Movie Review: A PLACE IN THE CITY, USA, LGBT/Documentary

Full to bursting with bright color and dazzling city scapes, A PLACE IN THE CITY follows three stories of three people living with HIV in New York. Taking a dive into the personal and intimate lives of three brave individuals, we see many of the compelling issues the surround HIV- from how healthcare can innocently act to isolate the person living with HIV from their community, to how housing itself is a type of healthcare, to how the world of art and culture accepts artist living with HIV.

 

What sets A PLACE IN THE CITY apart from films of a similar nature is the tone- this is a not a heavy, stark or ominous work. It is bright, it is light, it is brimming with hope and it is nevertheless meaningful and informative. A PLACE IN THE CITY, has been excellently composed by directors Nate Lavey and Stephen Vider, and thoughtfully put together to consider the wide variety of people that can be touched by HIV. Now considered a chronic condition, HIV still holds massive stigma is society. Films like A PLACE IN THE CITY shed much needed light on the condition- and most importantly, the humanity, support and social movement behind it. A wonderful film to see.

 

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

A PLACE IN THE CITY, 18min., USA, LGBT/Documentary
Directed by Nate Lavey, Stephen Vider

A personal and intimate look at how caretaking, housing, and family intersect with experiences of HIV/AIDS today. CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

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Movie Review: THE LOVE INDUSTRY, USA, LGBT/Documentary

This twenty minute documentary is a fascinating look into the world of professional online-dating profile writers. Following two different professionals who two drastically different methods, we see the ins and outs of a growing profession that targets people who want to find love online. Lisa Hoehn, takes a “gut” approach to profile ghost writing, reviewing people and tweaking what naturally feels best. She’s seen everything under the sun when it comes to online dating, from cheating lovers to terrible break ups. When she meets another online profile writer, who uses a more mathematical, data-based approach to his work, they completely clash- showing the love isn’t always easy to find- even when finding it is part of your job.

 

Our heroes are fascinating, engaging and loveable. The film paints an often humorous, honest and occasionally painfully familiar portrait for a vast numbers of people who have gone online to find their next partner. THE LOVE INDUSTRY is about a lot of things- our modern world, social media, niche business opportunities- but ultimately it’s about one incredible part of existence- the hurdles and rewards of meaningful human connection.

 

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

THE LOVE INDUSTRY, 20min., USA, LGBT/Documentary
Directed by Matt Cusimano 

Lisa Hoehn has an unusual job: she makes a living ghostwriting online dating profiles for a large and diverse set of clients, eager to put their best foot forward in the labyrinthine world of social media. CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Movie Review: MASQUERADE, USA, LGBT/Drama

A ten minute historical film about the Old South and the trails of race and freedom, MASQUERADE tells the story of a young black couple, enslaved by their master. When the master makes an advance on his male worker, the young couple decide to flee for their own safety. While the master of the house throws a masquerade ball, the couple attempt to pass as an elderly rheumatic man and his black attendant. When the wife, Ninny asks if they should run away, her husband answers “Master wants to run away to the city, so I reckon it’s normal for folks to want to run away.”

 

MASQUERADE is a film about “running away” and “passing”- whether passing as white or passing as heretosexual, running to the city, or running to the north, all the characters are looking for something similar- freedom. This is a film about the trapping of society and how they push us all to extremes, it is a film the ripples with tension from the first frame to the final credits. Wonderfully cast and performed, and stunning in its design and cinematography- creating a full period piece is not an easy task in a short film. MASQUERADE is dedicated to all the people who “Passed” as a way to reach freedom- and to all those who could not. It is a powerful piece worth seeing.

 

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

MASQUERADE, 10min., USA, LGBT/Drama
Directed by Andrew Hawkins

1848 Virginia. Slave couple Sam and Ninny execute an escape after their slave master George makes an unconscionable advance. ‘Masquerade, A Story of the Old South’ is an uncommon slave narrative, capturing the experience of both African Americans and gay people during this complicated time. CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Movie Review: BEYOND THE WALL, USA, Documentary

This twenty-six minute documentary coming out of the USA by directors Jay Root and Todd Wiseman, BEYOND THE WALL takes a three-part look at the political crackdown on illegal immigrants and border crossings. Remarkably informative and incredibly educational and in depth for a film in only twenty-six minutes, BEYOND THE WALL breaks down the incredibly complex social and political platform of illegal immigration quickly and effectively. From explaining the social pulls like gangs and crime violence in Central America, to the drug smuggling supply and demand chain in North America, to the corporate desire for cheap, unregulated, undocumented labor in the North American employment sectors, we see how ingrained and complex the situation is really is.

 

BEYOND THE WALL must be highly commended for its research- it does its due diligence in researching many sides of the issue. It follows families fleeing gang violence, speaks to officials and police officers on the ground zero of Central American gang violence, talks to American ranchers who watch undocumented immigrants cross the border, and speaks to people in process of getting their documentation for citizenship, who have been exploited by the demand for undocumented laborers. A meaningful and impactful look at the gravity behind a hot-bed political issue, this is a film that goes beneath the surface and takes a look at the deeper issues that exist.

 

Watch BEYOND THE WALL. It is a film that will inform you, regardless of your political affiliation. For education alone it is a v

BEYOND THE WALL, 26min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Jay Root, Todd Wiseman

Get past the rhetoric and experience the reality of the U.S.-Mexico border. The film puts viewers into the shoes of undocumented immigrants, Border Patrol agents and a Texas borderland rancher to explore the nation’s most pressing border and immigration issues.

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

 

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

 

 

Movie Review: WEEKEND WARRIOR, USA, Documentary

WEEKEND WARRIOR, a six minute documentary hailing from the USA by director Jonathan Harris follows Trey Bowen, a young daredevil with a passion for four-wheeling. Gentle and down to earth, at first glance Trey might not seem the type to strap himself into a massive machines and go airborne at forty miles an hour. But he is. WEEKEND WARRIOR tells the story of Trey, and his life-long pursuit of his great passion- four wheeling tricks. From creating a massive foam pit to ride his bike into, to building ramps to jump off of, there is nothing less than a labour of love that propels our hero to his end goal- to do a trick that only twelve people have done before- a full mid air flip.

 

What is most engaging about this piece is that it reminds us all that talent is rarely innately born into us. Talent is the product of commitment and passion. Goals, like anything worth having in life- is hard work. Trey is true to the films name- he is a weekend warrior. Something so many of those working a 9-5 must become to live their dreams. The thing that cannot be denied about Trey and his story is his infectious happiness and effortless joy. It is both enviable and inspiring to watch Trey achieve is dreams.

 

A film that boasts gorgeous cinematography and tells a feel good story for all ages, WEEKEND WARRIOR is a film for all who dare to dream.

 

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

WEEKEND WARRIOR, 6min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Jonathan Harris

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

Movie Review: WATER, USA, Documentary

A four minute film about the beauty of the natural world, WATER, directed by Mark Knight, has no voice over, no words, and no people in it. Our main character is water- it’s transformative nature and its raw power. From towering icebergs to roaring waterfalls to utterly still glassy swamps- WATER takes your across the tapestries of the natural world quickly with effortlessness and ease.

 

Awesome in its scope and spectrum, and inspiring in its simplicity, this film is an homage to the wonder of the natural vistas of the planet. It will remind us that we are all, so often guilty of the greatest folly of humanity- we walk upon the earth as though we own it. WATER will remind you that we are far from the most powerful force on the planet.

 

Review by Kierston Drier

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WATER, 4min, USA, Documentary
Directed by Mark Knight

Window Channel Network takes you on a four-minute journey to some of the planet’s most spectacular glaciers, waterfalls, beaches, rivers and waterways. Destinations include, Iceland, Igauzu Falls Brazil, Atchafalaya Basin Louisiana, Lake Tahoe California, Black Canyon of the Gunnison Colorado, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Music score Wieland Reisssmann by Peter Simmer.

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

Movie Review: NOT THIS AGAIN, USA, Drama/Romance

An eight-minute film coming out of the USA, NOT THIS AGAIN, directed by David Nichols Jr, is about what happens to relationships that function in the face of illness. After a difficult night dealing with chronic illness, a man and his partner have a fight about his inability to move forward in life. Of course, wasn’t this always how it was supposed to end? Wasn’t she leaving the inevitable conclusion to this sad story? But this story is not about illness. It is about what it means to give and take in relationships- the selflessness and selfishness we are all guilty of when we take people for granted.

 

NOT THIS AGAIN, is not about illness- it is about what illness can do to people and what those people in turn, do to each other. A compelling and emotionally deep film, it does not overburden us with exposition. We hear the couples pain through their subtext, and we read their feeling without needing to understand what their world was built on up to this point. We are left with the knowledge that illness does not end love. Yet love can not always end illness. Ultimately, both people have to stand up and fight for each other and for themselves. If they don’t- neither can stay. NOT THIS AGAIN is a deep and thought-provoking look at human relationships- a strong and vibrant work, indeed.

 

Review by Kierston Drier

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

NOT THIS AGAIN, 8min, USA, Drama/Romance
Directed by David Nichols Jr.

After three years of being together, STEPHANIE and JOSH are having a difficult time connecting. Stephanie is doing her best to help take care of Josh after his most recent surgery but he isn’t making it easy for her.

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