Tallgrass Film Festival 2011

This year, Kate and I attended the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, KS.  It was great to spend a weekend wrapped up in the film world and discussing the craft, story line, production, subject matter, etc.  While there were too many films for me to see in one weekend (especially with an 8 month old running around at home) I saw a plethora that I knew I could not miss.  There are 2 I would like to highlight and encourage you to seek out as they travel around to other festivals and get distributed:

The Selling

| 2011 | USA | 92 mins. | Domestic | Narrative

In Competition
Director: Emily Lou

Languages: English | Genre: Comedy

Summary

A too-honest-for-his-own-good real estate agent buys a property to flip for a profit … only to discover the house is haunted.

MY REVIEW: I was extremely excited to see this movie because it combines my two favorite genres of comedy and horror.  Traditionally, campy is the vessel for comedy in horror which belittles the art form – this in not the case in “The Selling.”  An awesome cast of mostly newcomers to the big screen deliver performances true to their characters that allow us to immerse ourselves into the experience of the film.  The comedic delivery is spot on and matched with well timed editing that both plays to the suspense of the horror and the cadence of comedy.  Most impressive is that this was Emily Lou’s first feature film, a credit that usually results in a product that feels like a work in progress.  This is a well polished product ready for the big screen in a town near you!  This film delivers on exactly what it is, 92 minutes of pure fun you will be recommending to your family and friends.  Spooky enough to give you a jump, but docile enough for the whole family.  Run (screaming in horror) – don’t walk (laughing hysterically) – to see “The Selling!”

The Clean Bin Project

| 2011 | Canada, USA | 67 mins. | Foreign | Documentary

In CompetitionGreengrass
Director: Grant Baldwin

Languages: English | Genre: Documentary

Summary

The Clean Bin Project is about a regular couple and their quest to answer the question ‘is it possible to live completely waste free?’ Partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a comedic battle to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least amount of garbage in an entire year.

MY REVIEW: This documentary reminded me (style-wise) of the project I am working on currently and therefore was great to watch and judge technically.  The subject matter is also very close to me as Kate and I have become overwhelmingly taken by the idea of weaning ourselves off of many major systems and trying to live cleaner lives.  This film had so much potential to be preachy and lecture people about their habits and our use of single-use products.  Having lived in San Francisco there is nothing I hate more than having someone’s lifestyle thrust upon me and mine being judged as stupid.  This film gorgeously documents this couple’s experience without thrusting judgement onto their viewers.  Instead of hammering facts into our brains, Grant and Jen allow us into their lives as the competition to produce less weight becomes the vessel that changes their lives in a revelation they may not have expected.  The competition was their catalyst into cleaner living.  Grant’s asides to camera and our ability to relate to him as the guy next door brings comedy to the piece driving what I feel is the element that sets this film above the rest; living without waste can be fun.  There are no glaring fights.  Grant and Jen are not torn apart by the competition and changes to their lives.  Nope, they remain the same people who go through an enlightening experience and they take us laughing the whole way.  I highly encourage you to go see this film as it is a wealth of information on cleaner living, an enderaing story of a couple, and inspirational to see how easy it is to make a few changes to your life style that will benefit yourself and those around you.
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