Film Review: PEARL, 2017, USA, Fantasy/Drama

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SHORT FILM played at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Review by Kierston Drier

Fantastical and filled with whimsy, PEARL is an anachronistic tale with the sweet, sorrowful touching effect of a well-told fairy tale. Director Assia Quinhang Shoa brings this USA film to life with care and detail. Our story follows an aging and lonely puppeteer Sam who finds and rescues a young mermaid. Unable to speak English, Sam names her Pearl and believes at long last he has found a friend. But Pearl belongs in the ocean and no amount of devotion Sam has for her can change that truth.

 

Told with innocence and delight, this simple story warms the heart. It has boasts beautiful and detailed production design and excellent performances by the main characters. It resonates with a meaningful message- young or old, we all want to belong.

 

Sam must make a difficult choice in what is best for Pearl, but that doesn’t mean his impact on her hasn’t been profound. A sweet story with the comfort of a favorite lullaby, PEARL is an excellent short to warm the heart of anyone. A satisfying and compelling piece that is sure to be a delight to all.

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PEARL, 15min, USA, Fantasy/Drama
Directed by Assia Qianhang ShaoIt is a fairy tale about an old lonely puppeteer, Sam, saves a 9-year- old wounded mermaid and helps care for her and love her as a father. However, when her wounds heal he struggles with letting her go back to the ocean.

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

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Film Review: D’ARLINE, 2017, USA, Drama/Biography

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SHORT FILM played at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Review by Kierston Drier

Dive into A’DARLENE and you will relive the brilliant true story of physicist and professor Richard Fenyman and learn about his impact on mathematics and modern history. D’ARLENE is a short drama, coming from the USA and directed by Christina Jobe. D’ARLENE follows the real-life genius through his time at the Manhattan project, working as a physics professor and his research into the Atomic bomb- but intercuts his present with his recent past- the relationship he has with his first wife Arlene, including her tragic and untimely death.

 

D’ARLENE feels like a feature in the way it boasts complex characters, deep relationships, moving storylines and a brilliant rise-and-fall of plot and resolution. Yet this dense story fits neatly and cleanly into twenty-two minutes. Without a single detailed left unattended, the world Jobe creates is tangible, visual and highly emotional. The film is balanced without a single superfluous scene, shot or frame.

 

The production value is excellent and the mise-en-scene thought out and lush to watch.  All artistic details are attended to with the precision of skilled professionals. Beyond the story and composition of the work, the performances by the cast are second-to-none. The climax of the piece, a letter written by the actual Richard Fenyman and delivered by the actor, leaves a powerful resounding effect on the viewer.

 

As a story, as a piece of cinema, as a work of art, D’ARLENE has much to be proud of. Bravo Christina Jobe. Bravo.

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D’ARLINE, 22min, USA, Drama/Biography
Directed by Christina JobePhysicist Richard Feynman struggles to make a scientific break through after experiencing personal trauma and while fighting guilt over his work on the atomic bomb. Based on a true story.

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Film Review: TWO, 2017, USA, Fashion/Experimental

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SHORT FILM played at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Review by Kierston Drier

Bright, stunning and boasting exceptional editing, TWO is 60-seconds of a non-stop visual art. Directed by Tamara Hansen out of the USA, TWO depicts the relationship between two women, in an avant-garde cinematic display. Opulent and decadent and seamlessly attentive to detail, this is a film that leaves not a single frame wasted.

 

From the very first second of TWO, the audience is hit with an onslaught of rapid-fire images, each equally riveting, visually interesting and lush. Highly interpretive, this one-minute piece is open to discussion regarding its larger themes. Yet there is no doubt that it has much to say. A shimmering example of exceptional visual work and guided with an excellent editorial hand, TWO is a fantastic vibrant short.

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TWO, 1min, USA, Fashion/Experimental
Directed by Tamara HansenThis short film is about the relationship of two girls, shown in an artsy way.

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Film Review: THE SCULPTOR, 2017, USA, Documentary

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SHORT FILM played at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Review by Kierston Drier

This short and timely four-minute documentary coming from the US, directed by Ben Ginsburg, is a fascinating story following a young artist. Creator Malcolm Macdougall is an up-and-coming artistic sculptor that works in metals- crafting sheet metal and scrap metal into huge and masterful artistic works. Often finding inspiration from the natural world, these gentle giants of artistry are remarkable and breathtaking. Yet Malcolm must like the art he creates, is calm, relaxed and thought-provoking. He speaks of his medium as a form of self-expression without any pretensions.

 

His art is simply his hobby, but a powerful and meaningful hobby. Yet this hobby has him working in a huge warehouse, welding and dealing with a medium that requires exceptional skill, labour and patience. A strong and powerful cinematic piece with fascinating works of art to be shown, this short documentary is well worth the watch.

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THE SCULPTOR, 4min, USA, Documentary
Directed by Ben Ginsburg This short documentary examines the work, process, and philosophy of Malcolm Macdougall, an up-and-coming sculptor in the Hudson Valley.

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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.

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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.

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