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#AIFF, Coming of Age Day

Friday 5 April 2013

So I’ve started tweeting. As Herself pointed out, who am I? Still no Facebook page, so I guess I retain some of my dignity. Anyway, tweets are @SteveInAshland.

Short post today because we have an early morning tomorrow. Most of the block had a coming of age theme, entirely by chance.

9AM: William and the Windmill  Documentary about William Kamkwamba, the kid from Malawi who built his own electric-generating windmills to power a water pump so that his village would have water for consumption and irrigation. Oh yeah, he was 14 at the time. Amazing kid, now a junior at Dartmouth, published author, and TED speaker. Great human interest story that starts somewhat after he is “discovered” by TED, and ends just as he is entering college. I would have been happier had it been edited a little more for tighter pacing, but still recommended.

Noon: Short stories, which means narratives (fiction) under 40 minutes per film. Mostly excellent; Curfew, a story about second chances that took an Oscar™, and A Short Film were the real standouts for originality. The others in the block were also excellent, especially the cinematography for Buzkashi Boys, which is set and filmed in Kabul. The whole block is Highly Recommended.

3PM: Pairing of the short Perfect Fit about the making of ballet point shoes shows the perfection that goes into the shoes to enable perfection on the stage with the feature documentary From Nothing, Something, which is about the creative process and lived and experienced by a variety of professional artists and creators. While Perfect Fit is a perfect gem, From Nothing, Something is engrossing and entertaining without be formulaic or preachy. This is not a DIY film for how to bootstrap one’s own creativity, nor does it obviously exhort one to creativity; but the subtle way in which it has each auteur describe and deconstruct their own creative process is engrossing. Highly recommended; if you have middle- or high-school children, this is the film for them.

6PM: World premiere of Redwood Highway staring Shirley Knight (As Good As It GetsDesperate Housewives) as a woman who has been put into a retirement home and decides to take a hike…a really long hike. Cameos and supporting roles by half the OSF company, I swear. The director says he’s going after the untapped senior-centric film market, and will be director a film called Senior Prom later this year, to be shot at the Historic Ashland Armory.

Oh, this film…really excellent. Ms. Knight does a great job walking the Redwood Highway and finding her own limits and needs in this over-60 coming of age piece. Excellent supporting cast. Look for it at a theater near you, soon!

9PM: Pairing again: first, the very short Practice Makes Perfect, about a young teen getting ready for his first kiss. Amazingly sweet without getting saccharine. Next, the feature Kings of Summer.Three boys build not just a treehouse, but a whole house to which they escape from their difficult homes. Tons of wry, smart humor; Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) steals every scene he is in, except maybe the ones with Biaggio (Moised Arias), who is quirkier than the rest of several casts put together. A girl becomes involved, and trouble ensues. One of the best comedic coming-of-age films in a very long time. Highly recommended; in broad release May 31st.

That’s all for tonight. Save me the aisle seat.


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