Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Markham Tactical

Talk about timeliness.

Completed in July 2015, Markham Tactical bears an uncomfortable resemblance to current events, raising the stakes in what is already a tense, action-packed film. Co-Directors Bayley Pokorny and Jeremy Earl are based in Chicago, where the latter works as a police officer. Their take on the day-to-day complexities, hardships and hair trigger decisions that necessarily come with a law enforcement career is sympathetic, yet raw, drawing a metaphoric thin blue line between reality and film, order and chaos.

The verisimilitude is uncanny when a fictional documentary film crew visits the police station in Markham, Illinois, where they've been invited in a bid to improve community relations. The station's outreach is an apparent success, but when a stakeout goes bad, the police are forced to handle an escalating situation while the cameras roll.

Sound familiar? You can watch the trailer here: Markham Tactical Trailer

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Frogmarch

Drug intervention.

If you've ever wondered why independent films exist—what the risk, sacrifice, and burning passion is really all about—The Frogmarch is your answer. The story is oceans deep and relevant to your life, not as escapism or entertainment, but as life really is when you are fully present in it. No one but filmmakers Jonathan D'Ambrosio and Matthew C. Flynn could tell this story of friendship and love quite as well because it is their story—fictionalized, but true to their own experience.

Drug addiction is viewed in different ways by different people, but it takes a special kind of insight and courage to transition from an attitude of "this is someone else's problem" to "this is my problem, and I'm going to do something about it." Whether one is the addict or not, it's a quantum leap.

Travis Portman, reunited with his best, oldest friends after serving five years for a drug offense, is ready for a relaxing holiday at a remote lake house at the start of this film, but something much more important lies in store for him. His friends send off the car keys, leaving themselves stranded and, in a real sense, living in a makeshift rehab center with an addict who desperately needs their help. Travis will get that help, whether he likes it or not; he has lost has freedom again, but release from prison is a mirage for someone who isn't free from drugs.

This is an exceptional film. At times, it's a shocking one, yet also wise and tender. D'Ambrosio and Flynn grab you and won't let go, as if The Frogmarch needs you in the myriad ways these friends need each other, proving once again that the emotional impact of a humble little indie flick can be epic.

You. Must. See. This. Film. Watch the trailer here: The Frogmarch Trailer

Thursday, July 7, 2016


In this touching portrait of a woman who has just been released from prison, filmmaker Jen Woldrich brings a heartbreaking social problem into the light of day. Gina is an adoring mother, but her toddler daughter doesn't even know she exists.

Gina travels to the girl's present home, and despite the cool reception she receives from the adoptive parents, the recent inmate enjoys a golden opportunity to sit with and speak to her child. But she doesn't reveal her identity, and the question quickly shifts from how to connect with her daughter to how she can let her go.

Forever. You can watch the trailer here: Out Trailer

Monday, July 4, 2016

Stained Glass Windows of the Shenandoah Valley

Take a contemplative walk through historic churches in Stained Glass Windows of the Shenandoah Valley, an informative film by Virginian D. Lee Beard that focuses on one of art history's less explored crafts. The film covers a wide range of styles, from medieval gothic revival to Tiffany windows and on to more modern, abstract designs, lending many opportunities to see how philosophy, theology and technology combine to produce a continuum of art history and change.

Along the way, Beard discusses what these beautiful windows mean to the communities they serve, elevating an art form into the broader contexts of what a community values and how communities engender self-worth.

You can watch the trailer here: Stained Glass Windows Trailer