Author Archives: tr103625

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Poverty Can End on a Good Note

Andrea Arnold’s 2005 short film Wasp, follows the lives of a mother and her four young children as they struggle to survive the brutal conditions of poverty and hunger.

Arnold’s film stands out from other short films with the same theme by leaving viewers with an impact so powerful, they actually feel as if they are witnessing Zoe and her children’s existence first hand.

What made Arnold’s film as exceptional as it is, was its reality. Children forced to watch their mother fight and curse, having to eat crisps and coke for dinner, forced to sit outside of a rundown bar as their mother attempts to seduce the man inside, and more tragic and heartbreaking scenes that are unfortunately not that uncommon.

As I watched this film I could not help but feel bad for these children and their situation. Each scene progressed with a feeling of suspense as to what will happen next. Would one of the children die from starvation? Get kidnapped? Hit by a car? Or, as the film suggested, die due to a wasp sting?

What intrigued me most about the film was the ending. The mother and her children driving away in a car listening to an upbeat song and singing to it, as if they had no problems at all. This song was a symbol of hope, that this family took a horrible situation, and proceeded to see the good.

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Can “The Confession ” Continue the Oscars Trend of Tragic Short Film Winners?

In The Confession the conventional themes of death and tragedy are presented and altered into an innovative piece of brilliancy, as an innocent schoolboy accidentally commits an act so appalling, viewers are left leaving their theaters filled with a chilling feeling, difficult to shake.

Director Tanel Toom’s live action short film truly reaches the expectations of what a noteworthy Oscar nominated film should possess.

The film begins with the routine of an average day for nine-year-old Sam, filled with school, games, and constant reminders of Christ. As the movie progresses, we learn Sam’s most arduous dilemma is finding a sin to fill his clear conscious. This problem turns into one of entertainment for Sam and his friend as their innocent trick on a tractor driver to cure Sam from his dilemma turns tragic, leaving Sam with guilt so severe that he continues to perform acts of dismay.

Toom executes the film inventively with a shattering climax and conclusion, transforming the once whimsical film into one of both horror and tragedy.

A question I kept asking myself throughout the film was, “where was God?”

Is it fair that a boy, whose biggest sin was locking his sister in a closet, has to now deal with the guilt of causing the death of others? It seems God was removed from Sam’s life once he removed the scarecrow from his position on the cross, which explains why the “tractor driver” drives from the scene moments before tragedy strikes.

“You have to tell the truth, God knows all,” says Sam’s priest. Yeah, well, so does the tractor driver.

The tractor driver is always seen from a distance and is present in Sam’s daily routine. However, is never actually seen by viewers, just as there is no actual figure of God, portraying him to be God. This abandonment of God is a feeling universal to many Christians, feeling a sense of loss in their faith in their most traumatic and heart wrenching hour.

Toom has experience representing religious themes in his work. In his 2008 short film The Second Coming, the portrayal of a man’s struggle with his brother’s death is so immense he refuses to bury his body in hopes of his Christ-like resurrection. This theme is one Toom has excellently used in both films.

The theme and tone of The Confession are similar to last year’s Academy Award live action short film winner.

In Joachim Back’s The New Tenants, the genres of drama, tragedy, and death are also depicted. In the film, two tenants move into an apartment building practically moments before finding out their apartment was the center of a crime scene not long ago. As the former tenant’s past comes back to haunt these two men, they are forced to witness the unpredictable death of a neighbor and her family.

According to viewer Amanda Santoro “After watching the short films, I was not exactly sure what to look for that would make one of them prestigious enough to win the award. After watching last year’s winner, I realized The Confession has all the elements to win, and more.”

Posted in Independent Film | 4 Comments

An Oscar Worthy Dream

Many thoughts entered my mind as I sat in the IFC Theater anticipating the start of the Live Action Short Films.

As opposed to listening to my iPod or getting my mind off of my problems by reading a book, there is something about watching a short film that leads me to spend hours searching for the perfect one to fit my current mood.

With short films ranging from about 10-25 minutes, a person’s mood can change from down, to cheerful and absolutely inspired in only a matter of minutes. I guess that is why I have a love for short films and decided to make one last summer.

I purchased a video camera, pitched an idea to my friend with a similar passion and together, we wrote a brilliant screenplay. Unfortunately, our actors (friends) fell through, she went back to college, and I was left with a video camera and a dream.

Plan B didn’t work out either. Trying to persuade my parents to let me transfer to the New York Film Academy didn’t go very well.

So there I was, sitting in the last row of the movie theater with my organic popcorn and a notebook, watching my former dreams, which I had abandoned until that moment, right in front of me coming true for others. As I watched these short films I could not help but critique them with my friend, “This should have happened instead.” “That character should have said this line.” “We could have made a better short film.”

The experience of watching these short films at the IFC Theater was an unforgettable one which reminded me of my former dream of making a short film and ignited it once again.

Who knows, maybe one day I can make a short film and it will be up there for all to see.

In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

Posted in Independent Film | 1 Comment

Four Girls and a Guy

Hailing from the two “forgotten” boroughs of Staten Island and Queens, we are a group of five Journalism students and we know our strengths and weaknesses. While we may have all failed math at least once, we make up for it with a passion and flair for writing. Our blogs will focus on the things we live to love: music, film, art and food.

David Ospino, the only male in a group of highly-caffeinated girls, is also the oldest member of our group, a graduating senior, a writer for the Ticker, and the only Mets fan in our group. He hopes to increase his knowledge of new social media by throwing himself into the world of blogging.

Diana Coats, a Junior with interests ranging from music and movies to sports of all kinds, is also hoping to get more involved with the blogging world. She follows the New York Times culture blogs, including the ArtsBeat, which we will all be taking example from for our own.

Kari Pulizzano, also a Junior and Journalism major doesn’t have much experience with blogs, but puts her passion for music to good use by writing for a small local paper covering the Staten Island music scene and hopes to channel that energy into blogging about local music.

Teresa Roca, a sophomore, is the most quiet and petite member of our group, but don’t let that fool you. While the other girls are talking about music and movies, she talks about following and covering sports for the Bleacher Report. “I feel like blogging is a big part of being a journalist, and I’m really interested in sports and I’ve been writing for the Bleacher Report, so taking this class will definitely improve my writing.”

Izabella Zaydenberg is a sophomore and the only member of our group who seems to know exactly what she wants to do with her writing; cover fashion. She currently interns for designer Christian Siriano and is looking to improve her blogging skills for her intership and future career. She follows blogs like Stylecaster and Refiner29.

We may seem sort of mismatched, but we make up one awesome group of writers with a real passion for what we do, and we’re looking forward to sharing that with all of you.

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More Money Can’t Buy a Better Film

In this weekends Arts & Leisure section, two types of web series films were presented to audiences. The high budget film involving two well-known actors, verses the low budget film presenting poor quality and an unknown cast to its viewers.

Which type of film creates a better web series? Not the one you would think.

The “my Lifetime’s” web series episode Suite 7, included the famous Shannon Doherty, known for her role in 90210, and Wilson Cleveland, known for other short series films. The relatable scenario in the film catches the interest of viewers suffering from the common, “heart break” and “coping of a loss.” Doherty plays the role of an emotional hotel guest who experiences pain, depression, and all the symptoms most people suffer from a post break-up. To direct her attention from her problems, the woman keeps herself busy and in the end finds comfort in the hotel’s manager (Cleveland). Sure, the actors are experienced and their acting is great, but this does not always ensure the better film. This film not only directs its attention towards the female audience as opposed to males, but it’s story line is both bland and overly predictable.

The Oh, Inverted World web series catches the attention of the audience in a different way. Not only does the acting and expression give a hint as to where the movie is progressing, but the scenery and direction does as well. The film involves three bearded men and a girl. The group returns home from college and finds everything to be the same. Between getting beaten up by the popular jock (now a successful businessman) and doing anything for the girl of their dreams (yes, that includes letting her tie them up in her basement) all four of these characters find that nothing has changed in their mediocre hometown. The film is shot in black and white, to further portray the dullness of both the characters and the hometown. It is not until the end of the film where the story takes a completely unpredictable turn, leaving viewers anticipating the next episode.

According to Baruch College student Kari Pulizzano, “I thought the Oh, Inverted World’s film was more real. It was more relatable to our age group, graduating high school and then going off to college to come home and find it exactly the way you left it.”

Although the “my Lifetime” film involved clearly better acting and more money used towards the quality of the film, the story line and setting directs itself towards a certain type of audience, lacking other age groups and gender. Between the story line, cliffhanger ending, and creative filmmaking style of the low budget film, it directs its attention to all audiences and is overall the more interesting film. These two films prove that the amount of money spent does not always make the better film; it is the film that relates better to its audience and that keeps the viewers interested and anticipating the next episode.

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