MILLIE LIES LOW – Review by Justina Walford

Millie Lies Low goes headlong into the mistakes people make. Millie is on her way to New York for a prestigious internship, but she has a panic attack and gets stuck in her hometown. Instead of telling her friends and family that she missed her flight and can’t afford another one, she decides to fake her trip to New York on social media. Her life devolves from there, with each secretive misstep leading to worse and worse consequences. Big mistakes leading to bigger mistakes.

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BLUE JEAN – Review by Justina Walford

Dramas set in the 80s walk a tightrope, often forcing us into a sense of nostalgia, romanticizing the decade even though it was far from inclusive. LGBTQ coming-out films also walk a tightrope, usually stuck in a world of early LGBTQ challenges without showing a character existing beyond the struggle of identity. Blue Jean is both of these genres. Yet, the combination defies the challenges and comes off beautifully as a sincere dialogue and, in some ways, a sincere amends and admiration among generations.

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CLOSE TO VERMEER – Review by Justina Walford

Suzanne Raes’ documentary,”Closer to Vermeer, delves into the enigmatic world of Johannes Vermeer, the celebrated painter behind masterpieces like “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” Little is truly known about the artist himself, and that mystery has been studied and debated by scholars as long as his art has been known. This documentary’s essential story is not about Vermeer as much as Vermeer is the framework to tell an even more riveting tale. As the camera pans so intimately close to Vermeer’s paint and canvas, we see the gloves and scopes of study, gently poring over every dab of paint.

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10 International Animated Films That Showcase World Cultures – Dana Ziyasheva reports (Guest Post)

The United States has always been a culturally diverse country, and it will become even more so in the future. In 2019, more than half of Americans under age 16 identified as a racial or ethnic minority for the first time – so not really a minority after all! Young audiences want to relate to what they’re watching, explore their heritage, and learn about their friends’ cultural background. And Hollywood has started to take notice: Moana, Mulan, Coco, and Encanto added ethnic diversity to Disney/Pixar’s time-tested formula, with action-packed, broad-stroke narratives centered on their title characters’ identity search.

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AWFJ Exclusive Clip: SURVIVING SEX TRAFFICKING

The documentary Surviving Sex Trafficking is sobering personal account from diretor/producer Sadhvi Siddhali Shree of her abuse at age six, unburied and brought up through meditation. Supported by actor Alyssa Milano, Jeannie Mai of The Real, and musician Jay Jenkins as executive producers, the production team travels to Houston, Hungary, Miami, Las Vegas, New Jersey, India, the Philippines, and Ethiopia, interviewing trafficking survivors and focusing specifically on three women with harrowing stories of their abuse. This is a crucially important documentary that reveals the ongoing abuse and exploitation of vulnerable girls and young women around the globe.

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Uniqueness in the Age of Global Aesthetics – Katia Shannon (Guest Post)

Filmmakers are encouraged to develop a distinguishable aesthetic to pierce through the clutter. But it might be harder than ever to achieve. Where you are from and what your films should look like, are not interdependant anymore. That’s exciting, but the globalization of aesthetics is both a brilliant opportunity and a trap. The challenge lies in embracing the opportunity of a cross-cultural digital dialogue while recognizing what makes your world view unique and inimitable. The good news is, that it’s already around you, beckoning for attention.

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My Gen Z Perspective on Film Criticism – Riley Roberts comments (Guest Post)

I’m 18. I’ve been a YouTube pioneer, the youngest movie critic in history, sold a company, and interviewed hundreds of A-list stars from Dwayne Johnson to Selena Gomez – all before my first period. With high school graduation behind me, I’m looking at a bright future of…what? Closed doors?

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How I Watch Films As A Film Director – Katia Shannon comments (Guest Post)

A few years ago, during an undergraduate film studies class viewing of Michael Snow’s Wavelength, I was struggling to find anything positive about the 40-minute imperceptibly slow zoom we were watching unfold. After reconsidering the value of my student loan, and whether or not people would notice if I took a quick nap, something great happened. I dove into a contemplation of the nuances between entertainment, appreciation, and enjoyment.

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