Earlier this year I was a screener for the Santa Cruz Film Festival. I had to watch a truckload of crap… most of it was crap, frankly. Being a screener (or a screenplay reader) is a real eye opener, really… because most of it is crap. But I found a few gems, and I thought I’d get around to sharing them with you. Not all of them made it into the fest (not for lack of quality or vision, more for programming reasons) but I still think you should know about these films.
Written and Directed by Michael Rosetti
Deep in an abandoned factory lives Scion; lonely and crippled, he hobbles along, trying to create a companion. When a mysterious man stumbles into the factory Scion eagerly follows him and the two develop an odd relationship, ultimately changing Scion’s insulated existence forever. Creation and destruction are bound together in a story of the search for meaning and existence.
I was stunned by Scion. At only 12 minutes long, and with only a single line of dialogue, Scion is a beautiful movie with delicate performances. Shot on 35mm by Greg Mitnick, Scion’s urban grunge post-apocalyptic setting is filmed with the light and composition of a Vermeer.
In fact, my recommendation to the programming committee went something like this:
If you read my first post on Enigma, you know that I was impressed by the trailer and excerpts, but had two primary issues: I was unimpressed with the animated googly-eyed monkey (put me into painful Lost In Space flashbacks), and I wasn’t sure why one would spend 40K on making something too long for a short but too short to distribute as a feature. Otherwise, I thought the production looked solid and bigger than its budget.
Director/Producer/Editor Jason Shumway was kind enough to drop by and personally defend the googly-eyed-monkey.
Finally just watched this film, as I’m working on a script that (I was told) might bear some resemblance to it (not this one). I’m happy to say that it doesn’t. What a terrible film, in so many ways. I…
Finally saw this movie… it’s one of those that’s such a “classic” and “groundbreaking” film that filmies love to talk about (and some growed up mens still say scares them), figured I’d better see it. I won’t spend a lot…
Just like with Night Of The Living Dead, I felt I had to see Last House cuz it gets such rave reviews from horror fans as an important genre film. Just like with Night Of The Living Dead, I won’t…
What a great looking movie… amazing production design, Tim Burton-esque without the curlicues… characters designed and shots framed as though they were fine illustrations. The universe of the film has a strange, surreal quality that feels as though you’re inside an illustration, as though the universe ends at the horizon. In other films that’s a quality that takes me out… particularly films that are working hard to create an alternate reality, like sci-fi. In my sci-fi I want to have a sense that the universe extends well beyond the frame (Blade Runner, Alien) and doesn’t just exist where the camera is pointing (Total Recall [which I understand is being remade]). Here, though, that’s a quality that makes perfect sense. Some of the backgrounds put me in a mind of The Wizard Of Oz (the original, not that unwatchable sci-fi channel remake with Zooey Deschanel).
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Let me start by saying that On The Fringe is the kind of story I like. I like Good Will Hunting, Everything is Illuminated and Breaking Away… small town stories, complex characters, and universal interpersonal themes that we can all relate to. And at its core, that’s what On The Fringe is about.
It’s also the kind of story that too few indie filmmakers attempt, at least at the microbudget level. It has no zombies in it. It has no blood. It has no guns. Well, okay, a little blood, and one really old man with a shotgun. But no zombies. Consequently, it may not be for all fans of microbudget indie film.