Sidewalk Traffic, written and directed by Anthony L. Fisher

Synopsis: When Declan, a 30 year old husband and new father is squeezed out of a promotion, he finds himself wracked by internal crises, including career envy, bitterness over bad breaks and the still-lingering fallout from the suicide of his former creative partner. Searching for salvation, Declan surrenders to the role of stay-at-home dad, and is forced to face his demons while pushing strollers, changing diapers and heating up bottles all the while working to resurrect his dreams.
Starring Johnny Hopkins, Erin Darke, Heather Matarazzo, Samm Levine, Dave Hill, Tom Shillue, and Kurt Loder.

“Sidewalk Traffic” will screen the Garden State Film Festival on Sunday March 22 at 12p in Atlantic City, NJ.

Visit the film’s website:http://www.sidewalktrafficmovie.com

Posted in Front Page

Snowpiercer, directed by Bong Joon-ho

Posted in Front Page

Katja Loher’s “Bang Bang!”


Whimsically psychedelic, Katja Loher’s “Bang Bang!” offers up a colorful investigation upon man’s interaction with his ecological environment. The elongated space of the C24 Gallery houses what is a seemingly cold empty space, but with popping manifestations of scattered globes upon the ceiling, we’re warmed by constant moving projections of videography. At first glance, one simply assumes the interchanging colors rotating into words (like “Bang Bang!” or “Why” or “Hope”) are some sort of Photoshop rendering, but at a closer look, we see the words form by individuals dressed in monochromatic leotards shape-shifting their bodies into swift movements indiscernible by the untrained eye. Although, perhaps what’s most fascinating, intriguing, and unique about Loher’s work are the glass globes that encase her small video installations.

While some glasses remain open at the top for us to peer into, others close at the top, hinting at a delicacy that acts as subtle and breakable protection. The bulging imperfections of the glass (some are not holistically round, but rather protrude out mimicking the formation of a bubble), obscure our view of the video and make us rethink what we’re looking at. The “roundness” (if I could call it that) Loher gives to her video art, changes previous perceptions and classic renderings we have about how video is projected and how we consume it. On top of that, it’s a political statement about the ecological world she’s commenting on. Perhaps, it is man who lives in a bubble, not realizing the dire need to in fact, preserve, for example, the world of bees (check out the documentary by Markus Imhoof More Than Honey for a great in depth analysis of the world’s reliance on bees).

There is one great moment in her films that showcases a man trying to escape from a box filled with styrofoam peanuts. As a light-hearted fairy-esque gaming sound motif plays lightly in the backdrop of the gallery, we can only think of the irony of man’s struggle. Much of what we thrive off of would not exist in reality were it not for the much-avoided land of honey bees, bats, butterflies, and hummingbirds, that she displays for us in this world of fantasy. She places each upon their own respective “gaming” device in a juxtaposed room. Man’s game with his environment may look alarmingly bright and cheerful in Loher’s world, but it is, at best, her way of commenting through mixed media, performance art, video art, and blown-glass that we should step out of our own dream worlds, as colorful and perfect as they may be, and question, as the ever-changing human bodies do, “Why?”.

Although “Bang Bang!” is no longer on display at the C24 Gallery, please take a look at Loher’s work at: http://www.c24gallery.com/exhibitions/katja-loher/

Review written by Bebe Nodjomi (http://independentfilmnow.com/?p=920)

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Iran: A Memory, written and directed by Bebe Nodjomi

Bebe Nodjomi ‘s Iran: A Memory is a found footage, experimental, performative documentary currently featured on the website for the Farhang Foundation 6th Annual Short Film Festival (http://www.farhangfilmfest.org).

Oscillating between New York and Iran, Nodjomi searches for the meaning of home and identity through her father’s documentation of Iran, reflecting on the past that she otherwise could not remember were it not for the medium of film.

Nodjomi was born and raised in New York and has made frequent trips to Iran with her family but has not returned since 2009. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Film Studies at Columbia University. She plans on writing her Master’s Thesis about Post-Nationalist Iranian Cinema. Below are excerpts from a recent conversation between Bebe Nodjomi and IndependentFilmNow.

Mike Fishman: Bebe, in Iran: A Memory you utilize film footage that your father shot of Iran and of you and your family when you were much younger. Did the idea for your film grow out of that footage or did you have the idea for the film and realized that you could incoprorate the footage to explore your themes?

Bebe Nodjomi: I first began assembling this film for an experimental class back in 2012. I was inspired by a lot of work we were watching by filmmakers who explored their respective heritages. I decided to go and look back at what my father had filmed on your basic homevideo DV camcorder and came across footage of the roads, mountains, family outings, and of course myself as a younger girl. I think looking back at this image of a younger me inspired me to “find myself” and better understand who was in the past when I traveled to Iran and who I am now in New York, having not traveled back since 2009. The addition of my cousins footage came in a year later when I was looking through the completed short and I realized I needed something light to make it more relatable and comedic, however, the dialogue still ties into the general theme of blood shed in Iran.

MF: Is that where the images came from of you painting grass blades red?

BN: Yes, the grass sequence is a continuation of this blood shed in Iran theme. It refers specifically to the 2009 Green Wave Movement that attempted to outcast the fraudulent votes that made Ahmadinejad the president again for four subsequent years. The mini revolution was swiftly kept at bay with harsh violent sanctions from the government and I wanted to portray that as best I could without specifically referring to the event but rather subtextually referencing it in a poetic manner such as painting.

MF: As with most experimental filmmakers you utilize sound to comment and expand upon your images, such as the sound of cars on a highway and judicious use of music and ambient sound. Tell us about your approach to creating the soundscape for this film.

BN: For my soundtrack, I simply kept using snippets of pre-existing sound from the footage I had of Iran and constantly pasted them over various images. In particular I used the sound of cars zooming by to establish a sense of time and disorder, for example when I have the sound of cars passing by while my father dances with my cousin. Originally I had wanted to use a traditional Iranian pop song, but because of copyright issues I decided to use the car sound which perhaps even creates an alienative quality about the moment. I tried my best to use Godard’s sound technique of dropping sound down every now and then to help the viewer truly pay attention to what is happening on screen.

For more information about Bebe Nodjomi, please visit her Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/bebe.nodjomi

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Bobby Miller’s first Feature Film! (Calling Vancouver Residents!)

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Bobby Miller’s Feature Film (calling all Vancouver residents)

Posted in Front Page

Stranger, written by Nadia Carmon, directed by Jeremiah Kipp

Stranger is a short film about a young woman on the verge of madness, paranoia and hallucination.

Status: Complete, as of March 2014

On May 10th it will premiere at Beyond the Beaten Path Film Festival in SoCal, sponsored by the SoCal Independent Film Festival.

Posted in Filmmaker Profiles

Ida, written by Pawel Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

Posted in Front Page

On DVD: Take Me Home, written and directed by Sam Jaeger

Take Me Home (2011) is a terrific indie road trip/romantic comedy well worth seeking out as a satisfying example of how much can be done with a limited budget. The one issue that must be overcome is a moment of stretched credulity that, challengingly, the plot hinges upon. Claire (Amber Jaeger), having just caught her husband flirting with his secretary on a particularly rough day, hails a cab in Manhattan, impulsively tells the driver to “just drive,” and falls asleep, emotionally exhausted. Taxi driver Thom (writer/director Sam Jaegar), who’s been kicked out of his apartment, his not so wordly possessions crammed in the car’s trunk, is more than happy to oblige. So drive he does, until the wee hours of the morning when a not-quite horrified Claire wakes in the cab cruising along the highway outside Pittsburgh. If the film followed the rules of actual life, this is where Claire would get on her cell phone and call the police. Instead, after a brief mild freak-out, she decides to have him drive her all the way to California where her estranged father lies dying in a hospital; Claire is afraid of flying though she makes an attempt at it by having Thom drive her to the airport where she’s unable to force herself to buy a ticket.

Claire and Thom haggle over the price and she agrees to pay him five thousand dollars for the cross-country cab ride; the plot hinges upon this moment and it does stretch believability but it’s plot medicine that goes down easily thanks to the easy chemistry between the leads, a married couple in real life. Sam Jaegar, with his chiseled chin and long face, conveys a less-confident Aaron Eckhart while Amber Jaegar has a fierceness and striking beauty that would be at odds with her character’s frequent crying jags if not for her strong acting chops. Her annoyed looks at Thom are film gold that undoubtedly come from the comfort level this real-life couple bring to the screen. Both actors excel at utilizing their eyes and facial expressions to subtly convey emotion and annoyance with each other to humorous effect.

The film is full of road trip humor and a few tense scenes such as when Claire, herself dosing, wakes to find Thom asleep at the wheel on the highway in the middle of the night. She takes over driving though she does not have a driver’s license and they both wake in the car hours later, Claire herself having fallen asleep at the wheel, the car having drifted safely far off the road into the rural countryside and now out of gas. It’s at once a moment of humility for the angry Claire and an opportunity for the two to bond in a not-unexpected moment in the cold night when Thom shares his jacket with Claire to keep her warm. That’s a nice touch, Thom sharing his coat but not giving it entirely to Claire, speaking volumes about their wary relationship at that point.

Predictability is always a hurdle for rom-coms to overcome and Take Me Home hits a few typical road bumps such as Thom being a photographer who can’t get a break, taking photos along the way including of a reluctant Claire which we just know are going to show up meaningfully at the end, as they do in a coffee-table book of his work Thom somehow gets published. What’s remarkable about this film, at heart a romantic comedy with a healthy handful of tender moments, is how co-star/writer/director Sam Jaeger keeps it uncertain, up until the very end, as to whether these two frustrated and conflicted souls will come together. Along the way we get lots of feistiness and tension between the two, and a few moments that are both funny and touching, especially when accomplished supporting actors Lin Shaye, as Claire’s slightly loopy mother, and Victor Garber and Christine Rose as Thom’s uptight father and bizarrely cheerful mother, are introduced late in the film. By then, we’ve come to care about these two imperfect individuals and it’s enlightening to finally have some light shed on where they come from and how they got to where they are. It’s part of the journey of this road trip film, one well worth taking.

Visit the website to view the trailer and download Take Me Home digitally: http://www.takemehomemovie.com/

Mike Fishman

Posted in Film Reviews, etc.

Tribeca Film Festival 2014

Posted in Front Page

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