Sunday, June 26, 2016

Changeover

Teenager Haley Thompson acts awfully bratty after moving in with her tennis pro relative, Uncle Chad, but not without reason. In the back seat of the car when her parents were broadsided and killed by a truck, this heretofore typical seventeen-year-old now suffers the PTSD horror of reliving her parents' intense suffering, and her horror, over and over again.

What's more, she's hurting herself, a habit that could turn deadly soon. Her bachelor uncle, already struggling to raise an eight-year-old son on his own, isn't well equipped to handle the emotions of a troubled girl who constantly lashes out at him for his inadequacies. They both want to connect and heal, but the road to this place is impassable.

Director Estes Tarver, who superbly plays Uncle Chad alongside an explosive performance by actress Madeline Taylor, literally pulls no punches in his portrayal of family life, and does so with a single-parent structure that heightens the agony, vulnerability and social relevance. Changeover is a film puissant, one that pulls the drapes on parent-child issues that are even more tectonic in real life.

You can watch the trailer here: Changeover Trailer

Monday, May 30, 2016

Primrose Lane

Eight years into a childless and financially stressful marriage, Chris and Robin drive to another couple's gothic, upscale home in suburban Los Angeles for a visit. Upon arrival, they find the front door unlocked, and when Robin steps inside, her instincts tell her something is wrong. Their friends have disappeared without a trace, having left their car keys and cell phones in the house.

They search the house from top to bottom, and while it seems lifeless, the emptiness of the home, its dearth of sunlight, and the antiquated mosaic of objects and shadows that shape and haunt room after room collectively add to Robin's concern. Unlike her assumptive husband, she harbors a gnawing awareness: they have left their upwardly mobile life in LA for a realm of strange and unknown proportions, a place where the known rules of the universe no longer apply.

A boy is watching them. He plays tricks on them. He rolls marbles on the floor and toys with their minds.

Swirling into a black hole where everything she knows and loves is snatched, twisted, and inverted, Robin calls upon friends and strangers alike in ever-puzzling ways, only to learn that she, too, is an integral part of the maelstrom, a predicament from which there is no escape. With Primrose Lane, lead actor and director Kathleen Davison, who returns to New Hope after an award-winning screening in 2015, has not so much shot a film as woven it. An original story, an outstanding score and a multitude of visual touches are exquisitely fused into an eerie, sensory experience, one that questions the nature of one's existence.

You can watch the trailer here: Primrose Lane Trailer

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Birth of an Artist

Cerebral palsy is a hard and relentless disease, but one filmmaker has captured an astounding response to the severe physical limitations it imposes. Dasha is a girl who paints with her feet. Despite her difficult circumstances, her mind's eye sees nothing but life and beauty in the world, and her feet are enough under her control to render her visions into glorious artworks.

The Birth of an Artist is an astounding and unforgettable portrait of courage. Born in Ukraine and educated, in part, at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Film program, filmmaker Natasha Babenko is fascinated by duality, which in this case is her subject's "physical hardships intertwined with the beauty she expresses from within." But there is no duality for Babenko in terms of the merit of her film, because it is simply wonderful.

You can watch the trailer here: The Birth of an Artist Trailer

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Intersection

A down-and-out guy, single, with introspective eyes and a hardened pall of sadness, wanders back to the small town where he screwed up. He visits this place every year to the same, circular effect, but this time is different when he meets a ravishing young woman whose bright expressions say "it's ok, I admire you."

She can relate, and as mature adults they immediately seize the opportunity to bond with a kindred spirit, both knowing that getting to know someone better over a game of pool is just the kind of old school therapy they need.

But something else is happening here. Something darker, even dangerous, is lurking behind an otherwise refreshing tale of Americana. Director Tim French brings out outstanding performances in his lead actors Hoyt Richards and Annabella Casanova in an indie gem that will intrigue and rattle you.

Intersection is soaring on the festival circuit, and for good reason. You can watch the trailer here: Intersection Trailer

Monday, May 9, 2016

Two Weeks

In this touching, socially relevant short film, Australian student director Dani Bowen focuses her perceptive eyes on a teenage girl, Liz, whose mother just dropped a bombshell on the family—Mom is going to abandon them.

Liz is wounded and bewildered by the news and her father is none too keen on the idea, but there's little they can do since neither is the catalyst for the decision. Mom simply has other things to do with her life and has decided that leaving them will offer her a better chance for fulfillment.

Hence the social relevance. How many parents in this era of selfies and internet stardom will do what they feel like doing regardless of the consequence to other members of the family? Although the story is softly rendered and shows far more than it tells, Bowen reveals this dark aspect of the zeitgeist with remarkable intensity.  

You can watch the trailer here: Two Weeks Trailer

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Inertia

In this discomforting adaptation of Franz Kafka's Before the Law, a man stumbles upon a strange gate while hiking in the woods. The sentry standing guard won't let him through, forcing the traveler to stay the night while waiting for permission to pass. The longer he waits, the harder the uncertainty weighs on his psyche, which gets more fragile by the second. And minute. And hour.

How many days will he have to stay here? How many weeks? Months?

Years.

Will he ever, or never, be allowed to go? When the sameness of a barrier and a mental block is this acute—when a simple word of permission would be enough to change a man's mental state—a feeling of suspended animation begins to creep in.

Director Brian Lederman leads you to the brink in this modern interpretation of a classic. You can watch the trailer here: Inertia Trailer

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Apparition


If you're ready for a real scare, check out this unnerving, supernatural thriller by Bucks County filmmaker Guy Quigley.

The story takes place in an old farmhouse. Doug, a young man with a bright future ahead of him, suffers a terrible loss when his fiancé, Lori, is killed in an automobile accident. And it's entirely Doug's fault. Wracked with guilt, he retreats to the house, only to find he is far from alone.

Or is he? What is happening to his mind? With intelligence and masterful tension, Quigley unlocks one door after another, revealing through a horrifying labyrinth something profoundly disordered about Doug, who's still a tragic character in his own right because he so very much does not want to be insane.

Yet he is. You can watch the trailer here: Apparition Trailer