True/False Fest Day Two

After a rousing first day of the festival and a little bit of sleep, I awoke to find my calendar beeping with this mornings host of items to take part in. While the first day was filled with only two films, I had 4 in total to see today, all of which covered a wide variety of issues, with two of them being secret screenings. I will get into what that means once I get to the repsective films.

Overall the day started out fantastic with a lunch/brunch at Main Squeeze for local/organic meals and I headed to the Globe Theater for the first of 4 films that I managed to reserve tickets to. Along the way, the festival had set up some amazing day of activities, mainly the march through downtown I expressed my affection on twitter to the woman who was dressed up as the female Shephard from the Mass Effect video game series. If only I wasn’t going to the latest film would I have ran out and got a picture. Oh well. Some good food was had and enjoyable conversation from a few of the patrons at each film, helped cap an otherwise stellar day 2. But enough about that, lets get on to the micro-reviews which will be a bit difficult to talk about once you read more after the jump.

Secret Screen Blue – The Globe Theatre

At the behest of the directors and those running the organization, I can’t really talk about, much less give the name of the film that I saw in a packed theater. It’s kind of a weird middle ground where the documentary is being shown for the first time to a small festival and the directors are wanting to wait until they hit the large film circuits (think Tribeca, SXSW, or even Sundance if it gets around there) to showcase the work there and generate some buzz. I understand their reasoning and while I think that my piddly little site and it’s 350 page views a day isn’t really going to be the driving force of buzz for the film, I do honor their request and won’t post abouth the theme of the film or even make a reference to the films title.

What I will say though is that the documentary is a narratively compelling story that manages to weave in an overacrching, character driven look into a culture that we know exists, but nothing is really said about it. It is a documentary that managed to make members of the audience a bit uncomfortable, but brings to light a lot of challenging and thought provoking material that is aimed at a certain industry. I was rapt with attention and couldn’t take my eyes off the screen with dramatic and heart rending stories, but ultimately I left knowing a lot more about a culture that goes unheard of in our quest as a developing nation.

From a tehcnical aspect, this is one of the most beautifully edited and composed films of the festival. Each shot and scene had a lingering, angelic effect that capped the end of a difficult scene and allows us to move on to the next subject and their story.

Yes I realize that this little brief synopsis could be about anything really and I did find it hard to write about something that I couldn’t even directly referrence. Rest assured that once this gets the festival play, I will be all over reviewing this film.

Secret Screening Gold – The Picturehouse

So this is going to be the same boat that the preivous “review” was in that the director and festival directors asked us bloggers and prolific tweeters to keep a tight lid on the film. I will attempt to convey how I felt on the subject without giving anything away.

The subject and them of the film revolves around a sport, which is the only thing that I will give away in terms of narrowing down the film. The documentary though kind od blurs the line between documentary and fiction. The dynamic relationship and partnership is a thing that most Hollywood writers wish they could come up in script form. The anguish, love, competition and drive all meld so well together that you have one of the most unique and honest documentaries of the fest.

It is about as intimate and heartbreaking as a documentary can get on the subject at hand, while the leads play out the melodrama of their lives, it seems fitting given the dance they must do in their profession. What gets me most is just how perfect, maybe a little too perfect, some of the dramatic elements playout. The director of the film did a Q&A session afterwards about how they wrote out a script in terms of driving their narrative, but all the dramatic proses and posturing came naturally from all the subjects. It’s a touching and slightly sad film about how determination and drive can propel people to both greatness and distress in their lives.

The Island President – Forrest Theatre

Probably one of my favorite documentaries of the festival so far, The Island President is a close look at the struggles, both politically and environmentaly of the island country of Maldives. The film is a provoking look at how one small island country is able to make enough noise in the political world to bring about change both in a newly democratic society and on a global scale. Director Jon Shenk settles on the story of newly elected President Mohamed Nasheed, who in a dramatic turn of events help ushered in a new democratic society to the country of Maldives. While they have been under the rule of a blantant dictator, their newly won battle brings about a serious war that the country and the President must face.

The focus of the documentary is an environmental lean as the islands of the Maldives are slowly being sunk by the rising ocean and global warming concerns. It is the closest thing that we will get to a serious discussion on global warming and President Nasheed becomes the face and voice for the struggle of change and global reversal. It’s not an easy battle as the President of such a small nation has to confront and use every means he has to get his goal of lower emissions standards in the booming industrial countries of China, USA and India to the forefront of the Climate Change Summitt in Copenhagen.

What sold me on this film is that such a non-imposing figure like Nasheed is able to be so charismatic and convincing in his arguments and pleas. Know that he brought about change to his country through the democratic process, there is a need and weight of an entire nation and ecosystem resting on his shoulders. He exudes this sort of folksy personality, bringing along platitudes and direct demeanor that he catches all the important movers and shakers of the geo-political world to listen. You can’t help but be sucked into this malestrom of charisma and emotion when you watch this president literally take on the summitt and flatout plea that his nation is dying if nothing is done.

The film does offer up a bit hope and sadness, something that is not unfamiliar with the country of Maldives, as they struggle to even fix their own country before they can fix the world. If you are not familiar at all with the Climate Change Summitt or even the plight that the country of Maldives is going through, the end will leave you with a bit a of a sour and down feeling after so much is accomplished by one man and his drive to save a country.

Me @ The Zoo – The Blue Note

To close out the evening, I was originally supposed to see the Comic-Con movie, but box office issues and online reservation a while back prohibited me from being able to see this movie this evening, so I opted to see the film Me @ The Zoo, which is an interesting title that is in reference to the very first film uploaded onto Youtube. With the directors Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch giving us a small prelude to the film, I was excited about the premise of the film being a discussion about social media and youtube. Being in the online marketing field (and you thought I was a film blogger…ha) I was intrigued to see what a young pair of directors would have to say about the culture itself. Well, what ended up showing on the screen was pretty much a 90 minute Youtube video that went on too long.

The film actually centers around one prolific Youtube star, Chrisk Crocker. If you aren’t familiar with who that is, I wasn’t at the time, he was the star of that viral video smash “Leave Brittany Alone”. Yes, the entirety of the documentary is on that singular person. I had no idea who this was, but apparently he is/was a pretty big deal. The focus shifts more on the life and documenting of Chris’ early starts in filming himself and putting it out there for all to see. A boy who is transgender in identity, becomes a polarizing character who blurs and crosses the line on sexual identity, which being in Tennessee, doesn’t bode well for the young man, especially in middle and high school. We get to learn more about what makes this particular person tick and how he was able to find his identity through videos he posted online and the responses he garnered through fans and detractors alike.

What loses me is that the documentary doesn’t really make a solid point on social media, rather it is just a point that social media can be an outlet for those to seek out attention, act out, or build an identity for themselves. There is no exploration really, only a juxtaposition of his ebb and flow love/hatred effect he receives from people online. If the point of the film is to show how vicious people can be, then congratualations, welcome to the internet. We can build you up one moment and sit and wait for your inevitable downfall. Also this concept is shown in spades when he makes the infamous “Brittany” video and this incurrs the wrath of internet tough guys and douchey teens all over the world.

I am not certain what to really think about this film. It certainly wasn’t my favorite of the festival, but there is a meticulous care and dialogue that is opened up by picking a polarizing subject to follow and make a point about social media on. They dive into the idea of how Youtube is giving everyone a chance to make something of themselves, but it seems about as banal as the videos of teens being vapid. Now if they would have stuck and focused on the opening scene of a cat playing piano, then I am intrigued. I mean the internet is made of up of essentially four things; cat videos, porn, people doing stupid shit and people seeking attention.

I might be a bit harsh on the film, but that is how I felt and I think it made a few good points that got lost in a bit of the self indulgence of the subject.

Overall I enjoyed the second day of the festival, although I dropped out of one film (Argentinian Lessons) in order to make it to The Island President, which was a solid call on my part. Tomorrow I got a whole slew of documetaries to see and then the crowning goal of the night, to meet Morgan Spurlock after the showing of his documentary. So if anyone at the festival is reading this, please make a humble film bloggers dream come true. Please!

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

3 Responses to True/False Fest Day Two

  1. Really excited to hear your comments. we sent a film to this fest, and were declined, however we received a very honest strongly supportive note from the programmers, which is way beyond what happens almost anywhere else..

    • Nick says:

      Been a while since I have had time to comment on everything, but I really hope that you enjoyed my coverage of the fest in previous posts I have done. I am still playing catch up on a lot of things so hopefully full reviews will be making their way to the site 🙂

  2. Pingback: True/False Fest – Highlights « Another Plot Device

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