Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Give & Take

It's Chanukah in the New York apartment of an All-American, upwardly mobile couple. When the husband, Mitch, surprises his wife Ellie with the news they'll be returning to Buffalo for a job offer he landed, Ellie agrees, reluctantly, to abandon her acting dreams and go with him for the greater good of the marriage. 

She is, after all, a traditional Jewish girl. The only thing that excites Ellie about this plan is the proximity of Buffalo to her favorite place in the world, a tiny amusement park called Candy Island, where she once forged glorious memories. 

Once settled in their new home, with Mitch proving he's thoroughly a dud, Ellie does what she knows she must do: she picks up the local community paper, scouts out theaters, and goes for auditions. It's better for her, and if she can be happy again, the marriage will be stronger. Local theater has never been so dreadful, it turns out, albeit amusing and social, so this wobbly lifeboat she built for her marriage might, just maybe, keep Ellie and hubby afloat. 

And it starts out that way, but her innocent dalliance with The Big Stage turns serious when she meets James, a smooth-talking and single director, who casts her in some very Off-Broadway roles. How will she juggle her now complicated life in a small city? And what will her return to Candy Island as an actress mean for her fate?

Written by Gail Golden, who might have war stories of her own to tell, and directed by Scott Andrew Kurchak, a Canadian citizen who lives in Buffalo, Give & Take is a delightful spoof on community theater—on how life unfolds at a smaller scale. The film mirrors its protagonist's vision because it, too, is the product of actors with a passion for production, in this case a first feature film.

In small town theater and independent filmmaking, the odds are long and the journey is never easy. New Hope Film Festival applauds this team for succeeding. 

You can watch the trailer here: