"Could you get that cactus for me?" This impressionistic, 3-minute short film is a slice of life story from Los Angeles. Know the Ledge is made by photographer / filmmaker Ibra Ake, who often works with Donald Glover as a creative producer on his projects / music videos. It's short and sweet, and also highlights black lives from a unique perspective. "Photographer and frequent Childish Gambino collaborator Ibra Ake gives a whole new meaning to #carefreeblackkids in his short Know the Ledge. The tale follows a black couple as they spend their first day together on the streets of South Central Los Angeles." This short has some serious style, but that's obviously because Ake is a visual mastermind. I want him to make more shorts now! Enjoy.
"And that's the double truth, Ruth!" Have you watched Spike Lee's Oscar-nominated Brooklyn masterpiece? Do the Right Thing was released on June 30th in 1989 and it still stands strong as one of Lee's best films. Set in NYC's Bed-Stuy over the course of a single day, the easygoing interactions of a cast of unforgettable characters—Da Mayor, Mother Sister, Mister Señor Love Daddy, Tina, Sweet Dick Willie, Buggin Out, Radio Raheem, Sal, Pino, Vito, and Lee’s Mookie among them—give way to heated confrontations as tensions rise along racial fault lines, ultimately exploding into violence. The film originally premiered at the Cannes Film Festival back in 1989. It stars Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, John Turturro, Paul Benjamin, Frankie Faison, Robin Harris, Joie Lee, and Bill Nunn as Radio Raheem. I watched this film in a cinema for the first time last year and it blew me away. #BlackLivesMatter.
"I tried to make people question what the act of watching implies." This handmade-with-clay, stop-motion animated film made by Italian filmmaker Marco Jemolo is a philosophical, existential five-minute short. It's described as a "noir satirical tale that investigates how modern society limits individual freedom." The story follows a man who is framed, but will anyone listen to his story? It's fascinating to watch and then question what you're watching. Marco wanted to make a film "about the role of individuals in society, about the extent of their own free will." In only five minutes he covers a number of topics that reflect the struggles of individuality in modern society. Featuring the voice of Guglielmo Favilla as F.K., and Dario Penne as Agente. To watch with English subtitles, click the [cc] button on YouTube. This short will make you ponder.
"You're always funny." Gravitas Ventures has debuted an official trailer for an indie romantic comedy titled Daddy Issues, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Laura Holliday. Not to be confused with the other indie dramedy also titled Daddy Issues. This film originally premiered at the Valley Film Festival in 2018 and is only getting released this summer. When her emotionally distant father dies and leaves her his company, a 20-something, hapless stand-up comic named Henri must move from London to Los Angeles to take over the family business and somehow try to win her father’s approval, even after his death. "Henri finds humor in her darkest moments in this quirky slice-of life black comedy. That is, after all, how the light gets in." Starring Kimberley Datnow along with Tanner Rittenhouse, Alice Carroll Johnson, and Francis Lloyd Corby. Another of these strangely personal films that really doesn't have much to say at all.
"A concert audience won't wait." Strand Releasing has debuted the official US trailer for an indie German film titled The Audition, originally known as Das Vorspiel in German. This initially premiered at the Toronto and San Sebastian Film Festivals in the fall last year, and is getting a VOD release this summer in the US. Acclaimed German actress Nina Hoss stars a violin teacher at a renowned music school in Berlin. She vouches for a young student, and spends all her time and effort training him hoping he'll be the star she thinks he is, while neglecting her own musician son and her husband. The film also stars Simon Abkarian, Jens Albinus, Ilja Monti, and Serafin Mishiev. This is a very good film lead by a great performance by Nina Hoss that carries the entire story, so much emotional weight and so much frustration. Worth a watch.
"The time is near." Strand Releasing has unveiled an official red band trailer for the indie horror thriller titled Framed, made by Spanish filmmaker Marc Martínez. This first premiered at the 2017 Molins Film Festival in Spain, and played at other small festivals all over the world for a few years. It's finally getting a VOD release this summer in the US. Framed is another one of these eye-roll-inducing concepts about an app that lets people stream whatever, without censorship, so of course people get violent and disgusting with it. Three "players" crash a party and force the party-goers into cruel games and tortures being broadcast live. Ugh. I'm so tired of these horror films, glorifying fame and popularity and torture. Starring Joe Manjón, Alex Maruny, Clàudia Pons, Julia Molins, and Enric Aunquer. This is definitely not for most people.
"Shall we drink anyway?" The Cinema Guild has released an official US trailer for yet another Hong Sang-soo film titled Yourself and Yours, which first premiered at the Toronto & San Sebastian Film Festivals in 2016. This is the third Hong Sang-soo film being released this year along with Hill of Freedom and The Woman Who Ran. The story follows a couple that splits one night after an argument about the woman being seen with another man. The next day, she has a series of encounters with other men. But to them it seems she’s not herself… It's described as a "comic mystery" and "delightfully drunken riff on Abbas Kiarostami". Starring Ju-hyuk Kim, Yoo-Young Lee, Kwon Haehyo, Yu Junsang, and Kim Euisung, Yourself and Yours is a "pleasing puzzle full of mistaken identity, excessive drinking and lots of he-said, she-said. As the rumors pile up, Hong asks: In a relationship, how important is it to know everything?" A tough question.
"And here we are, 15 years later…" Hulu has unveiled an official trailer for an indie documentary titled We Are Freestyle Love Supreme, which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Before the world knew of the Broadway musicals In The Heights and Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda started an improv hip-hop group called "Freestyle Love Supreme" (aka FLS). This doc film chronicles the group's 15-year journey, culminating with shows in 2019. They just finished their final show on Broadway earlier this year. "Filmmaker Andrew Fried began with a small SD camera in the summer of 2005, capturing the early days of Freestyle Love Supreme beatboxing on the sidewalks—unaware of how their story would unfold. Fourteen years later, after directing famed series like "Chef's Table" and "7 Days Out", Fried revisits old footage to craft this fated story. Both poignant and inspired, We Are Freestyle Love Supreme recalls the creative dreams of youth and why this project still means so much to these accomplished performers." Yep.
"He caught the beauty in what we were doing." An official trailer has debuted for a documentary film titled Ricky Powell: The Individualist, a profile of the iconic NYC photographer Ricky Powell. Powell rose to unexpected fame as an unfiltered street photographer capturing the downtown New York City scene of the 80s and 90s. Eventually befriending and becoming an honorary member of the Beastie Boys entourage and joining them on tour, Powell captured some of the wildest moments in New York fashion, music, and art with his gorgeous and gritty portraits. "With his finger on the pulse of popular culture, it’s indisputable that 'The Rickster' did more than just document the scene—he was the scene. Drugs, sex, art, and hip-hop collide in Josh Swade's fascinating documentary." The film was supposed to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, instead it's debuting online for free as part of the "We Are One" global festival starting this week.
"How the people we love we can know so intimately, yet at the same time, know so little about them." A film about "connection". Vessel is an outstanding "Black Mirror"-esque sci-fi short film made by filmmaker Canadian filmmaker Ethan Godel. Godel's short wonders: "What would happen if everything we said on a date was a being fed to us via an earpiece by a person in a van just around the corner?" What kind of world would that be? That's already an intriguing premise, but this film brings it to life in such an enjoyable and satisfying way. Starring Tim Blair and Kasi Mcauley as the couple, plus Joseph Anctil and Veronica Baron their Operators. The film won the CBC Short Film Face Off contest on TV in Canada last year, but now it's available to watch online. It reminds me of the dystopian romance films being made these days, like The Lobster or The One I Love. We should all try to be a bit more authentic with each other, no matter what.
"They took their shot, and it wasn't a kill." Vertical Ent. has unveiled an official trailer for an indie drama titled Run with the Hunted, made by writer / director John Swab. This premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival last year, and also played at the Rome Film Festival. The film is about a small town and how things change over the years. Oscar, a young boy, commits a noble murder and is forced to run away from his rural hometown, leaving behind his best friend, Loux. Fifteen years later, he has forgotten his past and is now the leader of a band of lost children. Loux takes it upon herself to find the boy who saved her life. Starring Sam Quartin as Loux, along with Michael Pitt, Ron Perlman, Dree Hemingway, Mark Boone Junior, William Forsythe, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Slaine. Looks like it has a few good performances at least.
"We're designed to operate alongside you. We couldn't do what we do without you." HaZ is back! Sci-fi and VFX maestro Hasraf "HaZ" Dulull (the director of The Beyond and 2036 Origin Unknown) has returned with an exciting new project called Battlesuit - the initial proof-of-concept pilot is now available to watch online. This project is a bit unique because it was created entirely with the Unreal Engine using a real-time animation approach. Razer sponsored the project and is promoting its release. Battlesuit was written by Neil Gibson who adapted a story in The Theory by David Court. The Theory is a sci-fi anthology comic book series of short sharp punchy stories revolving around an astroarchaeologist, working to save our future, and a time traveler, working to save our past. The astroarchaeologist discovers the weapons which destroyed an entire civilization. The performances aren't that great, but this is all about the action and those crazy mechs.