So many films, so little time. Here are my picks from this year:
Given the running time of this film, it stood alone to tell the story about a Father/Son relationship. The subject matter is universal but the actual plot was an original story that takes place after the recent death of the father and what his adoptive son discovers. It’s the interaction of the son’s family and friends who help him come to terms.
What made Edward want to do this film?
“A year from graduating school, while writing this screenplay, I started to examine myself. Coming to know how I was with my personality, and I wanted to make a feel good film. I was inspired by my own father and grandfather, and a lot of other great patriarchs I heard about. It was also to get (the story) out there and show fathers altogether.”
Brandon Thaxton | Short Film | 20 min.
This film reminded me of the type of film you would see on the old “Tales from the Crypt” television series. More humorous than horror, it held my attention because I wanted to see where this story was going. Well cast and well scripted, this is a story of 2 petty rate thieves who think they have the remedy to get rich for life. However, they underestimate the power of “Houdini’s Hand”.
Henrik Malmgren | Animation | 3 min..
This animation short from a Danish director seemed longer than the 3-minutes running time. Not a bad thing as far as animation goes but I like the style of this movie. The story was a bit unusual but isn’t that the purpose of film (to explore the unusual). The lead character – a widower with time on her hands – befriends an on-the-run burglar, which is where the story gets interesting.
All That Matters
Thomas Scott Jr. | Short Film | 44 min.
All That Matters’ centers around Kayla, a young African-American woman whose sudden breakup with her boyfriend brings her to a moment of introspection
This relation-ship based film has a few surprises in how the story is told. Basically, an African-American woman breaks up with her Caucasian boyfriend suddenluy, but never questioned the reason why she has never dated an African-American man. This is a story more about introspection and understanding who she is and coming to terms with her past.
From a man’s prospective, why did Thomas want to make this film?
“I was hesitant at first. I had to read it several times before I decided to take on the project. I wanted something that wasn’t just a chick-flick … something with a little depth. Then I realized from a directional standpoint one of the things I can bring out is this is a psychological journey. A psycho-drama. So that made me say I’m going to take this on.”
The Occasional Husband
Nakia Caesr| Teaser | 6 min.
This is more a trailer than short or feature length piece. It’s part comedy, part drama that tackles and gives a new twist to a modern-day marriage. An erotic love story of a triangle involving a threesome between a wife, her husband, and her collide one night. Due to this uninvited tryst, the wife questions if there is love in the marriage and confronts this situation by demanding her husband leave their home, possibly forever. This is an ufinished piece so there will be more to this story.
I asked Nakia why the Occasional Husband?
“He’s the husband who is present for every occasion: holidays, birthdays, special circumstances. It’s more than a matter of convenience since he is not really part of a family.”
Four Of Hearts
Eric Haywood | Feature FIlm | 90 min.
Two young, married couples – long time friends – are suddenly faced with the test of each other’s relationships after having a one-night hook up. Because of this one night, emotions, trust, fidelity, honesty all come to a head over a short period of time and leads up to an ending you won’t see coming. It’s an interesting look into four separate busy lives and the ways they are portrayed on-screen are good performances.
Domingo Guyton | Short Film | 46 min.
This is an up-to-date portrayal of Jesus in jeans. We’re all familiar with the story about how Jesus walked amongst the common man, performing miracles and spreading the gospel. This is a well made tale that needs to be seen. Urban and hip-hop oriented in style, this powerful tale is about resurrection, redemption and responsibility.
According to Domingo about this film:
“I went about making this film not dealing with all the over-complications of what a lot of religion is (about) and got down to the simple, basic idea of - If I can’t treat my brother better, if I can’t treat my sister better, if I can do better for myself – and follow these examples, then life would be better.”
Go Mickey Go
Yvonne Charnesky | Documentary | 120 min.
As far as documentaries go, this film about the first female racecar driver Mickey Wright was informative. It was a remarkable journey about someone who is still living and became an icon in this 21st century. Although not widely know, this film attempts to relive and recount some of the more important milestones in sports.
Shante Paige | Documentary Competition | 42 min.
If you’re a dog lover as I am, you’ll especially like this documentary about t little know program run in the Gwinnett County jail system. Known as Operation Second Chance Jail Dog Program, the film allows a look into how rescue dogs in animal shelters rescue inmates in the system; how inmates are training dogs, breaking down barriers and how both dog and inmate benefit each other. Ultimately both being released back into the world; whether through adoption for the dog or parole for the inmate. Even though there are some scenes that may not suitable for some youngsters, this is a highly personal film for the entire family
Pierre Edwards | Feature Length Competition | 83 min
What can I say? A film from comedian-fimmaker Pierre (Edwards) is always a cinematographic wonder, and Slice 3 is no exception. In case you missed Slice 1 and 2, don’t worry. Accordingly, they haven’t been released yet. However, Slice 3 is the comedrama (comedy-drama) filmed entirely in Georgia (some parts of Elijay) about the interaction of city and country folk. There’s a mass-murderer on the loose and the cast is smack in the middle of the mayhem. Without revealing too much, let’s just say all that you see is not all to be seen.
In Search of the Black Knight
Tamarat Makonnen | Documentary Competition | 102 min.
This is a satire about love and relationships that manages to be serious about its subject which is about the shortage of eligible black men. We all have been through trials tribulations of finding love, but the film’s approach is not necessarily unique. Through on-the-street and studio interviews peppered with humorous sketch comedy scenarios, this is a cross-country travel exploring various sub-topics connected to African-American topics as prison, finance, down-low, education and other hot-button issues. The film’s message looms clear: women are in search of a black knight.
Vandon Gibbs | Feature FIlm | 76 min.
There are 3-stories about 6-people in 1-film. They’re all connected but what struck me about this film on many levels were the characters and the look. It’s a character-driven film and the actors were well developed. The story is a bout there connection and was done some times through humor, sometimes dramatically but the emotional level held me captive. Watch for Dupree Lewis Jr. who reminded me of a young Samuel L. Jackson.
This trailer is about a movie filled with real life emotions that showcase drama, love, deception, and patience of one man's dream to succeed no matter what it takes. Family and friends get involved in personal lives, as secrets and true feelings are revealed that could alter their lives forever in "Losing Everything." Do you have the strength to stand when everything around you is failing? Are you willing to lose in order to gain?
Written, Directed, Produced for Screen by Mykel Coleman.
Known more for theater than film, I asked Mykel about this transition:
“In film, it’s all in the eyes and face. You don’t have to be physical unless you’re doing an action film … in theater it’s physical. Theater is big and broad, and you have to be very dynamic. The play ‘She Walked Out and God Walked In’ was in North Carolina last year and (saw) the show was so powerful, there were people were crying in tears. I seemed to be having an out-of-body experience when God spoke to me and told me the time was right. He told me it was time to take this to the big screen.”
Arthur Muhammad | Feature Length Competition | 90 min.
Love on the Internet sometimes is not a good first impression. Yet, this is a romantic comedy - in a large part - about this very subject. An enjoyable film with many twists and turns, still remains true to what is real in a successful relationship: honesty. If there is a lesson to be learned form this film is that truthfulness goes a longer way than deception. However, this is not a moral tale even though there are sub-plots to suggest otherwise. The religious couple played by Tamela and David Mann are not necessarily an Internet item but her longing for his acceptance and love is the basis for their story. He’s a minister and she’s in his choir, so he doesn’t think it’s appropriate to be involved. I liked the performance from David Mann as a minister which was a departure from Mr. Brown (“Meet the Browns”). There’s the young couple where he’s a delivery man and she’s the receptionist in a book publishing company. Then there are the main characters where he is an unemployed & struggling author, while she owns the book publishing company he unknowingly goes to work at. All these stories are related and intertwined. There are many stand-out performances makes this a film not to miss.