can take place, seemingly under the nose of a country. My Name Is Joan is one woman’s story of finding her past, and changing her future. It is also a story of a nation whose women and children were under siege. A gripping, emotionally ambitious and incredibly moving film.

 

MY NAME IS JOAN, 30min, USA, Documentary
Directed by Margaret Costa

Tells the story of Susan Drew, a woman who was born Joan Fagan to an unwed mother in the St. Patrick Mother and Baby Home in Dublin, Ireland in 1949. While the documentary chronicles Susan’s journey to find her true identity, it also highlights the illegal exporting of children by the Catholic Church to families in other countries for profit while the Irish Government looked the other way.

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

Movie Review: WALLY (USA, LGBT, Documentary)

Played at the August 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival

by Kierston Drier

This bright, fresh and endearing short directed by Andy Galloway, follows the life and memories of Wally Linebarger- a renowned and beloved art teacher at a religious school who was let go because of his sexuality in the early 1990s. The story follows, not only Wally (as he discusses who he is and what lead him to his decision to come out) but also his three daughters and the effect the issue had on them.

 

Wally will captivate you from the first frame with his emotional openness, his humor, his charm and his endearing view of the world. One of the most effective parts of this documentary, however, is the accompaniment of his children. The documentary would stand on its own without them, but with them it truly raises above and beyond. Wally’s three daughters add a complex and resonant angle to a controversial and heartbreaking matter- that their loving and devoted father was let go from his job, and isolated from a community simply because of who he was. The lasting repercussions of that, in turn, affected them. Their points of view, and their varying experiences, added a critical layer of depth. The film is richer and more poignant for their appearances, confessions, anecdotes and honesty.

 

It is a hard thing to dig through layers of memory, especially when little paperwork or documentation exists. But in the case of Wally, it is done, and with spectacular effectiveness. An engaging story and one worth sharing, Wally is a excellent film.

 

WALLY, 24min, USA, LGBT, Documentary
Directed by Andy Galloway

Wally Linebarger: a man cught in the turbulence of truth. Plagued by a past that longs to define him and a future that remains unsure, Wally presses forward. Despite a life of gain and loss, three lights continue to guide him.

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

Movie Review: UNTIL DEATH DO US PART, (USA, LGBT, Documentary)

Played at the August 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival

by Kierston Drier

Directed by Kristine Kirchmeier, Until Death Do Us Part, is a remarkable short documentary hailing from the USA chronicling the harrowing story of newlyweds Megan and Danielle and their battle with cancer. Only two days before their wedding, Megan is diagnosed with stage four cancer.

What follows in story about two incredibly brave people- made brave by the power of love. Faced with a world of uncertainty, turmoil and potential tragedy, Megan and Danielle show startlingly level-headed composure. Perhaps nothing captures their spirits better than Danielle’s confession to Megan,  “I love you, you idiot. You’re my person.”

What makes Until Death Do Us Part a special piece, is that as a documentary film, it  acknowledges the struggle, concern and desperation of dealing with illness while still showcasing the remarkable resilience of both these women. We see examples of their humanism, their moments of weakness, their fear of the future- while also never once doubting their devotion to one another.

A remarkable film about the lengths we go for love, Until Death Do Us Part is worth the journey. It reminds us all of the things that are worth fighting for.

UNTIL DEATH DO US PART, 8min, USA, LGBT, Documentary
Directed by Kristine Kirchmeier

Young newlyweds Megan and Danielle Love immediately have their wedding vows put to the test after Megan is diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer a few weeks after they’re married.

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

MOVIE REVIEW: REAL ARTISTS (USA, Fantasy/Drama)

REAL ARTISTS played to rave reviews at the July 2017 FANTASY FEEDBACK Film Festival.

“Winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the Festival.”

by Kierston Drier

 A breathtaking leap into speculative fiction, REAL ARTISTS is a profoundly powerful portrayal of humanity, biology and entertainment. Full of rich cinematic details, exceptional casting, brilliant performances and subtle but meaningful writing, this is a piece that demands to be engaged with.

Based on a short story by Ken Liu, a young woman with big dreams in the entertainment world, is summoned to a renowned film-producing giant. Initially excited by the prospect of being head hunted, she soon uncovers a dark secret about the film “factory”.

Intense, riveting and introspective while delivering all the powerful emotional punches of any good film, watching REAL ARTISTS feels like watching a bite-sized version of a dense and thrilling feature. Flawless graphics, engaging stories and powerful twists keep the viewers not wanting to blink of fear of missing a moment.

A gorgeous film to behold. REAL ARTISTS will make you think and make you feel. As the credits rolls, a viewer may find themselves wondering what the future of human creativity it- a brave new world, indeed.

 

REAL ARTISTS, 12min, USA, Fantasy/Drama
Directed by Cameo Wood

Real Artists, a dark tale set in the near future, is based on Ken Liu’s short story of the same name. Sophia just scored every animator’s dream interview at world famous Semaphore Animation Studios. But when the Creative Director, Anne Palladon, reveals that she knows about Sophia’s fan-edit of Semaphore’s hit film Mythos, Sophia sees her dreams begin to slip away.

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

MOVIE REVIEW: ECSTASY BOULEVARD (USA, Fantasy/Sci-Fi)

ECSTASY BOULEVARD played to rave reviews at the July 2017 FANTASY FEEDBACK Film Festival.

by Kierston Drier

 What happens when you give an alien Ecstasy and turn it loose in the night club? YOU ARE ABOUT TO FIND OUT!

In this five minute American short, our hero takes an unlikely journey into a metropolis, his curious appearance misunderstood as urban eccentricity and gets caught up in a rave scene. He is not alone, however, and his illegal trespassing upon Earth alerts an assassin to track him down. What follows is a smoky cinematic chase through the world of a city after dark.

What makes this piece stand out, despite it’s highly effective visuals and minimal dialogue, is its use of mixed media. Throughout the work, scenes of importance are replaced with powerful animated visuals, giving an otherworldly, fantastical spin on the piece.

A fantastic, futuristic and gripping story, ECSTASY BOULEVARD will have you on the edge of your seat.

 

ECSTASY BOULEVARD, 5min, USA, Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Directed by Benjamin Allen

When an illegal alien lands his spacecraft on Earth, the assassin known as Kn1ght powers up to hunt the reptile down.

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

Movie Review: A SPACE GOD APPEARS (USA, Experimental)

Played at the July 2017 Experimental Short Film Festival

A SPACE GOD APPEARS, 10min, USA, Experimental
Directed by Grayson ConverseCareening through the universe, pistols blazing, neutron drive pulsing, Spooky Mansion and Tino Drima spread their Space Rock. Follow these bands in this short film about Space, God, Hope and Music. One of the most important stories ever told.

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

This unique and original work unlike many films- experimental or not- it showcases two different real-life bands facing off musically within the confines of a larger-the-life short film. In the depths of space Spooky Mansion and Tino Drima are on two rival space ships- about to board and fight one another.

Laced with vintage pop-culture references and famous sci-fi callbacks to well loved shows, A SPACE GOD APPEARS lovingly satirized science fiction classics while revitalizing the tropes. Our rival bands compose their film with a colleague of cultural icons including visual references to various 1980’s music and media.

The film may be read as over-the-top by some viewers, but what is admirable about A SPACE GOD APPEARS is its bravery and unflinching choice to own it’s genre. Perhaps most unique, and authentic about this cinematic piece is its originality. The two bands that act as rivals on their space voyage are real life musical bands that have played together in real life.

A fresh twist on media favorites, and revitalizing way to reclaim the classics, A SPACE GOD APPEARS is a adventure for your cinematic sense and a true joy to watch.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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