Overall, the pool of films for day two felt a bit weaker, which is the contributing factor to such an unsatisfactory response. There were about four films that bordered on unwatchable, including the last feature-length film of the festival, Wet Brownies, which resembled something high school kids make if left uncensored. However, there were also four exceptional standouts, some of which even raised the bar over films from day one.
Part of the first block and one of the best films of the festival was Flat Chested, an amazing short that blended raunchy comedy, raw emotion and great acting to tell a story about a woman, Amanda, and her decision to get a preventative double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation. The writer/director, Kristyn Benedyk, does an excellent job of creating a roller coaster of emotion as Amanda struggles through a bucket list specifically catering to her breasts. The short was a sweet tribute to womanhood and an intriguing look at commitment and endurance.
Then, in block two, there was Shotgun by Maverick Moore. This comedy short generated humor through unexpected breaks of the fourth wall, playful banter between characters and creative filmmaking techniques as it followed three girls driving around on some baron road. While the plot walked a line of merely being eh, the film was definitely a display of Moore’s filmmaking chops. He utilized the most creativity and technique out of anyone shown at the festival so far and, as a storyteller, proved he has a knack for comedic timing and character development.
The third most notable film of the two blocks was definitely I Am Selma by Yossera Bouchtia. It was a story about a young Moroccan-American girl’s struggle with identity in the post 9/11 world, the film unapologetically dove into some serious themes like Muslim perception, Muslim perspective and what it means to be American. Bouchtia did a great job of thoroughly juggling so many themes in such a short time and boldly talked about topics that aren’t always being considered but deserve more attention.
The Q&As were substantially better but the films shown left this nagging question of credibility and reputation, especially with the last film of the night being that hard-to-watch feature Wet Brownies. After all, this is a festival that showed a block of films about a Korean man’s touching commitment to his mother with Alzheimer’s and a young American girl’s Muslim pride in an intolerant environment next to a movie where snorting crushed kidney stones and putting a vibrating cellphone on your crotch is funny enough to revisit over and over again. It’s just hard to imagine that out of 400 submissions and a search for diversity that these types of films all deserved to be sitting at the same table together.
Photos: Take Two Film Festival
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