PUPPY LOVE – Review by Justina Walford

PUPPY LOVE – Review by Justina Walford

Puppy Love is a loving documentary about a healthy litter of Labrador puppies that suddenly become paralyzed. Their breeder, Cindy, is advised to put them down, but she resolves to make them better, taking back every dog that falls ill from their adopters to dedicate her time and resources to their health. In fact, her goal is not only to help them walk, it is to help them thrive as intelligent and active dogs. So she and a group of tenacious women use every possible solution to bring these dogs back to health despite vets and people in the dog community having different opinions. First and foremost, if you love dogs and you love the people who go out of their way to take care of them, this is a solid film.

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BIRTH/REBIRTH – Review by Justina Walford

BIRTH/REBIRTH – Review by Justina Walford

My favorite horror films are symbolic shadow work, a protagonist who is quintessentially “the good one” and another living our darkest intrusive thoughts, with the darkness mentoring the light in a grim spiritual and moral journey. Birth/Rebirth is that film. Marin Ireland is delicious as the snarky, cruel morgue technician Dr. Caspar who, instead of taking on lovers, masturbates men in bathrooms for their sperm. Judy Reyes is devastating as Celie, a nurse who suddenly loses her daughter, Lila, and is plagued by guilt for how little she was present for her daughter in her last moments.

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KLONDIKE – Review by Justina Walford

KLONDIKE – Review by Justina Walford

When we see expectant parents, we think of nurseries and colorful mobiles with the laughter of nervous parents emotionally in sync and awaiting their important day. But in the dark of Klondike’s opening scene, it doesn’t take long to realize that this typical expectant parents’ conversation is not what we expect. The couple has a hole in their house. The environment is bleak and brown. And their conversation is interrupted by a loud explosion. So now we expect a drama with action and blood. But no. Again, we are turned around by the dry, absurdist wit of writer and director Maryna Er Gorbach, and we see this couple struggle with the mundane as much as with the mind games of politics and war.

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BLUE JEAN – Review by Justina Walford

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. Writer-director Georgia Oakley has crafted a narrative that is historically relevant and tragically resonant today. The story is interwoven with television and radio updates highlighting the conservative government’s efforts, led by Margaret Thatcher, to enact discriminatory legislation against the LGBT community.

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CLOSE TO VERMEER – Review by Justina Walford

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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Tallgrass Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Sarah Moshman on UNBOUND

Tallgrass Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Sarah Moshman on UNBOUND

Sarah Moshman, daughter of documentary filmmaker Harvey Moshman, grew up on set, so to speak, and has since early childhood wanted filmmaking to be her fulltime profession. She’s worked primarily in television, producing and directing segments for prominent news shows and popular series. In 2013, she won an Emmy. In 2015, she won a Gracie. […]

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Chinese TV: LOVE BETWEEN FAIRY AND DEVIL – Essay by Dana Ziyasheva

Chinese TV:  LOVE BETWEEN FAIRY AND DEVIL – Essay by Dana Ziyasheva

The Chinese show Love Between Fairy and Devil is such a carefully choreographed ballet of emotions and thoughts on the nature of love, power, and society — hammering home its points with an impossibly attractive cast and a highly addictive soundtrack — that I, a bone-weary middle-aged woman with grown-up kids, found myself pledging all my time (and the entirety of my soul) to it.

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10 International Animated Films That Showcase World Cultures – Dana Ziyasheva reports

10 International Animated Films That Showcase World Cultures – Dana Ziyasheva reports

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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Megan Mylan on SIMPLE AS WATER – Interview by Mythily Ramachandran

Megan Mylan on SIMPLE AS WATER – Interview by Mythily Ramachandran

Academy award winner Megan Mylan’s latest documentary, Simple As Water, was shortlisted for an Oscar but did not make it to the final list of nominees. Mylan received an Oscar for her documentary, Smile Pinki, and the Independent Spirit Award for Lost Boys of Sudan, which was also named as a New York Times Critics’ Pick.

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Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study, by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas – Book Review by Marietta Steinhart

Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study, by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas – Book Review by Marietta Steinhart

There is fortunately no taboo here, no film too deranged and no character untouchable. Even the cartoon skunk Pepé Le Pew gets his comeuppance. “On most occasions Penelope Pussycat clearly does not enjoy his sexual advances.” Thinking about it, Pepé Le Pew was more than just a little rapey.

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SWEAT – Review by Marietta Steinhart

SWEAT – Review by Marietta Steinhart

Few films have pictured the Social Media phenomenon as empathically as Sweat. Thanks to a powerhouse performance by Magdalena Koleśnik, Sweatallows for a very nuanced and kind look at a profession that has been demonized and mocked. Watching movies about people staring at their phones is usually about as stimulating as watching grass grow. This is not the case here. Koleśnik’s energy is contagious.

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DIRECTOR ROHENA GERA Chats SIR – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

DIRECTOR ROHENA GERA Chats SIR – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Director Rohena Gera’s debut feature film, Sir broke all stereotypes of Indian cinema with a story that explored the changing dynamics of a relationship between Ashwin-a affluent young man and Ratna-his live-in domestic help. In India where caste and position in society determines relationships, Sir was much appreciated for its sincerity and honest narration. Sir premiered in the Critics Week at Cannes (2017) winning acclaim. Gera became the first woman filmmaker to receive the Gan Foundation award as well as a prize at the Cannes Critics Week.

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Indian directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh won two Sundance awards for WRITING WITH FIRE – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Indian directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh won two Sundance awards for WRITING WITH FIRE – Mythily Ramachandran interviews

Debutant directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh received two awards-Audience award and Special Jury award at Sundance Film Festival 2021 for their documentary Writing With Fire, chronicling the rise of ‘Khabar Lahariya’ (Waves of news), India’s only newspaper run by Dalit (considered untouchables) women and which recently went digital. WWF is produced by Black Ticket Films, a production company cofounded by Thomas and Ghosh and recognized for its award winning shorts including Timbaktu that received the Indian national award in 2012 as Best Environmental film. Mythily Ramachandran talks to the duo on the making of this documentary.

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IS LOVE ENOUGH SIR? – Review by Mythily Ramachandran

IS LOVE ENOUGH SIR? – Review by Mythily Ramachandran

Is Love Enough Sir? is a tale of forbidden love. Rohena Gera marks her debut with a heart- warming and poignant story that holds a mirror to the class divide in India. This is Rohena Gera’s debut feature film in Hindi. The film won a Cannes Critic Week award in 2018 and is now streaming on Netflix.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ashley Eakin on SINGLE

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ashley Eakin on SINGLE

Single confronts the complexities of being disabled and dating. Kim, who was born with one arm, gets set-up to go on a blind date. When she finally meets Jake, to her horror – he only has one hand. Unable to get over the apparent ignorance of the matchmaker, as well as her own insecurities about being different, Kim tries to bail on the date.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Janice Mingas on WHEN THE NIGHT HAS COME

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Janice Mingas on WHEN THE NIGHT HAS COME

When The Night Has Come sheds light on the dangerous reality of systemic racism and police brutality. It tells the story of Matt, a young Black man whose life is forever changed after he is stopped by the police for an identity check.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ali Liebert on THE QUIETING

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ali Liebert on THE QUIETING

The Quieting tells the story of Maggie, an anxious and newly queer woman on the eve of her first date with a woman. She is thrown into the throes of self-doubt and fear is confronted by an unexpected guest. Sara Canning and Julia Sarah Stone star in this psychological thriller by Ali Liebert that snaps the struggle of identity sharply into focus.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ariane Louis-Seize on SHOOTING STAR

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Ariane Louis-Seize on SHOOTING STAR

On a family trip to observe the shooting stars, Chloé, a withdrawn teenager, discovers a dazzling attraction for her mother’s new boyfriend. Ariane Louis-Seize likes to write and film unconventional characters who break down barriers by acting as we would never dare to do ourselves.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Alex Anna on SCARS

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Alex Anna on SCARS

Alex Anna’s body is a canvas: her scars come to life to tell a new story of self-harming. Live action and animation intertwine in this short and poetic documentary, both intimate and universal.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Wendy Morgan on SUGAR DADDY

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Wendy Morgan on SUGAR DADDY

Some films jump off the screen to announce the arrival of vital new talent. Such is the case with Wendy Morgan’s Sugar Daddy, starring Kelly McCormack in a tour de force performance as Darren, a new age music composer and performer who is trying to break into the record industry. Sugar Daddy is the opening film for Whistler Film Festival 2020.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Elinor Nechemya on OUR HEARTS BEAT LIKE WAR

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Elinor Nechemya on OUR HEARTS BEAT LIKE WAR

With his eyes in a fantasy book and his ears to the horrific testimony of an Eritrean refugee, nine-year-old Sinai falls asleep at his mother’s workplace, and his mind drifts away. In his sleep his mother tells him a surrealistic fairytale about a Syrian refugee family living in Sweden. This “fairytale” is about a young Syrian boy who falls into a coma-like situation after the family receives a deportation letter from the government.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Aimee Long on A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Aimee Long on A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL

Inspired by a true event, A Shot Through The Wall is about an Asian American police officer who accidentally discharges his weapon during an investigation, killing a black teenager through an apartment wall. The case spirals out of control as the incident is deemed police racial bias. His fellow cops and unions initially tell him there’s nothing to worry about, but politics erupt and he’s left standing alone. His fiancée is African American, but his reluctance to involve her as part of a PR defense unleashes a series of mishandled opportunities for him to defend himself.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Niav Conty on SMALL TIME

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Niav Conty on SMALL TIME

Naiv Conty’s Small Time is about childhood, family, and the role models around us. Stubborn patriotism, dogmatic faith, and the sexualization of young women are all themes that swirl around in this tragic story about a ten year old girl surrounded by addicted adults,

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Whistler Film Festival Interview: Susan Rodgers on STILL THE WATER

Whistler Film Festival Interview: Susan Rodgers on STILL THE WATER

A former museum curator, Susan Rodgers’ film career started with a wardrobe continuity gig on the television show Emily of New Moon. Soon a box of wartime letters discovered in an attic launched her first film, the half-hour period drama Bobby’s Peace. Rodgers’ inaugural feature film, Still The Water, was completed in the spring of 2020.

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Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Emily Dickinson on MARCH

Whistler Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Emily Dickinson on MARCH

First time director Emily Dickinson’s narrative short March takes place in 2024, and follows an American woman in her mid-twenties, as she travels to Canada to get a now-illegal abortion. A day in her life showcases abortion tourism, the current state of relations between the two neighbouring nations, the implications of a misogynist government, and the resilience of women. March is nominated for the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Short at Whistler Film Festival 2020.

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