On the surface, writer/director Christopher Jason Bell’s short film, left, appears to be a rudimentary walkthrough of a very basic premise - a young woman roaming an airport; and to a certain extent, this is true. It is, in its entirety, nothing more than a young woman wandering through the confines of an airport while attempting to arrange a place for herself to stay. However, it is within this elementary narrative framework that Bell experiments with the role of the camera as well as a minimum allowance in terms of narrative.
This edition of Unsung Indies marks the first time a director has been featured for a second time for their work. In this particular case it is directors, plural; as in, Ahmed Khawaja and Andre Puca, whose first film together, KWAK or Kassandra with a K, was not only a film I featured here but also one that I consider to be one of the best films of the current decade. Their second feature-length collaboration, AP & AK, is a natural extension of KWAK, another chapter entry in the diary film saga of their friendship.
The mystifying nature of The Missing Sun works well in maintaining a certain level of captivation since no developments nor actions are alluded to in any noticeable way. There is an unpredictability to it all that is able to keep interest levels piqued. Although, there is a sense that that same fog of stimulation slowly condenses over time, occupying and obstructing the path to insight through obfuscation. Which opens the door to questioning the ambiguity present; its structure, an appearance that once indicated careful construction starts to look more hurried in its creation and semi-neglected in its development as the film moves forward. That the ambiguity that sustained interest in the beginning was not cultivated nor curated with consideration but more so a happenstance formation born out of narrative absences.
After an extensive run on the festival circuit Alice Waddington’s debut film, Disco Inferno, has made its’ way to the general public; now available through Amazon and Vimeo On Demand. It’s not often that a director gets the ability to showcase their debut - let alone one that also happens to be a 12-minute short - in front of 63 individual, international festival audiences. Not to mention, being awarded on 10 separate occasions on top of those 63 inclusions. What’s even better is the fact that those 10 awards amongst 63 inclusions are justifiable considering the talent on display within those 12 minutes.
Introspection is not an easy task in private, let alone in public; it isn’t rare either, although, one’s introspection is usually shrouded in narrative creations to dampen and/or conceal its full extent. But, Arnow’s particular brand of introspection is of the splayed-open-for-all-to-see variety, which can be jarring at times given the breadth of intimate interactions she’s willing to share with the audience. Much of it seems ill-advised, but then again, who are we to judge. This is the director’s life, they’re making the decisions (for the most part) and one gets the sense that Arnow is doing this for herself mostly, we’re just spectating bystanders.
Alice Waddington’s horror short about Mephistopheles, Disco Inferno, is now available on Vimeo on Demand, as well as Amazon (also available on Amazon in Japan, Germany, and the UK). Waddington’s short was featured on my Undistributed and Honorable Mentions list from 2015 where I described it as “a 12-minute horror short profuse with striking imagery (in black and white), Waddington’s short informs us that we desperately need an Alice Waddington feature as soon as possible.”
The poster for writer/director Theodore Collatos’s newest film, Tormenting the Hen, has arrived just before the film is set to have its world premiere at the Independent Film Festival of Boston this April 28th. Collatos (Brokenhorsefilms.org) is no stranger to the pages of FilmPulse. His first feature, Dipso, was covered as an inclusion for Unsung Indies; his latest short film, Albatross, appeared on my year-end overview of worthwhile short films from 2016; and even this film was featured as a Kickstart Sunday some time ago and also as a part of a discussion I had with the director back in October of last year.
At the center of Joanna Arnow’s short, Bad at Dancing, which she wrote, directed and edited, is an unhealthy relationship between two roommates - Joanna (also Arnow) and Isabel (Eleanore Pienta). Or, it may be completely healthy, who is to judge...besides, perhaps, Isabel’s boyfriend, Matt (Keith Poulson), who is growing increasingly uncomfortable with Joanna’s penchant for inserting herself into his relationship with Isabel, typically when the two of them are trying to have sex. Which appears to be the most opportune time for Joanna to discuss any a number of subject revolving around herself with her best friend; obviously, the opposite is true for Isabel and Matt.
All things familiar, yet all things becoming increasingly sinister, Clark seems to have crafted a sci-fi horror/mystery film with no real, concrete horror elements. Instead, inundating the storyline with plenty of mystery, mystery piled atop mystery. A straightforward narrative film stalked and accosted by the experimental with Clark’s experimental imagery insinuating a cinematic approximation of the metaphysical as flashes of light cycle chaotic, reasoning and context seemingly lost in its rapid shuffle, abstraction deployed as the narrative catalyst.
If you are looking for one of the best comedic directors working today then look no further than Christopher Good. His debut feature, Mudjackin’, from 2013 happens to be one of the best comedies to come out within the last decade and after spending the last three years mainly directing music videos, for various acts like PWR BTTM, Jens Lekman, and Strand of Oaks, he is back with yet another comedic offering bursting with creativity.
Olga Hepnarová was the last woman to be executed in Czechoslovakia back in 1975, convicted of murder after she deliberately drove a truck onto the sidewalk, running over several citizens that happened to be waiting for the tram. Eight people died, twelve people were injured. Kazda and Weinreb’s film, I, Olga Hepnarová, is based on this true story and utilizes the real-life writings of the condemned. With that, an immediate question arises - why and for what purpose?
There is nothing fancy about Bloomin Mud Shuffle, the latest from writer/director Frank V. Ross. No high concept or high drama; there is no sensationalizing the alcoholism and depression that is set in at the core of the narrative’s fabric. It is stripped of adornments and embellishments, stripped down into glimpses of a life not overtly suffering from these issues but more so continuing in spite of these issues. It is not flashy because there is no reason for Ross to employ flash considering the way in which he is able to quietly mine genuine emotion from day-to-day minutiae of life.