Louisiana Film Prize 2020 winner: ‘Untitled Post-Baby Project’ is #MomLife101

The 2020 Louisiana Film Prize announces Lorna Street Dopson’s UNTITLED POST-BABY PROJECT as the winner of the $25,000 Grand Prize

A young woman struggles with postpartum depression while trying to adjust to motherhood.

Motherhood. How does one explain the one thing in a woman’s life that allows for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows? There is no manual for raising a human being. Sure, there are innumerable books written on the subject and you’re never short on those wanting to give you unsolicited advice, but until you’re in the thick of it, it is unexplainable. How can you feel an unfathomable amount of love for a person you barely know? Lorna Street Dopson‘s award-winning short film Untitled Post-Baby Project gives the viewer a tiny glimpse into the mind of a Mom. From feelings of inadequacy, elation, anger, frustration, the loss of any sense of self, not to mention the physical transformation. No one tells you how hard motherhood can be, sometimes minute to minute. While Dopson’s on-screen husband Jeremy Sande was one of the most supportive men I’ve seen, I fear some partners may be unable to grasp how to support a mom, especially a new one. The first year is a whirlwind. The editing of the film is actually a perfect metaphor for the inconsistency of feelings that surround everything from lack of sleep, breastfeeding, milestones, personal care, postpartum depression, the list goes on and on. One of the most poignant is the concept of “mom-shaming”, as social media often traffics in the idea of being the “Perfect Mom”. We all know that behind the smiles and baked goods on Instagram, are Moms screaming at kids to “Smile!” or “Don’t touch, I’ll do it!” We’re not doing each other any favors.

As a 40-year-old mother of a 3 and 4-year-old (yes, they’re 15 months apart), this film hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to correct myself while watching. I thought, “Is she really looking at her image and thinking she’s fat?! Are you freaking kidding me?!” Then I stopped and remembered that my own OBGYN shamed me for fitting back into my pre-baby clothes at my 6-week postpartum appointment. And yet, almost 5 years later I STILL hate how my body has changed since then. Untitled Post-Baby Project reminded me to take a step back. Someone who considers herself a “motherhood is tough as hell and you don’t have to pretend to be great at it because we’re all just trying to survive” advocate. I plan on making t-shirts soon. I only recently learned that Postpartum Anxiety is a thing! Mom Guilt is definitely a thing. It’s not all negative, certainly not. Never do you feel more excited than when your child achieves something new or smiles at you. The quiet moments when a baby sleeps in your arms is glorious. It’s all in there. Every last bit of emotion. Lorna Street Dopson has taken a fearless and honest approach to storytelling. It’s an important little film worthy of a big audience.

Produced by Lorna Street Dopson, Jimi Covert, Isaac Fenter
Cinematography by Jimi Covert
Edited by Stephen Bertucci, Lorna Street Dopson
Music by Jacob McSharma
Starring Lorna Street Dopson, Jeremy Sande

Harlem International Film Festival 2020 review: short film ‘Generation Lockdown’ will break you

GENERATION LOCKDOWN is a narrative short film, seen through the eyes of an eleven year old boy as he tries to save his friend’s life during an active shooter attack in his school.

This film is based on a short story by Caleb, a 6th grader from a public school in Teaneck, NJ.

If you aren’t crying by 6 minutes in, perhaps you’ve become numb to the reality of so many kids and parents. I was a senior in high school when Columbine happened. I watched it live while on spring break with my family. Two weeks later, I was in a lockdown of my own in the cafeteria of my own school, unknowing that it was only a drill. Now, I am the other of two young children. In the first year of school for my son, we received an email explaining that they would be doing a school shooter drill. He was 2 at the time. I can remember the terror I felt at 18, I could not have imagined my kids, now 3 and 4, having to run these drills on a regular basis, 22 years later.

The film itself is stunning. The look is bright and relatable to a child’s perspective. As a former teacher, it had a familiarity to it that a lot of films centering around children do not. The morning after I viewed the film, I’m still emotionally drained but feel an inherent need to speak about it. The climax is poignant both in storytelling and in visual impact. The editing is like a punch in the gut. I was not expecting it. For a short film, Generation Lockdown makes a massive impact. It’s something that deserves a primetime viewing slot for its artistic and political effectiveness. This short serves as a not just a conversation starter, but a continuation for a movement. Seek it out.

Fantasia 2020 review: Short film’ You Wouldn’t Understand’ is aptly named.

YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND

An idyllic picnic of one is upended after the arrival of a stranger.

9 minutes of sci-fi absurdity is what I Iive for during Fantasia International Film Festival. You Wouldn’t Understand no matter how hard you try. Impeccably shot and hilariously acted, the only thing wrong with it is that it ends! And that is entirely the point. This is one of the best treatments for an entire series I’ve ever seen, even if that was never the intention. I would watch the hundreds of other iterations of the same story with absolute giddiness. I knew it owned me when I exclaimed, “What the hell?” halfway through. I was as completely weirded out as I was confused… but also had a stupid grin on my face that wasn’t going anywhere even after the credits rolled. Then I watched it again. I cannot stop talking about this film which is also ironic seeing as how I don’t want to give too much away to an audience. Because YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND.

The film is a true collaboration. Director Trish Harnetiaux, also co-wrote the script with actor Jacob A. Ware, while co-star Anthony Arkin edited the short. No surprise the three formed the production company Steel Drum In Space. Which is a hilarious moniker of its own… for obvious scientific reasons. If Monty Python gets your goat, if great writing is your jam, if superb cinematography gets your engine revved, then You Wouldn’t Understand will make complete sense as a viewing experience.

WORLD PREMIERES AT
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YOU WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND

Color
English Language
9 minutes
Not Rated

For more information on the film and to find out about Fantasia 2020 click HERE

Review: ‘If You Ever Hurt My Daughter, I Swear to God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth’ is a short film every parent needs to watch.

If You Ever Hurt My Daughter, I Swear to God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth

Adapted from The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts column
Featuring narration by Jon Hamm

 

If You Ever Hurt My Daughter, I Swear to God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth is a short film adapted from the hilarious and heartwarming humor essay written by Toronto-based comedian Sophie Kohn (CBC Comedy), which was featured in The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts column in June, 2018. It features a monologue from a man who appears first as a stereotypical, overprotective patriarchal figure, but through clever turn of phrase, is quickly revealed to be a progressive, boundary-respecting father of a teenage daughter named Raina.

As someone who was forbidden to date until the age of 16 (which turned into me being too terrified to defy my strict Catholic parents), I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 18 years old. My Parents are amazing. I’m very lucky and I know it. While I always felt comfortable as a young girl discussing crushes, into the teen years, I was no different than my peers in keeping secrets and feelings to myself. In hindsight, that fear and lack of open communication ultimately led me to have zero understanding of who I was in a romantic relationship dynamic and what I deserved. This forward-thinking short film melted my heart with its honest humor. As a 40-year-old Mom (yes, I just wrote that) with a three-year-old daughter, I immediately sent this to my husband and explained how this would have been incredible to experience as a young woman. I am hoping he studies up on this very smart, modern take on parenting, especially girls. Body autonomy is absolutely key to a healthy mental state, not to mention a great parent/child relationship. In 3 minutes and 18 seconds, it manages to capture the raw emotion of being a parent and attempting to protect your offspring. Its message is important without being overly preachy. With its sharp humor, quick cuts, and its genius delivery by Jon Hamm, If You Ever Hurt My Daughter, I Swear to God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth is pure delight. We can all afford to learn and grow and as parents. Aren’t we all determined to do better this time around?

Shot in Montclair, New Jersey, the short film features voiceover narration from actor Jon Hamm, alongside performances from lead actors David Afflick (Father), Alani Waters (Raina), and James Denzer (Jaxsen). New Jersey-based production company Brave Makers produced the short, led by a team including company founder and executive producer Justin Ross (Girls Leadership #MyVoiceMyPower), and director, producer, and Austin-based comedian Meghan Ross (An Uncomfortable Woman), who also moonlights as Justin’s sister.