Monday, August 3, 2015

2015 Award Winners

The David Dance, Directed by Aprill Winney
Special Award

Lifetime Achievement Award - Susan Seidelman

Film Jury Awards

Danny Award, Best Picture - The David Dance (Aprill Winney, USA)
   Nominees: All in Time, The Break-In, Three Hours, Leaves of the Tree, Best Man in the Dark,

Best Director - Aprill Winney (The David Dance)
   Nominees: Chris Fetchko and Marina Donahue (All in Time), Marcus Ovnell (The Break-In),
                      Alfred Padilla (Best Man in the Dark), Kevin Newbury (Stag), Edward Lyons (A
                      Man on the Edge), Boris Kunz (Three Hours)

Best Documentary - Omo Child: The River and the Bush (John Rowe, Ethiopia, USA)
   Nominees: The Syndrome, Inside Peace, After the Wave, Southeast 67, Red Dot on the Ocean,
                      Finding Jenn's Voice

Best Student Film - The Loyalist (Minji Kang, South Korea, USA)
   Nominees: Mobile, Finding Home, Hands of Flame, Sin Frontera, Room 731, Gumball, Once in
                      a Good Many Million Times

Best Alternative Feature - All in Time (Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko, USA)
   Nominees: The Break-In, Best Man in the Dark, Return to Nowhere

Best Foreign Film - The Break-In (Marcus Ovnell, Sweden)
   Nominees: The Three Musketeers, A Spring Has Passed By, Three Hours, #Illusion, A Man on the
                      Edge, Grandpa's Debtor, Barefoot

Best Biography - Red Dot on the Ocean (Amy Flannery, USA)
   Nominees: Bob & Inge, Hope for Steve, Run Free: The Story of Caballo Blanco

Best Experimental Short - Enfilade (David Coyle, Australia)
   Nominees: The Solipsist Awards, Hands of Flame

Best Short Film - Aurora (Pascal Fontana, Puerto Rico)
   Nominees: Mail.Man, American Standard, In the Blind, A Man on the Edge, Night and Day,

Indie Spirit Award - All in Time (Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko, USA)
   Nominees: Return to Nowhere, Best Man in the Dark, Aurora, The Break-In, In the Blind,
                      Finding Home

Best Animated Film - Hands of Flame (Steven Markowitz, USA)
   Nominees: Croissant Man

Female Eye Filmmaking Award - Effloresce (Kathleen Davison, USA)
   Nominees: Lightheaded, Hidden Heart, Normalcy, Girl, Fear Not, Finding Jenn's Voice

Best Sci-Fi Film - Listening (Khalil Sullins, USA)
   Nominees: Enfilade, Persistence of Vision

Best TV Pilot - Todd and Anne: Water in the Pot (Jeffrey Engelson, USA)
   Nominees: The Three Musketeers, Upstairs

Best Comedy - Mail.Man (William Ayedelott, USA)
   Nominees: Best Man in the Dark, Homophonia, The Solipsist Awards, Moving On, Upstairs,
                      Fear Not

Student Cultural Spirit - The Fever (Hong Kim, South Korea)
   Nominees: Take a Stand, Once in a Good Many Million Times, Hands of Flame, Sin Frontera,
                      Finding Home, Room 731

Cultural Spirit Award - The Syndrome (Meryl Goldsmith, USA)
   Nominees: Following Shira's Journey: A Greek Jewish Odyssey, Omo Child: The River and the
                     Bush, Inside Peace, Southeast 67, Hope for Steve, I Once Was Blind, Finding Jenn's

New Hope Award - Inside Peace (Cynthia Fitzpatrick, USA)
   Nominees: Following Shira's Journey: A Greek Jewish Odyssey, Omo Child: The River and the
                     Bush, Southeast 67, Hope for Steve, I Once Was Blind

Artistic Spirit Award - Hope for Steve (Matt Moore and Sarah Spicer, USA)
   Nominees: Red Dot on the Ocean, Into the Haven, Following Shira's Journey: A Greek Jewish
                      Odyssey, The Syndrome

LGTB Spirit Award: The David Dance (April Winney, USA)
   Nominees: Homophonia, Effloresce

Best Music Video - Black Sheep (Robin Parker, USA)
   Nominees: Need You More, Hands on Me, Panic Button, County D, Francesca

Film Audience Choice Awards

Best Webisode - Croissant Man (Tulica Singh, USA)
Best TV Pilot - Todd and Anne: Water in the Pot (Jeffrey Engelson, USA)
Best Music Video - Black Sheep (Robin Parker, USA)
Best Art House Feature - All in Time (Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko, USA)
Best Documentary - Inside Peace (Cynthia Fitzpatrick, USA)
Best Short Film - Decisions (Mark Harrison, USA)
Best Student Film - Hands of Flame (Steven Markowitz, USA)
Best Mid-Atlantic Film - All in Time (Marina Donahue and Chris Fetchko, USA)

Script Competition Awards

Best Script - Across the Pond (Andrea Harding)
   Nominees: Eraser, White Crow, Under Pressure, Small Rain Down, One White Crow, Under
                      My Roof

Best Teleplay - The White Crow (Paula Rogers)
   Nominees: Sherryvale, Eraser, Skinnyfat

Best Sci-Fi Thriller - Eraser (Kim Godfrey-Hempsall)

Best Action Thriller - Under Pressure (Eric Carlson)
   Nominees: Samson, Sailfish

Best Period Script - Homestead (Lindsay Waite)
   Nominees: Samson, Victoria of Murray Hill, White Crow, Skybound, A Solid Man of Boston

Best Short Screenplay - Small Rain Down (Joshua Hinkson)
   Nominees: Drive-By

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Persistence of Vision

Nathan has a vivid imagination and engineering skills to match.

When he invites his restless neighbor Karen over to share his fantasies, her husband is none too happy about it. Nathan's intentions are innocent in an almost child-like way, but someone has a gun, and things are about to get very strange.

Filmmaker Scott Campbell lends a prodigious vision and remarkable special effects to this 12-minute short—a must see for sci-fi fantasy fans.

You can watch the trailer here: Persistence of Vision Trailer

Finding Jenn's Voice

Homicide is the leading cause of death during pregnancy.

This powerful documentary brings a long-standing, horribly overlooked issue into the light of day, where domestic violence experts, law enforcement officials and survivors of intimate partner homicide attempts combine forces to educate an unknowing public. 

Producer/writer/director Tracy Schott is a social worker with an MSW from University of California - Berkeley's School of Social Welfare. In 2000, she earned an MS in Telecommunications and left her field for new challenges in media production. Finding Jenn's Voice brings Schott's career full circle, making ample use of her multiple talents. At once thought-provoking and stirring, Jennifer Snyder's story reaches into your heart and calls out for change. 

You can watch the trailer here: Finding Jenn's Voice Trailer

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Crossing the forest is a harrowing journey for six-year-old Aurora, a homeless immigrant child who is abandoned by human traffickers. Having no place to go, Aurora wanders into the mountains, where she finds a cabin. Max, the owner, returns home to discover the girl. Now he has to decide what to do with her. 

Laced with Christian undertones and heartfelt sentiment, this tender short film by Puerto Rican director Pascal Fontana explores the boundaries between civilization and the wild, generosity and selfishness, and compassion and indifference. It does so with long, reflective moments of silence. By keeping dialogue to a minimum, Fontana lends the wilderness a sanctuary-like feeling, as if to remind us the decisions we make, regardless of where we happen to be, have moral consequence. 

You can watch the trailer here: Aurora Trailer

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Syndrome

Shocking is one way to describe this incendiary new documentary. 

What would happen if the criminal justice system and the journalists who rely on its integrity were manipulated by expert witnesses driven not by justice, but by money, career advancement and ego? The Syndrome follows a group of doctors, scientists, and legal scholars who assert that Shaken Baby Syndrome, an established disease responsible for hundreds of prosecutions per year in the United States, is just this type of fraud. 

Filmmaker Meryl Goldsmith teams with award-winning investigative reporter Susan Goldsmith to document an unimaginable nightmare for defendants and a gross abuse of America's court system. Certain to generate heated debate and backlash, this documentary unflinchingly identifies those who have built their careers around and profited from Shaken Baby Syndrome, then systematically deconstructs their motives. For this reason, this is a film that some people do not want you to see. 

The Syndrome is presented in the style of a brilliantly cogent legal argument, advocating an immediate halt to what is nothing more than a modern-day witch hunt. Watch the film, then decide for yourself whether something deserving of investigation is afoot. 

You can watch the trailer here: The Syndrome Trailer

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gumball and Alien Communications

Kris and Kurtis Theorin, two student filmmakers from Pennsylvania who also happen to be brothers, joined forces again after screening their debut, Retreat, at NHFF 2014. Their highly polished results are Gumball and Alien Communications, which they co-directed. Clearly, this fraternal duo is on a roll.

Gumball tells the story of a young woman who breaks into a diner with the intention of doing mischief only to stop in her tracks after discovering the remnants of a love story. The other film features a boy and girl trying to overcome some coming-of-age awkwardness while in the midst of encountering something even more foreign and incomprehensible than each other—a functioning, sentient, and perilously touchy robot from another planet. The alien machine could be the common ground they are seeking, but it also might be their undoing.

You can watch the trailers here: Gumball Teaser and Alien Communications Teaser.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Need You More

This music video by Philadelphia singer-songwriter Robert Liz features the song Need You More, a lush, haunting and thoroughly involving track from his upcoming album. "The song begins as a distant echo," writes director Jonathan Kobryn, who felt he needed to go in a new creative direction to capture Liz's themes of friendship, separation and dependence.

The static on the television screen suggests a connection that is coming through, but only partially—a friendship Liz would grasp if only he could dial into the same wavelength. Kobryn further accentuated this faltering dynamic through the staccato manner in which he audio mixed the trailer.

This fine official selection of the New Hope Film Festival will be screened along with other music videos, and the music-themed feature All in Time, on Saturday, August 1st at Stephen J. Buck Memorial Theater. Music lovers, this is for you.

You'll find the trailer here:  Need You More Trailer

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Break-In

A married couple has relationship issues, so they discuss their future over dinner in their upscale home. They go to bed, but soon realize something is wrong.

Someone is in the house. 

Huddling close, they steal downstairs, where the rooms are pitch black. They can hear the intruder, but he can't hear them. He's coming closer. They pause, and wait. The husband jumps the unknown form and strikes him, hard, in anger. 

And now they have a secret. Hidden in their basement. And no one else, especially the police, can ever know the truth. 

Since both are consummate professionals, the couple returns to work and carries on with their lives. It's as if nothing ever happened, except for what is still in their house. The situation brings them closer, but inside they're churning with terror over what they have done and the consequences it might bring.

Will anyone discover their secret? Can they both keep it themselves? These questions will hold you in suspense in this taut, Swedish thriller by first-time helmer Marcus Ovnell. 

You can watch the trailer here: The Break-In Trailer

Another Time

Harriet is a 27-year-old woman living in Philadelphia and dealing with common twentysomething problems: indecisiveness, panic attacks, and a sense of being lost. She needs to sort things out soon, because this confused young Philadelphian has more than quarter life angst to blame for her troubles. Harriet honestly believes she's a victim of botched time travel and belongs in 1783.

Part of New Hope Film Festival's opening night Local Film Showcase, this thoroughly southeastern Pennsylvania film by first-time filmmaker Amy Frear delivers its comedic punchlines with decided sympathy for the protagonist. Improbable as they are, Harriet's imaginings are relatable. After all, how many people have ever felt they were born in the wrong era?

You can watch the trailer here: Another Time Trailer

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rest in Peace, Albert Lively

Maggie Miller travels with her ex, Paul Santy, to the funeral of their old friend Albert Lively. They can't quite believe he's really dead. Along the way, memories of childhood bring Maggie and Paul closer, but she still must face the truth about Paul, about Albert, and about herself.

Written by Kelly Genois and directed by Jack Garrett, this 19-minute short from Cape Cod's heavenly village of Hyannis features a young woman's inward struggle at that age when the optimism of youth is replaced by a more melancholy awareness of one's true place in the universe. Maggie can relight an old flame and burn her passions like never before, but now it isn't enough.

You can watch the trailer here: Rest in Peace, Albert Lively Trailer

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Filmed entirely in New Hope, Decisions follows a woman's frenetic journey as she discovers and then decides what to do with a duffle bag filled with millions in cash. The money had fallen into her abusive husband's hands after a plane crashed in a local field.

Her husband has his ideas about what to do with the windfall, but she has her own. Now she's going to ride a bus cross-country, and she will be followed. Director Mark Harrison's film is gritty and dangerous, but like any good thriller, there's much more at stake than a hunt and chase. The woman with the bag has a higher purpose, and she's willing to risk everything in pursuit of it.

You can watch the trailer here: Decisions Trailer

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Three Hours (Drei Stunden)

Martin is a dashing and creative young man who has written a fantasy play about flying pirates, a fiery princess and cloud castles in the sky. His good friend Isabel doesn't know it, but he modeled the lead character after her. She's adorable and equally driven, but their similar, overstretched personalities have left them bumping around each other without truly connecting. 

The problem is, they like each other. A lot. Just as he's about to launch his project to great fanfare, she announces she's leaving for Africa to fight American genetically modified seed manufacturers. What is going to happen to this pair? Her flight is about to leave. They only have hours to spare, and if he's going to be a real man and make his move, he has to do it right now or lose her forever. 

Directed by Boris Kunz, Three Hours (Drei Stunden) is a fresh, highly kinetic approach to comedy romance. It's really a dramedy, because although it's fun and loaded with subtle chemistry, it's also tense, frustrating, and stormier than the clouds emanating from Martin's mind. Both characters live out their fantasies through their work, but his are ethereal and hers are entirely of this world. They are fundamentally the same in disposition, yet their actions conflict. Kunz brings this dynamic to dramatic and insightful climaxes, revealing how their conflicted psychologies are channeled into their work, where both feel at odds and trapped. One of the film's most revealing moments comes when an actress lambasts Martin's script for depicting a man who can't make his play for her. Clearly furious with himself, Martin storms out of the theater. 

The pressurized, time-driven, complex culture they live in only makes matter worse. Just when the fire begins to flicker, something always comes along to snuff it out. Three Hours is reflective on this subject. In the context of a modern world where time is precious and romance requires it, the film cries out for spontaneity, not because rituals and traditions are bad, but by urgent necessity, and further suggests that the future of romance may be more surprising than you think. 

You can watch the trailer here: Three Hours Trailer

Thursday, June 25, 2015


This whimsical comedy is the story of Nora, a woman despondent over the failure of her marriage, who retreats to the safety of her work routine and gallons of ice cream. Filled with despair over a life gone haywire, she's at the end of her rope. 

Enter the guardian angel. Sporting a flat cap and always dressed in a suit, he isn't exactly your average picture of an angel, and he can be rather annoying with his intrusive helpfulness. Still, he bails her out of jams now and then and, well, it's better than being alone—even if you're actually talking to yourself. 

Written by Caroline Collins and directed by Steve Parys, this Pittsburgh production delivers a charming tale that will make you smile, even when Nora isn't. 

You can watch the trailer here: Lightheaded Trailer

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Following Shira's Journey: A Greek Jewish Odyssey

More than 60,000 Greek Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, yet the experiences of Greece's Jewish population remain largely unknown.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, fear, suspicion and civil war relegated the Greek Jewish wartime experience to an attic of denial and neglect. This documentary upends the sorry dynamic through riveting interviews with Holocaust survivors, second and third generation survivors, and other community members, all of whom are fighting to keep their tradition and culture alive.

Co-Directed by Australian filmmakers Carol Gordon and Natalie Cunningham, Following Shira's Journey uncovers a sorely neglected and tragic aspect of Jewish history, yet the film does much more than document the past. Much of the focus is on the present, offering fresh insights into Greek politics and culture, and hope for the country's forward-thinking Jewish community.

All of the voices in this film resonate with a passion not just to survive, but to flourish, even as fringe elements of society continue to echo past prejudice and hate. The indomitable spirit of Greece's Jewry is an inspiration, an example, and a perspective relevant to any time when life's chips are down.

You can watch the trailer here: Following Shira's Journey

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Room 731

A Chinese girl wakes up, alone, in an abandoned factory. A doctor and a mysterious nurse appear, apparently wanting to help her. At first she has no recollection of the reason she's in this strange, unsettling place, but as her memory returns, she realizes she's trapped inside the infamous Unit 731 Japanese concentration camp. It's World War II and she is the subject of a medical experiment.... 

Such is the horror of Room 731, a pitch black and deeply expressive film. Stirred with an unnerving mix of history and psychology, this 18-minute short explores the ways in which sins of the past remain traumatic in the present. Student filmmaker Young Min Kim puts her many spine-tingling moments on display in a nightmarish yet true-to-life way, transporting a now-distant, seemingly fantastical reality into our modern-day consciousness. 

You can watch the trailer here (due to its intensity, parental discretion is advised): 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Leaves of the Tree

In this enchanting, feature-length drama, a once powerful patent attorney, hobbled by a life threatening disease, is pushed out of a major pharmaceutical firm. At a meeting with his last client, he unexpectedly comes across the case of a doctor who's studying the possible medicinal value of leaves from a centuries-old olive tree. With time running out, the attorney travels to Sicily, where he hopes to uncover a modern medical miracle—or an ancient Biblical myth.

Directed by Ante Novakovik and featuring actors with substantial film industry credits, including Sean YoungEric RobertsArmand Assante and Patrick Gorman, Leaves of the Tree weaves the intensity of a thriller into the timeless beauty and mystery of the Mediterranean. 

You can watch the trailer here: 

Sunday, June 21, 2015


This eye-opening documentary explores a subject many people, including myself, would know little about before seeing it: the amazing potential for productivity percolating within blind visual artists. Sculpture, yes, I've long been aware of the possibilities, but photography? The revelation astonished me. 

BlindSight celebrates the photographic imagination of blind and visually impaired members of the Seeing with Photography Collective. All of them were sighted at one time. Many came to photography after their loss of sight, and photography has given them a new voice, a way to express what they feel and what they see inside their minds. 

The results are transformative for both the members and the viewer—tangible proof of the way creativity can enrich life and empower. Filmmaker Bob Sacha of New York, New York brings this elevating, 16-minute treasure to New Hope. You can watch the trailer here: BlindSight Trailer

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Inside Peace

Mass incarceration has become a hot topic of debate in the United States, but if not discussed in a delicate way, the arguments on both sides can easily obfuscate the issue of how to prevent imprisonment in the first place. Or in the case of ex-offenders, how they can break the cycle of crime, never to set foot in a courtroom again.

Four years in the making, Inside Peace is a feature documentary that focuses on three hardened men who were incarcerated at Dominguez State Jail in San Antonio, Texas. There they embarked on a journey of self-discovery and change by enrolling in the Peace Class, one of the few self-improvement programs in the country that offers a new age path to finding inner strength, dignity and self-worth. Brought to the prison by Roberto and Chantal Piriz in 2007, this innovative effort to prevent recidivism is based on the work of Indian-American inspirational speaker Prem Rawat

None of these three inmates ever realized he had the capacity to make positive choices in life until he entered the program. With a supporting cast of fellow inmates, prison officials, noted experts and family members, the film follows the trio's arduous road as they apply wisdom acquired in the Peace Class to their post-release world. Certainly, the men's lives on the outside are filled with conflict, rejection and hostility, yet faced with such obstacles, they must avoid their old ways by living with inner peace.

You can learn more about this cutting-edge documentary and the California-based filmmaker, Cynthia Fitzpatrick, who made it happen, by reading NHFF columnist Val Patterson's feature article, "Mind Over Matter," in the Festival's 2015 Program Guide. You can also watch the trailer here: Inside Peace Trailer

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Fever

South Korea's population of runaways exceeds 20,000.

In this raw, unflinching examination of a true social crisis, student filmmaker Eunhye Hong Kim offers remarkable depth of characterization, yet little hope that teenagers can manage their own affairs alone. The youths depicted in this film try to form a caring, functional family unit, but their combination of grinding poverty, homelessness and inexperience leads them down the painfully familiar path of robbery, scamming, drugs and prostitution.

They only have each other, and that is a big problem. You can watch the trailer here (parental warning for language): The Fever Preview

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


In this comic take on the culture wars over gay marriage rights, a distressed man who's late for his marriage hearing tries to get directions from his smart phone only to discover that it, too, is opposed to gay marriage. As many people can relate, the phone could use a refresher on listening skills, too.

Produced and written by Massachusetts-based filmmaker Mary Niederkorn and directed by Jim Jermanok, this 3-minute short amusingly demonstrates that computer technology doesn't guarantee political neutrality. It all depends on who programs it.

You can watch the trailer here: Homophonia Trailer

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Red Dot on the Ocean

This fascinating documentary chronicles the ocean voyage of a formerly troubled youth as he reinvents himself on decidedly his own terms, despite the sober warnings of far more experienced boating experts.

Through the making of Red Dot on the Ocean, Matt Rutherford became the first person ever to sail alone, without stopping, around both Americas. His rickety, leaky sailboat spent the entire trip flooding, yet he managed to stay awake enough to prevent its demise. As a result of his herculean efforts, he also succeeded in bailing out more than his ride, raising $120,000 for disabled sailors. After 309 days at sea, he returned to a hero's welcome and a mere $30.00 in the bank. He then founded a non-profit that specializes in ocean research.

Matt's story demonstrates the power of the human spirit to overcome both nature's wrath and the demons within. You can watch the trailer here (parental warning for language): Red Dot on the Ocean Preview

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

In the Blind

This touching entry from the hamlet of Stone Ridge, New York examines two estranged brothers as they come to terms with their father's suicide. The dialogue is pensive and intimate, and the setting, the family's duck blind, fosters a sense of revealing what has long remained hidden. In a place renowned for silence, conversation is a metaphor for thoughts long suppressed.

Produced by Ingrid Price and directed by Davis Hall, In the Blind superbly adapts an Adam LeFevre play to film. In doing so, it revealingly laments the tendency of menfolk to leave the deepest things unsaid until it's too late.

You can watch the trailer here: In the Blind Trailer

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Creepy, thought-provoking, and futuristic enough to give you the chills, Normalcy tells the story of a woman who undergoes a medical procedure in order to remove her creative ambitions. The struggles of an artist's life are more than she can bear, and the clinicians are certain the treatment is right for her, so it's really a no-brainer. All she has to do is shut down a deep corner of her mind, and all will be well. The drug has even become fashionable, so what does she have to lose?

Written and directed by Matthew Merenda, this compelling short from Southern California delivers its message with enough discomfort to demonstrate why anodynes mask pain rather than end it.

You can watch the trailer here:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Agave is Life

This highly educational film transports you from the hustle-bustle of everyday life, sending you instead on a journey of discovery. Watch Apaches in traditional dress illuminate the desert night as they dance and sing by a bonfire, explore historical aspects of Mexico and the southwestern United States, and imagine yourself sipping a Salty Chihuahua at an off-the-beaten-track, South of the Border resort. These are some the experiences you will gain from watching Agave is Life.

Produced and directed by Meredith Dreiss, who bases herself in Austin, Texas, this documentary is everything an educational film should be—plus a splash of lime.

You can watch the trailer here: Agave is Life Trailer

Monday, May 25, 2015

American Standard

In this gripping and deeply moving production, nursing home resident Edward Bracket lives the final chapter of his life in utter desolation. All he has left is a photo album and vague, dreamscape memories of his past. He's been in this place for years, pining for a daughter to come take him to the watch tower, up on the mountain, a place where he says time stands still. He waits with the kind of patience one hones over the years, but sadly, no one ever arrives.

It has become an American standard to put our elderly in nursing homes—so notes this film team led by Justen Lander (co-producer, director and writer) and Santo Marabella (co-producer). Lead actor Bruce McLean delivers this message with devastating clarity in what is, incredibly, his only IMDB credit, bearing the full weight of abandonment and loneliness in his role. The character Bracket's trembling and wistful voice could nearly shake the mountain he yearns to climb, and his inner strength might convince you he will do it, and that he might ascend it right now, whatever the consequences.

You can watch the trailer here:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Todd and Anne: Water in the Pot Episode

In this superbly acted and directed TV pilot, a promising relationship kicks into high gear when Todd and Anne move in together, but they quickly discover how hard it is to balance careers, affections and the nettlesome details of everyday life. A visit to Todd's parents only makes matters worse.

The production team is entirely from Atlanta, Georgia, where the episode was shot, and given the impressive production values, this is no doubt a badge of honor for the Peach State. Writer/director Jeffrey Engelson demonstrates high attention to detail in Todd and Anne, and if this series gets its deserved chance on broadcast TV or cable, audiences will get hooked.

You can watch the trailer here (parents, there is a little language):

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The David Dance

Away from the microphone, David is soft-spoken, timid and shy, but as his on-air alias, Danger Dave—the host of "Gay Talk" in Buffalo, New York—he's the prototypical voice of an American talk radio show: on the offensive, brave, witty, and every listener's confidant.

His sister, Kate, is a thrice-divorced banker with a yen for classical music and cats. Together, though outwardly successful and quite fulfilled in their own ways, both siblings suffer from a secret, yet vast, sense of upper middle class doom. They've fallen short of expectations. Their lives have nowhere tangible left to go.

So, when Kate decides to adopt an orphan in Brazil and asks David to be a father figure, they're both pushed to the limit. How will David ever reach his goals and, better yet, self-actualization, with this sudden new burden literally thrown in his lap, and when he has many inner torments of his own? Director Aprill Winney does beautiful work in this searing portrait of a gay man in a complex, evolving world.

You can watch the trailer here:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Moving On

In an era when communications technology alternately separates and brings people together, the age-old experience of getting dumped by your lover sure isn't what it used to be. In yesteryear, etiquette required a painful, face-to-face chat. Today, one might only get an equally heartbreaking, but also rude and insulting, text message.

Co-directed and co-written by LA-based helmers Marcia Fields and Mike Spear, Moving On escalates this phenomenon to yet another level: what if, instead of dumping a guy, a gal could simply outsource the job—while sipping Iced Caramel Macchiato with her girlfriends? That's the premise of this inventive, tongue-in-cheek and sharply barbed short film. 

You're (most cordially) invited to visit the film team's website and watch a preview: Moving On Trailer

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Grandpa's Debtor

In this wry, Georgian comedy, a family of swindlers hunts down wealthy targets by combing newspaper obituaries. It's a good little business unless someone with equal cunning wises to their game. 

Filmmaker Beka Sikharulidze, in his directorial debut, demonstrates the explosive potential of subtlety in Grandpa's Debtor. When the family's patriarch confronts a deceased man's grandson over a modest sum of money allegedly owed, no questions or defenses arise. Instead, the would-be victim deftly shifts the focus—incredibly, to the deceased. But can a person who lies in his coffin actually expose a fraud, and through it, the pettiness of a swindler's existence?

You can watch the trailer here: 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


When Amelia finds herself on the outside of a relationship with her live-in boyfriend, Lazlo, he suggests a tortuous pact: why don't they live next door to each other, remain best friends, and openly reveal their continued relationship to any new love interests who come along? What could possibly go wrong? Thirsty for love and feeling the pressure of a thirtysomething who's suddenly, unwillingly, unattached, she hesitantly agrees.

The elegant but odd agreement provokes deep introspection in Amelia as she escapes into reading, gardening, and reveries of what was and might have been. The result is a woman who is both next door to her ex-beau and worlds apart. Filmmaker Kathleen Davison, a certified female filmmaker who has apprenticed under such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Frank Darabont, Glen Morgan and James Wong, creates a sense of mystery, longing and strangeness in the world of Effloresce. In doing so, she reveals how modern arrangements, when draped over biology and expectations, can never quite cure the hurts they're meant to resolve, and why someone who yearns to love and be loved might need to continue her search.

You can watch the trailer here: Effloresce Trailer

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Croissant Man

Croissant Man is the charming and whimsical story of a depressed croissant who's trying to find meaning in the superficial world of bourgeois pastries. Filmmaker Tulica Singh, a student at USC School of Cinematic Arts, marshals her prodigious talents as a producer, director, writer and lead actor to produce what is, in total, a remarkable work of fantasy and imagination. 

If you love something off the beaten track and appreciate an off-center but intimate take on life, then you must check out Croissant Man, a delicious little indie treat. 

You can watch the trailer here: Croissant Man Website

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic

Almost anyone who's burdened by a disability will seek a way out—either a cure or a way to manage the affliction. In the modern world, many will find it, but some of the most amazing stories deal with those who find their own cure. This is the topic of a remarkable new documentary from Lynchburg, Virginia.

Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic profiles individuals who use magic as therapy—not magic on themselves, but magic for others. Newfound skill as magicians rewires their brains and connects them with people, all while doing something they profoundly enjoy.

Co-produced and written by Kevin Spencer and co-produced and directed by Mwita Chacha, this 22-minute film offers a new kind of hope and leaves an indelible impression.

You can watch the trailer here: Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic Trailer

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Man on the Edge

Standing alone, high on a clifftop, a man contemplates suicide. The spot where he stands is an important place to him; it's tied to his past.

Just as he begins to seal his fate, a ravishing woman appears from nowhere. She, too, is linked to this place, and so is their past. But who is she, and what does she want him to do?

Such is the wellspring of A Man on the Edge, a beautifully wrought, gothic romance by Australian director Edward Lyons. This tense, moving short film explores what is means to love in the deepest corners of your heart even after everything goes wrong.

You can watch the trailer here: A Man on the Edge Trailer