Film Review: BACK PAGE RIPPER, USA, Sci-Fi/Mystery 

BACK PAGE RIPPER a five minute American Science-fiction film from Stephen Rutterford, follows a young woman on a hunt to find the monster that has been terrorizing the city. It’s crime? Ripping the back pages out of books. When she finally catches sight of the monster, she must chase it- forever searching to the end of every story. But how will her story resolve when she finally catches up to a monster who steals endings?

What makes this slender short film so fascinating is its inception-style resolution. We never get to see the ending of the story. Why? Because this science-fiction film reflects real life. We never get to know the end of our story- we aren’t supposed to. That is half the fun of reading the book. Does our heroine make her own ending? Can she wrestle one out of the monster that steals all written resolutions?

BACK PAGE RIPPER has a wonderful, noir, pulp-fiction vibe to it (yes, pun intended) and the tone fits beautifully with the fantastical notion of a villainous creature stealing the endings of stories. A gritty yet fantastical film, and a joy to watch.

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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BACK PAGE RIPPER, 5min. USA, Sci-Fi/Mystery 
Directed by Stephen RutterfordA girl must solve the mystery of who ripped the last page out of her mystery novel.

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

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Film Review: LILITH, USA, Sci-Fi/Drama 

LILITH is a nineteen minute American Science-fiction drama directed by David Odio. Set is terrifying dystopian world where beautiful women are held as trinket commodities  in captivity and taught only one decorative skill, LILITH tells the story of one such woman who bucks the broken system. Though it costs her dearly, her break with the world of patriarchal society will set her free.

Dark and sinister with its undertones, LILITH is a film that takes real issues in society and distills them down through a nearly fantastical lense of science-fiction. Sexism in it’s most extreme is showcased in LILITH, as a way to hold up a mirror to modern-day inequality. We can be entertained safely by such films, because they are so much more hyperbolic than our own world…or are they?

Truly well-made science-fiction asks us to think about our world in relation to the world the story tells. The world Lilith comes from is dangerous, gritty and horribly defeatist for any female- doomed to a short life lived as a sex doll of s service provider for the dominate male class. What does LILITH say as a film? It asks us to examine how different or how similar its’ world is from our own- are we frighteningly close to the world our heroine comes from?

But within every dystopia, there is cause for hope. And there is no lack of hope in LILITH. For within the titular character lies a grit and determination that she follows to the extreme- and it leads her to brighter tomorrow.

A sharp, deep, dark and compelling rollercoaster of social commentary on our world, LILITH is a powerful film indeed.

Review by Kierston Drier

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

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

LILITH, 19min., USA, Sci-Fi/Drama 
Directed by David Odio

Set in a gritty, dystopian society, women are collected as commodities and taught only one designated skill. When a young girl named Lilith defies the system, her curiosity challenges the patriarchal rule and the city’s way of life.

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Film Review: 116, USA, Romance/Experimental 

A beautiful mature woman wakes up in a hotel with a beautiful young man. Sounds great yes? Certainly. What follows is an sizzling experimental romantic piece- the dialogue utilizing only lines from Shakespeare’s sonnets. 116, directed by Julia Campanelli, will delight a Shakespeare lover. And if you are not a lover of Shakespeare, then you will love the rich and sumptuous details loving woven into this piece. It sizzles and crackles with sexual energy and rich and lush sense of heavy dramatic style.

Being and experimental film, it is best to go into 116 with an open mind, as it is highly interpretive. We do not know the relationship of the man and woman (although we can guess, wink, wink) There sensual, passionate, dramatic yet playful struggles are not made overtly clear by the use of the minimalist interpretive scripts of Shakespeare’s sonnets. But 116 is a delight to watch. It has intensity, romance and sparkles with lust. Who wouldn’t love it?

116, 15min., USA, Romance/Experimental 
Directed by Julia CampanelliLove – no bed of roses.
A woman wakes up in a hotel room with a younger man at her side. She insists he leave, he resists, and the struggle begins.

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Film Review: EASY, A 3 MINUTE LOVE STORY, (USA, Romance)

We all want a fairytale ending. Fairytales are not always being swept away to a castle to live a life of luxury. Sometimes a fairy tale is simply loving someone effortlessly, without fear of repercussion. Enter EASY, A 3 MINUTE LOVE STORY. A love story about two high school boys in love. Although they belong to different faiths, and although one family is pleased and the other disapproving- their love is unchanged.

What is so special about this sweet, simple and beautiful film is that is speaks to something every person, from every walk of life can understand. That love makes you invincible, impervious to pain. Moments exist in our chaotic and terrifying world that save us from losing our minds- they are moments born out of love. They are moments that make fairytales things of reality. EASY A 3 MINUTE LOVE STORY is about moments like these.

Review by Kierston Drier

Film played at the 2018 ROMANCE Film Festival on Valentine’s Day in downtown Toronto, Canada

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EASY, A 3 MINUTE LOVE STORY, 3min., USA, Romance/Drama 
Directed by Robert GuthrieTwo high school guys are in love. One’s Christian. One’s Jewish. A father disapproves – the other’s parents are thrilled. Who cares that it’s not perfect? They got this.

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Film Review: IT GETS BETTER?, USA, LGBT/Experimental

A strong, experimental and dramatic piece about one man’s journey through love, sex and relationships, IT GETS BETTER? Is an emotional rollercoaster. We follow a man, slowly drinking himself into a more philosophical state of mind while he watches an online video of a young man making an “it gets better” confessional video. But does it? Our hero dives down into a long introspective journey of the love and loss that accompanies sexual awakenings.

 

What is most thought provoking about this piece, is that is focuses on love and relationships in the homosexual community in an age-bracket that is over the under-25 range. This is a demographic often overlooked. Our hero examines that excitement of new love, the thrill of new experiences and independence and the depression that inevitably follows the end of those first romantic entanglements. This rollercoaster of highs and lows is not exclusive to any community, regardless of orientation the rise and fall of love that is gained and loss is relatable to many- but what is special is that it is a reminder that this love and pain is not exclusive to the one area of any population. All who can love risk experiencing loss and the pain of that feeling can throw even the strongest spirits into emotionally complication. IT GETS BETTER? Is an examination of one man’s heartfelt and meaningful journey through the complex tapestry of human relationships. Highly metaphorical, deeply meaningful and composed with strong emotional cords, IT GETS BETTER? Has the feeling of watching a powerful stage play on screen. A deeply engaging film.

by Kierston Drier

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IT GETS BETTER?, 11min., USA, LGBT/Experimental
Directed by Stephen RiscicaAn older gay man is inspired to record a testimonial after watching a bisexual teenager’s video, assuring him that ‘It Gets Better.’

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Film Review: IN A HEARTBEAT, USA, LGBT/Animation 

Bright, colorful and full of love and laughter, this short animation is first love at its’ finest. A young boy at school has fallen hard for his first crush- smartly dressed and sauvly handsome, his crush doesn’t seem to know he exists. But our hero’s heart goes crazy every time the crush walks by- and terrifyingly so! For our hero’s heart literally takes matters into it’s own hands when it jumps out of his cheat and rushes into the crush, causing a string of hilarious hijinks and, of course, an embarrassing scene.

 

This film is special because it is just so relatable. Regardless of the gendered pairing of the couple- boy-girl, boy-boy or girl-girl, the scene is undeniably familiar to anyone who has ever fallen hard for the beautiful stranger. It’s a beautiful, simple and touching story of loving making us fools- and fools finding kindness. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, as Shakespeares’ players once said, and IN A HEARTBEAT reminds us why.

by Kierston Drier

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IN A HEARTBEAT, 4min., USA, LGBT/Animation 
Directed by Beth David & Esteban Bravo

A closeted boy runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams

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Film Review: CHRISTINE, USA, LGBT/Coming of Age

Gorgeously shot with exceptional casting, CHRISTINE is the poignant story of precious young Christine who can’t beat her friend in an arm wrestling match, her friend decides to help her. At her request, he cuts her hair and shares his clothes with her, and in a few meaningful but speedy moments Christinee completely transforms- at least, almost. She still can’t seem to best her friend in arm wrestling- something deeply distressing to her.

The beauty of this film is that it accomplishes so much with so little dialogue. There is an excellence in this piece with its simplicity and yet profundity of meaning. Without over burdening the scenes with expositio the meaning behind the film is still perfectly conveyed- the testament of character is far more than skin deep. Christine’s friendship with her male counterpart has the almost tangible feeling of being founded within childhood and yet extending through it and into adolescence. With the nostalgic anachronistic feeling of a youthful summer day, this film captures the early moment of coming-of-age for Christine and she begins the journey of independence and self discovery. A film about knowing yourself, even amidst finding out who you are, CHRISTINE is a film will touch your heart while it makes you think.

by Kierston Drier

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CHRISTINE, 10min, USA, LGBT/Coming of Age
Directed by Jessica Adler

With the help of her best friend, Christine redefines her perception of strength and what it means to be herself.

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