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Guest Filmmaker Daily Blogs from the Mag Fest

February 21, 2009

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By Michael Williams

I am very impressed with the Magnolia Film Festival this year. It is very rare for me to attend a festival where after two nights of films I haven’t seen a film i didn’t like. Friday night’s lineup was great.

The night started off with “The Shovel.” This film was directed by Starkville’s Stephen Lehman and written by Mathew Daniel who also starred in the film. The film is a short comedy that is laugh out loud funny and a very entertaining film to watch.

The next film was a foreign film called “La Tuerca.” This short explores magic and the relationship that it has between a young girl and her mother. The film was well-made and had some nice computer animation.

Next up was a film from Argentina called “Porque Hay Cosas.” This film was probably my favorite of the night. It was extremely well made and had some very nice special effects shots. The film centers around a group of kids who fall into an altercation with an elderly woman. The way the film develops towards a final resolution was brilliantly done, and I think it is a must see for anyone who likes dark comedies.

Following that film was “Lucy and James: Part 1” by Alexander Carson of Toronto, Canada. This film explores an interesting set of characters while they interact during a game of hide-and-seek after a wedding reception. This film is very unique. I don’t know how to describe what I liked about the film. The story progresses in such a way that there is obviously no contrived formula being used, and the scenes seem to progress in an unfamiliar manner while still feeling natural. I wish I knew how to explain it, but I think you should just check the film out for yourself. The cinematography was great, the cast did a phenomenal job, and I think you should definitely check this film out if ever given the chance.

The last short of the night was April Wren’s “What Happened?”. While I’ve seen this film numerous times, this is only the second time that I’ve seen it with an audience. Like Thursday night, the Friday night audience was great. They seemed to respond very well to April’s film as well as all of the other films. I was very pleased with the audience’s response to April’s film, and I think she did a brilliant job dreaming up and directing this film.

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After the short intermission, the feature documentary “Invisible Girlfriend” screened. This film is by the same filmmakers who brought you “Kamp Katrina” and “INTIMIDAD” both of which have screened at the Mag film festival in past years. “Invisible Girlfriend” follows one of the colorful characters they discovered while making “Kamp Katrina.” Charles is a paranoid schizophrenic who believes that he has an invisible girlfriend who is The Joan of Arc and sets out on a journey by bicycle to New Orleans which is where he met his beloved Joanie and is a city it cherishes. This film does a perfect job of exploring this man’s life, encounters, thought processes, and emotions. While most of the documentary is humorous, the film has a lot of heart, and if you like docs you should definitely check this one out.

For Thursday’s blog, check out this link.

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