This year’s Soho International Film Festival recently wrapped up here in New York City. The festival “celebrates cutting edge digital technology while honoring traditional forms of storytelling, encouraging new and seasoned filmmakers from NYC and around the world to create and send in their fresh and innovative cinematic pieces.” If you were able to make it out to any of the film screenings throughout the city you were able to get a glimpse of some of the amazing talent that was featured in this year’s film festival. And if you didn’t..well fear not! The Hot Zone has got you covered on some of this year’s best films including some inside commentary from the creators and actors who worked on the films. Check them out below!
Film: With Child
With Child tells the story of a construction worker who is working through accepting his wife’s death while also experiencing the joy of being a father to his newborn daughter. The film was nominated for the Best World Showcase award at the festival. Director Titus Heckel told THZ that the film came from a combination of two major events in his life, the birth of his daughter and the connection he shared with her and the death of his brother’s son’s death. He explained that the entire creative process related to the film allowed him to express his grief through the story he was telling. As for what he hopes audiences will get out of the film, he simply stated “Art should speak for itself and what is taken away from it will be and should be different for different people.”
Film: The Fisherman
The Fisherman follows an old man that returns to the same dock to go fishing every day, while there he tries to relive his memories. The film was shot mostly in the North Shore of Long Island, is extremely visual and takes place over a range of seasons. When asked what he hopes audiences take away from the film, creator Stefano Pennisi joked “I want audiences to hire us after watching this!”
Film: She Lights Up Well
She Lights Up Well is a comedy that tells the story of an out of work actress who has to move back in with her parents and ultimately decides to try to save the community theater. The film is directed by and stars Joyce Wu who was inspired by her own life after she moved back in with her parents and found out the town wanted to shut down the local library. Wu stated that she “wanted to make films with people that looked like me, but weren’t stereotypes.” Wu’s parents played a huge part in the making of the film, Wu’s mom helped her scout out locations and even brought popsicles to set on an extremely warm day. When asked what she wanted audiences to get out of her film she replied “I want them to see someone they can root for and to leave the film wanting to follow their dreams.”
Film: No Questions Asked
No Questions Asked follows Evelyn and Leif a couple who gets put through an interesting situation when Evelyn comes home with a lost dog and they have to decide whether to give it back and what to do with a reward. Director Mark Ezovski described the film as “Harold and Maude steal a dog.” Ultimately the couple must decide what the future of their relationship will be. It is based on a play by Larry R Yates and was inspired by a flyer for a lost dog that was seen near his apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. When asked what he hopes audiences will take away from his film, he stated “I would like to give them the feeling that everything is possible, the sky is the limit” and then he also added “Also, don’t stay in abusive relationships, if something is wrong, leave.”
Film: Dirty Laundry Day
Dirty Laundry Day is an animated short film that tells the story of Ken who after a series of unlucky events during a normal trip to the Laundromat tries to exchange some bills for coins when a cryptic message appears that sends him on an interesting adventure. The film was even nominated for the NYC Audience Award for short films at the festival. According to director Jamil Lahham, he was inspired “by a one line joke from George Carlin’s book that goes “I put a dollar in a change machine and nothing changed.” “ When asked what he hopes audiences take away from the film he answered “I really want them to think, to be confused and to really be changed after the film is done.”
Other great films from the festival included Sick To My Bones by Writer, Director and Artist Nomattsland who prior to making the film was involved in performing and visual arts in Asia, the US and the UK. His film is inspired by the puppetry films of Jim Henson and tells the story of a world where only two warriors remain after an apocalyptic battle, he even has plans of making the film into a trilogy. And Leaving Circadia which is directed by Evan Matthew Weinstein and was nominated for Best Showcase Feature Film at the festival, focuses on a group of 30 year olds who are dealing with the life crisis that occurs around that age, Weinstein stated that there were plenty of films made about the post college experience and not enough about this topic.
Overall, keep an eye for these rising film makers and their amazing projects and make sure that whenever any of these films are playing in your neighborhood or nearby, you race to theater to catch them while you still can! And it’s never too early to start planning ahead for next year’s festival!