Waltz on Up: Dances With Films Festival Competition Features

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That’s right, unstoppable – that’s DWF20, with its wide ranging variety of films that are truly as “fiercely independent” as the fest proclaims.

Grief
Grief

The first competition feature we took in was Grief,  a film written as a catharsis after the loss of an unborn baby. Director/writer/star Kevin Renwick took on the volatile subject of the death of a child, adding in suicide and of course, the titular grief, in a compellingly watchable film that took two years to complete.

Grief
Grief
Tomorrow Maybe
Tomorrow Maybe

Next up, Tomorrow, Maybe, a well-acted potboiler about an ex-con dad, his estranged daughter, and her abusive marriage.  Jace Daniel, Roy Kirk 1st, and Robert Blanche wrote, with Blanche also starring; director Jace Daniel compelling helmed a story that grew from workshopping and table reads.

Tomorrow Maybe
Tomorrow Maybe

Meaning of life

Above, director Cat Hostick on the set of The Meaning of Life.

Meaning of life
Meaning of life

On Tuesday, The Meaning of Life was a weepie about a teen musician and his fortuitous meeting with a 9-year-old cancer patient at the local hospital where he works. Writer director Cat Hostick expertly wrung the pathos from her script, with the music of Canadian pop celeb Tyler Shaw a standout.

Meaning of life
Meaning of life

Chance

Chance, a wonderful 3-D animated story about pit bulls trained to fight against their nature, was decidedly not directed at children. Still, it was a sweet story with a wonderfully modulated script; a message movie with a real heart. This was the film that brought tears for me. Writer Kenny Young and director Kenny Roy drew expert performances from their voice cast, and were inspired by a friend of a friend whose lovable dog was entered in a fight.  Heartbroken, the pair worked for 7 years to get the story to screen.  Terrific score, great cause, too.

Chance
Chance
Chance
Chance
Chance
Chance

immitation girl

I flat out loved Imitation Girl,  writer/director Natasha Kermani’s deeply original story about an alien and her doppelganger earth girl “Visual motif is of yin and yang. We wanted the story of a fresh creature who comes to earth and she was welcomed.” Kermani added “I am actually a musician and filmmaker. I knew lead actress Lauren Ashley Carter and I wanted to do something about structure. About twins. I’m a Gemini,” she laughed.

Imitation Girl
Imitation Girl
Imitation Girl
Imitation Girl

Lore

A packed house gasped and shrieked over the horror film Lore, based on Native American legends. Shot on location in Idaho, the film is full of well-timed jumps and scares. The story was in part shaped by the beautiful location that the filmmakers chose; a harrowing location as it turned out with cold weather, storms, and an altitude of 8000-9000 feet haunting the crew in reality even as their characters are haunted on screen.  Writer/directors Christian Larsen and Brock Manwill know how to thrill and chill, and offer a smart, ambiguous ending in the bargain.

Lore
Lore
Lore
Lore
Lore
Lore

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More Dances with Films on tap tomorrow – why not join us in viewing the Thursday-Sunday slate and find filmmaking magic right in the middle of Hollywood.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: Jack Burke

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