(Tribeca 2024 shorts) ‘A ROSE FOR KATRINA, ‘ ‘LICE,’ ‘MY BEST FRIEND,’ & ‘WHEN EVERYTHING BURNS’ – Exemplary work from across the globe

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A ROSE FOR KATRINA Tribeca 2024 Shorts

https://tribecafilm.com/films/rose-for-katrina-2024

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Short | Australia | 9 MINUTES | English

Harry Quinlan‘s short film A ROSE FOR KATRINA is technically dizzying. Augmented and overlapping sound editing combined with its one continuous take filmed from outside the busy household immediately throws you into a subconscious panic.

An unknowing Michael shows up for a first date, rose in hand for a girl named Katrina. Accosted at the front door by her twin and surrounded by the chaos inside, his frustrations get the better of him. When Katrina tracks him down outside, the questions don’t end there.

The dialogue barrels ahead like a freight train, weaving in and out of innocuous and aggressive. A ROSE FOR KATRINA leaves you buzzing. It would be impossible to move on without debating what you witnessed.


LICE Tribeca 2024 Shorts

https://tribecafilm.com/films/lice-2024

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Short | India, United States | 14 MINUTES | English, Hindi | English subtitles

Filmmaker Vindhya Gupta‘s Tribeca 2024 short LICE tackles the challenges of childhood cruelty and power dynamics. The subject had me itching and cringing as a former teacher and mother of two elementary-aged children. In the film, we find two girls, one a popular bully and the other a quiet loner. When Roshni tries to blame her lice infestation on Chakor, an unusual friendship begins, but are her intentions pure?

Guilt and redemption flow through the lines. DP Maria Belen Poncio captures eye-catching natural light in India’s architecture. The final scene puts you through the emotional wringer. Each viewer may take away a different ending. Either way, the film serves attention for its tangible dialogue, compelling performances, and universal messaging.


MY BEST FRIEND Tribeca 2024 Shorts

https://tribecafilm.com/films/my-best-friend-2024

MY_BEST_FRIEND-Clean-16x9-0Short | United States, France | 18 MINUTES | English, French | English subtitles

A post-breakup Clara (Marie Zabukovec) meets up with her best friend Léa (Lana Boy) for a staycation in NYC. Léa divulges she has convinced her boyfriend to have an open relationship. Will a night alone bring friends closer together or push them apart?

The natural lighting in each scene is a visual gift. Watching the credits shows you the predominantly female crew, making a difference in storytelling and environment as this dynamic spills into the project in all the right ways.

My Best Friend encompasses female friendship to a tea. It expresses the beauty and purity of everything and nothing all at once. Marie Zabukovec and Lana Boy are spectacular. Their chemistry feels palpably authentic. It’s movie magic. Filmmaker Elina Street has a dazzling gem in MY BEST FRIEND.


WHEN EVERYTHING BURNS Tribeca 2024 Shorts

https://tribecafilm.com/films/mazda-presents-moving-the-spotlight-2024

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Maria Belen Poncio‘s Tribeca 2024 short begins with a bang and an ominous visual. Isabel is a fire brigade volunteer with no official authority besides her moral compass. As the flames swiftly approach a neighborhood, she shares a stubborn fortitude with a local man, each standing their ground to survive.

Juan Pablo Toch‘s poignant score says it all. Lead actors Annabella Bacigalupo and Ruben Gattino speak volumes in their silence and circumstances, with each generation silently resigned to the world’s fate by the time the screen goes black. In 12 minutes, WHEN EVERYTHING BURNS is powerful.

Tribeca 2024 Shorts

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‘BLACK EYED SUSAN’ first-look trailer drops prior to its Fantasia 2024 World Premiere

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BLACK EYED SUSAN


Black_Eyed_Susan_POSTERLegendary underground filmmaker Scooter McCrae (SHATTER DEAD, SIXTEEN TONGUES) returns after a 21-year absence from feature filmmaking with the bold, vulgar, and deeply thought-provoking BLACK EYED SUSAN. Simultaneously brutally challenging and deeply vulnerable, the latest from the New York-based provocateur appropriates bleeding-edge science fiction concepts to address the seemingly-endless lengths that men will go to satisfy their darkest impulses without questioning the consequences of their actions.
 
In the film, down-on-his-luck Derek (Damien Maffei, THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT) is hired by a shady tech industrialist to “test” Susan (Yvonne Emilie Thälker, in a striking feature debut), a lifelike robot built for the purpose of receiving and “enjoying” sexual abuse. Initially hesitant to take part, Derek accepts, but quickly finds himself drawn to Susan’s developing personality and inquisitive nature. As the robot’s expanding humanity chips away at him and he learns more about his own secret desires, he questions if what he’s been tasked to do – even to a robot – should ever be condoned.
 
Black Eyed SusanHere is the first-look trailer for Scooter McCrae’s dark sci-fi drama BLACK EYED SUSAN, which World Premieres at Fantasia on Friday, August 2nd.
 

A Vinegar Syndrome Production in association with Not the Funeral Home and Moose + Squirrel, the feature was filmed on Super 16mm film and features a luscious musical score from legendary Italian composer Fabio Frizzi (THE BEYOND, ZOMBIE). 
 
The film’s cast includes Damian Maffei (THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT, 2023’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Game), model Yvonne Emilie Thälker, Marc Romeo, and ex-WWE Superstar Scott Fowler.


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For all things Fantasia 2024 stay tuned to Reel News Daily and be sure to check out our bestie, Steve Kopian, at Unseen Films

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Fantasia 2022 ‘BORN OF WOMAN’ rules supreme, again.

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BORN OF WOMAN (2022)

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One of the best shorts collections at the Fantasia International Film Festival is the annual Born Of Woman program. This year’s selections ran to a sold-out audience. The Born Of Woman selection is special because the films are bold genre stories created exclusively by female filmmakers. 2022’s iteration saw nine films from five countries and every single one blew me away. Each year, this is my personal favorite program. The films are fresh, vibrant, scary, relatable, and wildly intriguing.

Lily’s Mirror

A shocking opening leads to one of the sharpest takedowns of the patriarchy I’ve seen in quite some time. Lily receives a therapeutic mirror allowing her to take back the power so freely stolen by men. The depiction of the erasure of women is a comic and creative chef’s kiss. I didn’t think it was possible to make misogyny funny, but the script is carefully crafted. I found myself nodding, laughing, and exclaiming, “This is sheer perfection.” Highlighting women going to bat for other women and the fragility of the white man, Lily’s Mirror could easily be an entire series or feature film. This type of short drives audiences wild, and Fantasia 2022 knew what they were doing programming this film. A slow, celebratory clap for everyone involved. 

Everybody Goes to The Hospital

Everybody Goes to the HospitalThis haunting stop-motion animation speaks to the often barbaric side of medicine. Fear, misogyny, and the medical staff’s good complex are all in full view. While the story occurred in the 60s, its relevance does not wane. Writer-director Tiffany Kimmel does an excellent job capturing the terror of a child that undoubtedly attached itself to adulthood. The narration from Lucia Hadley Wheeler hits you square in the heart. The short was surprisingly personal for me. When I was 20, doctors at Saint Luke’s Roosevelt subjected me to a battery of invasive tests, unconvinced that I was a virgin. What I knew was appendicitis was treated as an STD. After 12 hrs and an emergency surgery later, my medical gaslighting experience still haunts me. Fantastic 2022 audiences will watch in awe of the artistry and storytelling style. Everybody Goes To The Hospital will make your blood run cold.

Wild Card

Writer-director Tipper Newton gives us a glorious, tongue-in-cheek, neo-noir throwback. Daniel makes a dating tape, and his first date brings nothing but good trouble. I’m not sure if Wild Card was shot on 16mm, but the combination of costumes, sets, and score gives the film’s overall aesthetic an era legit look. Fantasia 2022 viewers got an excellent treatment in Wild Card. When the credits rolled, I was left wanting to know what happened to Daniel. I needed to know what happened to Daniel! Billy Flynn and Newton give great performances. I cannot stress how perfect they are for these roles. The subtle nuance between them walks a fine line between serious and absurd. Overall, I’m beyond thrilled to follow Wild Card‘s journey.

Punch Drunk

A young woman recovering from surgery works the night shift as a bartender and contends with the memories of her surroundings. Horror doesn’t have to be a creature feature in the traditional sense. Punch Drunk is a creative declaration of power. Writers Cason Weiss and Emily Lerer (who also directs) bring a uniquely intimate short to Fantasia 2022. Danielle Argyros is stunning in the lead role. I would love to see this developed into something bigger. It has endless potential. Punch Drunk is a bold, fearless, funny, and relatable look at the trauma that sent a shiver down my spine. 

Stained Skin

A mesmerizing juxtaposition of live action and 2D animation, Stained Skin uses fable storytelling to ease the reality of women stuck in an endless work cycle. Attempting to combat their sadness, the story passes from Samy to Alba as a coping mechanism. As screenwriter Mirjam Khera’s narrative grows, so too does their sense of hope. Marisa Wojtkowiak and Safinaz Sattar are captivating in the eight minutes they share alongside beautifully drawn images from Andrei Ebîncā. Directors Adam Graf and Mandy Peterat understand the balance of dark and light. It’s films like these that bring Fantasia audiences to Born of Woman. Stained Skin is a gorgeous addition to 2022.

The Anteroom

Writer-director Elisa Puerto Aubel gives Fantasia 2022 audiences a heart-stopping short. In the near future, a refugee and her infant daughter must negotiate with a customs AI. As the seconds dwindle toward one of two options, tension is palpable. The sparse and ominous set adds to the suffocating feeling, and the desperation in actress Irene Anula’s voice against the callous echoes of the machine will take your breath away. 

Daughters of Witches

A young mother brings her baby Iris to participate in a traditional ritual. Generations of women trek into the forest, but Clara is unsettled and guilt-ridden, having missed her grandmother’s recent passing. Written by Karen Acosta, Naria Muñoz, and director Faride Schroeder, Daughters of Witches is another excellent example of the intrigue a short can generate. As night breaks into dawn and Clara finds Iris crying in another location, the final reveal left me emotionally invested in each character of this family lineage. Starring Yalitza Aparicio (ROMA), Daughters of Witches builds an engrossing world in ten minutes. 

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You

This intoxicating short film from writer-director Rioghnach Ni Ghrioghair teases every one of your senses. Margaret has lost her lover Freya to something she believed was haunting them inside the walls of their expansive Victorian mansion. Capturing Freya’s presence becomes an obsession, compromising her relationships with the living and the dead. Garrett Sholdice and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly’s score becomes a plot point. Truthfully, the sound design from Garret Farrell is one of the most impactful aspects of the story. The film’s audio consumes the viewer, placing them in the stranglehold of grief. Fantasia 2022 audiences will undoubtedly fall in love with this film, from its costumes to Allyn Quigley’s editing. It’s nothing short of sumptuous. 

Kin

Striking cinematography by Marc Patterson and a dissonant score from Jonathan Keith set the scene for director Sarah Gross’ Fantasia 2022 short film Kin. Three siblings must survive the western plains on their own. Eldest sister Ida takes the familial reigns to protect everyone. Madison Tebbutt’s screenplay subverts expectations bringing us an unusual creature feature that twists and turns from beginning to end. The final shot made me shudder.

 

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‘COTTONTAIL’ (2024) A beautiful portrait of grief and redemption

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Cottontail_KeyArt_10_2x3Filmmaker Patrick Dickinson brings audiences a nuanced tale of loss and love in COTTONTAIL. Following the death of his wife, Kenzaburo travels with his son and his young family to fulfill his late wife’s last wish, to scatter her ashes at Lake Windemere in England. The film flashes back in time, giving us intimate details of the love story between Kenzaburo and Akiko.

COTTONTAIN Final Platform Stills - Dropbox - www.dropbox.comTae Kimura gives an award-worthy performance as Akiko. The depth is mesmerizing. You will remember it. Lily Franky delivers a stunning complexity in Kenzaburo. Dickinson skillfully draws out the rift between him and his son Toshi (a fantastic Ryo Nishikido). The built-up guilt and regret flow off the screen as Franky moves from scene to scene. So, too, does the fierce adoration for his wife. COTTONTAIL

Cottontail_Still06_1920x1080.jpg - www.dropbox.comDickinson places the audience in a precarious emotional state once we witness the hardships of Akiko’s progressing condition and Kenzaburo’s increasing frustrations with losing the wife he vowed to love through thick and thin. The discussion of the impact of acting as a primary caregiver hangs above the film like a dark cloud, allowing the redemption narrative to hold your heart. COTTONTAIL is about the individuality of grief, keeping secrets, and human connection. It is an undeniably beautiful and affecting film.

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COTTONTAIL will be released exclusively IN THEATERS on June 7th and On Demand July 9th thereafter

 

Cottontail_Still11_1920x1080.jpg - www.dropbox.comStarring Academy Award® Nominee CIARÁN HINDS (Belfast, First Man, “Game of Thrones”), LILY FRANKY (Analog, “The Naked Director”), AOIFE HINDS (Belfast, The Commuter), RYÔ NISHIKIDO (A Boy and His Samurai, Eight Rangers), TAE KIMURA ( “House of Ninjas,” “The Unbroken,”  “24 Japan”), RIN TAKANASHI (Love for Beginners, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger Movies), YURI TSUNEMATSU ( “Tokyo Vice,” The Pink Panther 2, Letters from Iwo Jima).

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‘MURDER COMPANY ‘ (2024) Based on an untold true story

MURDER COMPANY

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During the D-Day invasion, a group of U.S. soldiers must smuggle a member of the French resistance behind enemy lines to assassinate a high-value Nazi target.


Murder Company 2 (2024) - www.imdb.comShane Dax Taylor‘s WWII drama imagines the never-before-told story of a secret mission. While all the elements of greatness are there, MURDER COMPANY delivers a rather average film. I never found myself emotionally invested in the characters, which is unfortunate because performances from the entire ensemble deliver solid work. I found myself drifting. The battle scenes felt noticeably repetitive as if a few days had been spent in the same wooded location and shot from only a few different angles. The dialogue suffered the same fate. I couldn’t repeat a single line after watching. The FX were similarly subpar. Bullet holes were glaringly CG, and it was frankly distracting. War films are immense undertakings. Tackling an untold story adds extra scrutiny. Filmmakers should have taken more advantage of Kelsey Grammer‘s abilities. Ultimately, Murder Company waves the white flag.

Murder Company (2024) - www.imdb.com

Here’s the trailer: 

MURDER COMPANY comes to theaters, on Demand and Digital, today.

Buy Tickets here: https://www.fandango.com/murder-company-2024-236335/movie-overview?cmp=Indie_YouTube_Desc


Murder Company 3 (2024) - www.imdb.comIt stars William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy, “The Royals”), Pooch Hall (“Ray Donovan,” “The Game”), Gilles Marini (Sex and the City, “Switched at Birth”), Joe Anderson (Across the Universe, The Crazies), and Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers,” “Frasier”).

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‘NUKED” (Tribeca 2024) Rowdy revelations in dire times

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NUKED Dinner Table
**World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative Category** NUKED

A group of old friends celebrate one couple’s 40th birthday. Booze, cannabis-infused menu, deep secrets, and a single text blow up in their faces in Deena Kashper‘s Tribeca 2024 highlight NUKED.

NUKED Bottom of StairsThe more stoned they get, the more intense the setup as the audience waits for Jack to drop a truth bomb. But that’s the least of their problems when an emergency broadcast message forces our guests to face facts of their past and present.

NUKED boasts a superb comedy ensemble. Natasha Leggero plays Chef Sasha, the cannabis expert and sarcastic wonder kind. I imagine that at least a few of her lines are improvised based on the cast’s reactions. Lucy Punch makes every film more spectacular. Her comic timing is a thing of the gods. As the anxious mother of a newborn, Punch balances heartfelt attachment and sardonic wit like a star.

Justin Bartha has the effortless charm of Jason Bateman. His ability to hold the frame and take you on an emotional journey is always impressive. His physical comedy holds a lot of emotional swings. Bartha is fantastic. Anna Camp is relentlessly funny. She’s a little Energizer Bunny that you feel compelled to watch. Her chemistry with Bartha is a knockout success.

Raunchy and unfiltered, NUKED is a modern take on evergreen issues. It’s hilarious, unapologetic, and a damn good time. Make sure you stay tuned for the credits!


Written and Directed by: Deena Kashper
Story by: Deena Kashper & Danny Kashper
Produced by Julie Christeas, p.g.a., Daryl Freimark, p.g.a., Deena Kashper
Executive Producer: Kerri Elder, Blake Elder, Justin Bartha, Victoria Sidebotham, Jon Stockel, Danny Kashper, Eugene Kashper
Co-Executive Producers: John Balis, Adam Kirszner, Eric Litman
Co-Producer: Emily McCann Lesser, Jeremy Kotin
Starring: Anna Camp, Justin Bartha, Lucy Punch, George Young, Tawny Newsome, Ignacio Serrichio, Maulik Pancholy, Stephen Guarino, Natasha Leggero, and Cole Stockel

Gill Langer (Pitch Perfect’Anna Camp), a relationship podcaster, influencer and oversharer, is celebrating her 40th birthday alongside her husband, Jack Langer (The Hangover’s Justin Bartha), an unassuming educator who wants nothing more than for them to conceive a child. Convening at a lavish estate, she throws a cannabis-infused dinner party with some of her closest friends, couples who are also at a crossroads in their relationships. As the night carries on, the high settles in and the insecurities of their respective relationships come to the surface; everyone gets a sudden phone alert that a nuclear missile is headed directly toward them.You’d be surprised what facing your impending death looks like and how weed, surprisingly, may not be your best ally in this scenario.

Feature | United States | 86 MINUTES | English

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‘FAMILY PORTRAIT’ (2024) Authentic and unsettling award-winning film comes to Metrograph at Home this Friday

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Family Portrait poster

Filmmaker Lucy Kerr follows a well-off family as they gather to take a photo for their annual Christmas card. When the matriarch goes missing, one daughter makes it her mission to find her. In the dawn of Covid, FAMILY PORTRAIT is a haunting film whose title is a stunning double entendre.

Family Portrait groupThe heightened sound editing by Andrew Siedenburg and Nikolay Antonov is a character in the film. There is no better way to articulate its effect. The camera work from Lidia Nikonova swings from following closeups to static long takes, and it is nothing short of magnificent.

family portrait 1There is a theatrical delivery of much of the dialogue. Deragh Campbell is marvelous playing Katy. She delivers a compelling performance, reminding us how much we rely on the family matriarch to set our boundaries. Campbell’s pervasive anxiety flows on the screen.

Family_Portrait_new_screenshots_02The film brilliantly captures the poetic chaos of family gatherings. A myriad of intimate vignettes are all swirling together in an authentic picture where time loses all meaning. FAMILY PORTRAIT is haunting in so many ways. It will leave you breathless and wanting more.

Opens at Metrograph Theater in NYC Friday, June 28, Expands to Chicago and Los Angeles in July & Makes US Streaming Premiere Exclusively on Metrograph at Home Friday, July 5

Synopsis: Family Portrait follows a sprawling family on a morning when they have planned a group picture. After the mother disappears and one of the daughters becomes increasingly anxious to find her and take the picture, the rest of the family appears to resist any attempt to gather. Initially presenting itself as a realistic portrayal of a family on an idle but hectic summer day, the film progressively descends into a realm where time and space lose their grip, transforming the family portrait into a solemn and enigmatic ritual of transition.



FAMILY PORTRAIT stars a captivating Deragh Campbell (Kazik Radwanski’s ANNE AT 13,000 FT., Nathan Silver’s STINKING HEAVEN) and world premiered at the 2023 Locarno Film Festival in the Concorso Cineasti del presente section, the festival’s slate dedicated to discovering the cinema of tomorrow, where it took the Boccalino d’Oro for Best Director for Kerr. In addition to the US theatrical rollout, FAMILY PORTRAIT will make its US streaming premiere exclusively on Metrograph at Home on Friday, July 5, where it will be available for a two-month online engagement alongside a collection of Kerr’s short films.

In addition to the film’s winning reception at Locarno, FAMILY PORTRAIT has received accolades from the Black Canvas Film Festival (Best Director), the Hainan Island International Film Festival (Best Picture, Best Actress, and the Best Artistic Contribution), the Austin Film Society (Feature Film Grant), FIDLab (AirFrance Prize), and the New Horizon Award from the U.S. In Progress event in Wroclaw, Poland.

Kerr, Houston-born and New York-based, was one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Film of 2022 and a graduate of CalArts film and video program. Inspired by familial pain and the feeling of loss that reflects what was felt by many during the pandemic, in the world of her film —which was shot in Hunt, TX, along the Guadalupe River— when grief is denied, mourning transforms into a melancholia that begins to undermine the sense of “reality,” ultimately leading to a divergence beyond the territory of the living.

Chris Galust (GIVE ME LIBERTY), Katie Folger (DAY 5), Rachel Alig (FIRST BLUSH), Robert Salas (CASSANDRO), and Silvana Jakich (WHAT HAPPENED AT 625 RIVER ROAD?) round out the cast alongside Campbell. The film is produced by Megan Pickrell and Frederic Winkler, co-produced by Rob Rice, and executive produced by Kerr for Conjuring Productions, her production banner, and Brittany Reeber. Lidia Nikonova lensed, Karlis Bergs edited, the sound department was comprised of Andrew Siedenburg and Nikolay Antonov, and production design was done by Tim Nicholas.

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‘COLD BLOWS THE WIND’ (2024) Fresh meat on a bone in this indie horror from Eric Williford

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COLD BLOWS THE WIND

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When a husband and wife (Victoria Vertuga and Danell Leyva) find their night blown wildly off-course, they’re forced to band together in order to survive in the most extreme of circumstances.

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COLD BLOWS THE WIND finds Tasha and Dean in a moral predicament. After drunk driving, striking a jogger with their car, a stranger makes things even more complicated. Teamwork makes the dream work. Too bad this husband and wife can’t agree on a damn thing.

Cold Blows The Wind -VictoriaVertugaDanell Leyva does a great job of being entirely unlikeable. Victoria Vertuga gives Tasha a fierce presence. She is very watchable. It is Jamie Bernadette who steals the show playing Briar. Everything from her blunt haircut to her unsettling delivery is star quality. I want a prequel where she and Torrey Lawrence lead.

cold blows the wind jamie bernadetteFilmmaker Eric Williford starts his new film off with a bang. The editing by Timothy Widmann is effective. Practical FX are solid and in your face. Cold Blows The Wind is a mysterious story of body-snatching possession on unholy ground. So much of the film feels inspired by the Evil Dead franchise, with a few other classic homages mixed in. Williford offers bits and pieces of backstory. Even though we are left to fill in the blanks, the potential is clear. There is enough meat on the bone (pun intended) to keep audiences hungry.

Watch the trailer to COLD BLOWS THE WIND here

BUCKLE UP! THE INDIE THRILL-RIDE OF THE SUMMER CRASHES ONTO VOD JULY 2ND!

Written and directed by Eric Williford, COLD BLOWS THE WIND stars Victoria Vertuga (LEXI), Danell Leyva (CLOCKED), Jamie Bernadette (I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: DEJA VU), and Torrey Lawrence (THE HARDER THEY FALL).


Horror / Crime Thriller
Color
85 Minutes
English Language
Unrated

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‘SWEATY LARRY’ (DWF:LA 2024) Gen Z’s newest and funniest superstition

DWF-LA logoSWEATY LARRY

https://danceswithfilms.com/sweaty-larry/

SWEATY LARRY

80s and 90s kid here. Ouija boards and Blood Mary were a right of passage at sleepover parties or Saturday nights. Filmmaker Vanessa Ionta Wright delivers a new generation of jaded kids trying to scare themselves in a world where they’ve already seen it all thanks to the internet. Our three youngest stars, Sienna Burton, Quinn Reames, and Camryn Bentley, eat the screen up with genuine laughs and an authentic level of “suss.” I loved everything about them.

Sweaty-Larry - GirlsOur introduction to Sweaty Larry is as ridiculous as it should be, and the original song saying over the credits (written and performed by ATL’s Ross Childress, co-founder of the rock band Collective Soul) is a straight banger. SWEATY LARRY is the brilliant reason a festival’s Midnight section exists. I loved everything about it.

WRITER/DIR: Vanessa Ionta Wright
PRODS: Ryan Burton, Rozalyn Mattocks, Tony Reames
CAST: Haley Leary, Victor Rivera, Sienna Burton, Quinn Reames, Camryn Bentley

Sweaty Larry the man

Three curious young girls stumble upon an obscure urban legend and summon the infamous entity known as Sweaty Larry. They were warned…they were warned.

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‘DEATH PERCEPTION’ (DWF: LA 2024) Killer art from a new perspective

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https://danceswithfilms.com/death-perception/

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Filmmakers Alec Wry, Sam Slade, & Kevin Mix give DWF: LA 2024 audiences a fresh take on the slasher genre with DEATH PERCEPTION. The setup finds a group of college friends coming together for a watch party of Sean’s newly completed short film. No one seems particularly excited, aside from Sean. The night rolls on and the guests find a masked maniac picking them off, one by one. You think you know what’s happening in DEATH PERCEPTION, but you’d be dead wrong.

Every character gets a run-through of the mayhem from their perspective. Each version varies slightly with more information than before. It gets weirder, wackier, and more confusing as the film progresses. Things make more and less sense, but it is too late. You are already hooked.

The script delivers a trove of unlikeable characters and slip-n-slide of tropey goodness with a unique twist. The entire cast digs into the campiness of B horror, but two performances in particular deserve a shout-out. Nicole Murray as Anna, and Kevin Mix playing Sean. Both fully embrace the nutty chaos and bring their A-game. Bravo.

The editing is a damn triumph, and they stick the ending with one last glorious laugh driving their entire point home. It’s a genius stuff.

DIRS/Writers: Alec Wry, Sam Slade, & Kevin Mix

PRODS: Alec Wry, Nicole Murray, Kevin MIx & Sam Slade

CAST: Omari Williams, Cody Laper, Laura Wichman, Nicole Murray, Brian Velazquez, Kevin Mix, Rosemberg Jimmenez

 

A group of college students are invited to a screening party for a short film made by aspiring auteur filmmaker Sean Davis. The night takes a dark turn as each character gets picked off one by one by a mysterious masked killer. The story unfolds from the point-of-view of each of the six guests, and with each new perspective new clues come to light about the darkly comedic truth behind the violence.

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‘DELICATE ARCH’ (DWF: LA 2024) This supernatural WTF showcases a new voice


DWF-LA logoDELICATE ARCH

https://danceswithfilms.com/delicate-arch/

Delicate Arch Poster
Filmmaker Matthew Warren brings DWF: LA 2024 audiences DELICATE ARCH, where four college students embark on a camping trip to prepare for the inevitable societal shift due to climate change. When they arrive, visions creep into their waking mind, blurring reality for everyone.

Katie Self is the soothing voice of the narrator. While we hear her only briefly throughout the film, her presence is memorable. Rene Leech plays Ferg with exuberant energy. Their stoner persona is fun and carefree until shit hits the fan.

DELICATE-ARCH-2Kevin Bohleber gives Cody a know-it-all environmentalist vibe. He hides a much more nuanced undertone. Kelley Mack is Wilda. She mixes a breezy girl-next-door quality with authentic emotional baggage.

William Leon gives Grant an upright aura, quickly crumbling as his sense of reality changes at every turn. Leon is beyond compelling.

Delicate Arch 06The titular location is a real place in Utah. It is striking and entirely isolated, making for an immediately tense premise. The score is haunting and ethereal, comprised of disembodied voices. Scenes in which Grant trips on mushrooms utilize a combination of ever-evolving animation and VHS-style imagery to illustrate his POV. It is trippy.

Tongue-in-cheek dialogue overtly pegs each character by their archetype. Their love for horror and subsequent homages blend into the whirlwind finale.

The film plunges into chaos, further down the rabbit hole as the minutes tick by. Warren makes it impossible to predict. DWF: LA audiences are in for one hell of a ride in DELICATE ARCH. To weirdly quote Mean Girls, “The limit does not exist.” You will question everything.

WRITER/DIR: Matt Warren
PRODS: Larissa Beck, Josh Long, Aaron Nelson, Matt Warren
CAST: William Leon, Kelley Mack, Kevin Bohleber, Rene Leech

Four young friends with fracturing relationships take a camping trip to Southern Utah in order to escape an ecological disaster in the northern part of the state. Alone in the desert, they begin to suspect that their reality might not be as it seems, and soon realize they’re being observed by a mysterious cosmic force.

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‘I NEED YOUR LOVE’ (DWF: LA 2024) Relatable yet unique shenanigans

DWF-LA logoI NEED YOUR LOVE

https://danceswithfilms.com/i-need-your-love/

I-Need-Your-Love

Earlier this month, Tribeca 2024 audiences got treated to episodes 1 and 3 of Walker Kalan‘s series I NEED YOUR LOVE. Now, DWF: LA gets a chance to laugh and play. Co-created by star Camille Trust, the show is  quick-witted, awkward (in the best way), and realistic, delving into how inevitable competition complicates friendships.

It’s a bold move coming for Taylor Swift. But if you attempt it, this is how it’s done. The Swiftie Army is real, but we can take a joke when we hear one. The episodes have all the markings of greatness. Camille Trust knows her audience. It is niche and yet entirely relatable. Trust carries each scene like a pro. You feel compelled by her presence and immediately accept she’s in her natural state on camera. Jam packed with Tons of promise in this one. Keep an eye out. I feel like we’ll be seeing more of I NEED YOUR LOVE really soon.

WRITER/DIR: Walker Kalan
PRODS: Walker Kalan, Camille Trust, Christina Campagnola, Susie Talbot, Jayne Sullivan, Thomas Glinkowski, Megaera Stephens, Nadine Bedrossian, Isabel Haro
CAST: Camille Trust, Inés Nassara, Athan Chekas, Willy Rincón, Ben Becher

Need Your Love is a bittersweet comedy about pop singer Camille Trust’s struggle to make a name for herself in New York’s cutthroat music scene—from sleazy producers and vengeful Swifties to heartbreak and self-sabotage. It’s raw. It’s messy. And most of it actually happened.

Camille Trust Bio:
Camille is a triple threat performer—she acts, she sings, she slays. After earning her BA in Theater at Florida State University, Camille moved to NYC, where she launched her solo musical career. She has since released an EP and full length soul-pop album, racking up more than 2 million streams on Spotify, and garnering praise from the likes of Billboard, Nylon, and Time Magazine. Camille is a proud member of the Resistance Revival Chorus and is a founding member of Brooklyn’s all-female jam session called “Femme Jam.”
She also sings back-up for various artists including Shawn Mendes (SNL & VMAs), Jim James (Spotify Sessions), Fleet Foxes (Colbert), Chelsea Cutler (Colbert), and Nathaniel Rateliff (SNL). She currently holds a residency at Bruno Mars’ Pinky Ring at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. @camilletrust 
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‘BURN OUT’ (DWF:LA 2024 short) Overworked and ambitious are a dangerous combination

DWF-LA logoBURN OUT

https://danceswithfilms.com/burn-out/

Burn out POSTER

A clearly overworked and unwaveringly determined Virgil will do anything to show his boss the very personal presentation he has toiled over. Nothing can stop him from completing this passion project, not even a fire. Filmmaker Russell Goldman‘s DWF: LA 2024 short BURN OUT dives headfirst into the competitive nature of hardcore office culture under the guise of “teamwork.”

Burn Out STILL Virgil_LookingInFire_EverettOsborneThe hilarious and terrifying overall premise might seem unrealistic to some, but I can tell you it is entirely plausible. When my husband was a first-year associate coming out of grad school at Yale, he passed out on the way to work three days in a row from lack of sleep. After being revived by police officers and refusing medical attention, he arrived five minutes late only to be told, “That’s a YP, a You Problem.” Empathy be damned when there is a dollar or deal to be made.

Burn Out STILL Virgil_SprayExtinguisher_EverettOsborneThe film looks spectacular. Sharp cinematography from Ali Armino ups the production ante. Lead performances are fantastic. Everett Osborne and Tommie Earl Jenkins command your attention with dazzling charm and ferocity, making us beg for an expanded world. Without needing to, BURN OUT takes a hard left turn into total WTF near the end of its 12-minute runtime, but the metaphor completely stands. It was unhinged before that choice. Executive Producer Jamie Lee Curtis knows talent when she sees it. Goldman’s voice is fresh, intense, and welcomed.

Written & Directed by: Russell Goldman

Starring: Everett Osborne and Tommie Earl Jenkins

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Short

RT: 12 min | Not Yet Rated

Language: English | U.S.

An assistant will do anything to get his presentation in front of his boss… even set himself on fire. Starring Everett Osborne (SWEETWATER) and Tommie Earl Jenkins (DEATH STRANDING). BURN OUT

ADDITIONAL SCREENINGS
 
2024 Chattanooga Film Festival – June 28th
 
2024 Wyoming International Film Festival – July 11th

 

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‘JUNE ZERO’ (2024) A beautiful and relevant dive into history

JUNE ZERO

JuneZero_OneSheet_Clean

Jake Paltrow brings audiences to a fascinating thread of history that might not be common knowledge. Israel 1961, days after the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a young boy discovers the quiet plot involved in disposing of the body of one of the most notorious organizers of the Holocaust. 

JUNE ZERO_Still 6_Credit_ Courtesy of Cohen Media GroupPerformances from the entire cast are magnificent. Yoav Levi is Captain Hayim Amzalag, the prisonguard tasked with orchestrating the clandestine plans for the most valuable prisoner of war. Hayim’s anxiety manifests in a toothache, a burst blood vessel, and digestive issues as he dodges the press. Levi brings a dazzling physicality to the role. You will not soon forget him.

JUNE ZERO_Still 2_Credit_ Courtesy of Cohen Media GroupNoam Ovadia is David, a precocious, tenacious, Lybyan-Israeli who identifies as an Arab and Sephardic Jew learning perspective on the Nazis. Procuring an after-school job, David uses his quick-witted brain to solve problems. Ovadia is a star. It is an award-worthy turn. He outshines every other cast member.

JUNE ZERO_Still 7_Credit_ Courtesy of Cohen Media GroupTom Shoval and Paltrow wrote the screenplay. In the third storyline, we explore Micah (Tom Hagi), a Polish Holocaust survivor, now a tour guide of the former ghettos. This narrative kicks off a profound discussion of mixing grief and capitalism. It is a history lesson and fearless think piece amongst the ongoing fight in Gaza and global Jewish trauma.

One of the most poignant decisions is that Paltrow never shows Eichmann’s face. This subtle gesture speaks volumes. JUNE ZERO allows audiences to weigh varying perspectives without ramming anything down their throat. It is emotionally wrought and undeniably powerful.

OPENING IN NYC JUNE 28TH AND LA JULY 5th
ADDITIONAL SCREENINGS CAN BE FOUND HERE.
 

Entirely shot on 16mm film, JUNE ZERO follows events set in motion from the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, a principal architect of the Holocaust. June Zero is told from the unique perspectives of three distinct figures: Eichmann’s Jewish Moroccan prison guard, an Israeli police investigator who also happens to be a Holocaust survivor and a precocious and clever 13-year-old Libyan immigrant. As the film delves into the complexities of the human experience during this pivotal trial, it serves as a poignant reminder that history’s impact can be both diverse and unifying.

 

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‘TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX’ (DWF:LA 2024) Brilliantly funny sci-fi with a side of self-love. No, really.

DWF-LA logoTIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX

https://danceswithfilms.com/tim-travers-the-time-travelers-paradox-2/

TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX posterStimson Snead takes us on a comedy of trial and error in DWF: LA sci-fi feature TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX. This film is a story of a mad genius’s guide to what if, get ready to have your mind blown.

The badass credits come in hot from the first frame. The production design is outstanding, and the camera work is sharp and gorgeously lit. Within minutes, you understand that seeing this film in cinematic form and on the largest screen will make your day.

Filmmaker Stimson Snead plays Helter, a mercenary soldier of sorts. His bumbling actions add another level of hilarity. He lights up the screen.

Felicia Day is Delilah, the firecrackers radio producer to Joel McHale‘s conspiracy theorist radio host. Day is exactly how I imagine her to be in real life as a fandom icon. She is magnificent.

TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX still 1Samuel Dunning is Tim Travers. He is funny, charming, and owns this role. Travers is stubborn as hell and honest to a fault. The character has authentic mad scientist vibes. The number of alternative death scenes and distinctly unique versions of the same character is Multiplicity on crack. Dunning eats it up.

The dialogue is whip-smart and relentlessly hilarious. If you’re going to make an autism joke, the approach is approved by this neuro-spicy matriarch. The editing is a smash. The music is perfect. Bravo to the SFX team for their top-notch work.

The screenplay goes to places you will never see coming. Pun is very much intended. It takes digs at certain Multiverse cinema, religion, and sexuality and obliterates every boundary that ever existed with genius-level wit. In the end, TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX is a sci-fi comedy about self-love. No, seriously. Genre audiences are going to go nuts.

TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX

WRITER/DIR: Stimson Snead
PRODS: Rich Cowan, Ben Yennie, Felicia Day, Casey Cowan, Kylie Walcuk, Stimson Snead
CAST: 
Starring Samuel Dunning, Co-Starring Felicia Day, Special Appearance by Keith David, With Joel McHale and Danny Trejo

It is called the Time Travelers Paradox. In which a scientist creates a Time Machine and kills their younger self. So now a man who should not- can not- exist, somehow does. That is the Paradox, and Paradoxes are impossible. And the man who has created it, is Tim Travers. A reclusive mad scientist whose stated mission in life is to stand alone with God at the end of time, and tell the bastard off. TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX

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‘PRINCETON’S IN THE MIX’ (DWF: LA 2024 short) A cut above the rest in college admissions

DWF-LA logo

PRINCETON’S IN THE MIX

https://danceswithfilms.com/princetons-in-the-mix/

PRINCETON'S IN THE MIX

In PRINCETON’S IN THE MIX, the modern woes of college admissions season get uglier when elite parents find a new way to get a leg up in the competition.

Heather Burns, my favorite actress from Miss Congeniality (and the eternal April 25th meme), gives Beth a lethal edge. She nails this role. Charlie Besso plays son Teddy with the hesitant vulnerability needed to counter Burns’s maniacal intensity.

DP Jason Jossefer delivers beautifully sharp and immersive camera work. Filmmaker Jonathan Di Maio takes a viciously tongue-in-cheek look at the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses, calling out the admissions scandal in Hollywood. The foreshadowing in the first scene is chef’s kiss. Di Maio’s voice is loud and clear, and I look forward to whatever comes next.

 

WRITER/DIR: Jonathan DiMaio
PRODS: Antonio Alonzo Ayala, Heather Brawley, Matt Stoner, David Zax (Co-Producer), Nagi Chami (Executive Producer)
CAST: Heather Burns, Charlie Besso, Syra McCarthy, Nate Duncan

When the wealthy mother of a high schooler discovers that her son can get extra time on the SAT if he gets injured, things spiral out of control.

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‘YOU ARE HERE’ (DWF:LA 2024 short) Universally great

DWF-LA logoYOU ARE HERE

https://danceswithfilms.com/YOU-ARE-HERE/

YOU-ARE-HERE

A short film about our minds going down the proverbial rabbit hole of unfathomable information, Michael Friberg‘s DWF: LA short, YOU ARE HERE, is pure delight.

When insurance underwriter Peter reads a newspaper article about the number of stars in the galaxy, he fixates on the enormity of space and life itself. Peter is every science enthusiast inside of us. Lehi Farlpapalangi is so watchable that he deserves a feature or series all his own. YOU ARE HERE feels like a live-action Pixar short. The film will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face, and if it doesn’t, check your pulse.

Find tickets here!!

 

WEST COAST Premiere | USA, 2024, 8 min.
FUSION SHORTS BLK 2 – TUE JUNE 25 @ 5PM

 

WRITER/DIR: Michael Friberg
PRODS: Vincent Mauro, James Roh
CAST: Lehi Falepapalangi, Bridget Elsabe Galanis, Annie Flowers, Cameron Sawyer

When insurance salesman Peter Kleebold reads an article about the size of the universe, it sends him into an existential tailspin that leads him on a journey to get out of this world.

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‘HOW I ROLL’ (DWF:LA 2024 short) Resilience at its finest

DWF-LA logo

HOW I ROLL
https://danceswithfilms.com/HOW-I-ROLL-2/

How I roll posterOne of the most harrowing stories I’ve seen featured in a short film comes from BriGuel‘s HOW I ROLL. This 13-minute emotional rollercoaster is an eye-opening tale of resilience. Robin Cohen lives with MS, navigating Miami, Manhattan, and a family history of shocking violence, loss, and great love. 

HOW-I-ROLLBriGuel beautifully edits Cohen’s innermost thoughts, one on top of the other in the most organic way, mimicking the chaos of our mind’s intrusive thoughts. With an abundance of home videos and footage of Robin’s daily life and love story, HOW I ROLL introduces the world to a woman who inspires us to love, laugh, and live life to its fullest despite what might feel like insurmountable odds. Eternal positivity and perseverance are the beauty of life.

Get Tickets Here!

How I Roll (Official Trailer) from BriGuel on Vimeo.

DIRS: Brianne Berkson & Miguel Gluckstern, BriGuel
PRODS: Robin Cohen, Brianne Berkson, Miguel Gluckstern, Stefany Dobken

Facing unthinkable hardships – murder, loss, battling MS for 25 years, Robin Cohen impressively defies the odds, finding light despite the darkness.

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‘WHAT A FEELING’ (Frameline 48) An age and stage charmer from filmmaker Kat Rohrer.

Frameline 48Frameline_Logotype_Web

WHAT A FEELING

What a Feeling (2024) - www.imdb.comIt is easy to see why Kat Rohrer‘s Frameline 48 feature WHAT A FEELING played to a sold-out crowd last night. This authentic love story is everything you want it to be.  Workplace shenanigans and complicated family dynamics genuinely ground the film. This naturally progressing script has it all.

what a feeling 3Fa is a wildly unpredictable woman who enjoys creating things with her hands and bouncing from woman to woman. Marie is a doctor whose husband demands a divorce on their 20th wedding anniversary. When the two run into each other, almost quite literally, they discover an unexpected spark between them.

what a feeling 2Caroline Peters delivers laughs and heart in the role of Marie Theres. Proschat Madani gives Fa a firecracker spirit. Both offer depth to roles that could easily remain surface-level clichés. Their chemistry is magic, and Rohrer thoughtfully crafts their characters’ journeys.

what a feeling 1The film leans into conversations of identity, both sexual and national, with Fa being Iranian. It tackles inherent bias and standing up for what’s right, no matter the issue. WHAT A FEELING dives into the nuance of relationships and the mistakes we make that either force us to grow or flee. It’s a lovely film.

https://youtu.be/-MRHS5I1umI

DIRECTOR
Kat Rohrer
YEAR
2024
COUNTRY
Austria
RUNNING TIME
110 mins
LANGUAGE
German, English, & Persian
SECTION
Narrative Features

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‘WHAT REMAINS’ (2024) Based on a true story and unresolved trauma

WHAT REMAINS

What Remains PosterUpon his upcoming release from a specialized mental hospital in Scandinavia, a man suddenly reveals his connection to a string of murders. His therapist and the police officer on the case go down the rabbit hole, putting all three of them in a precarious relationship.

Stellan Skarsgård plays Officer Soren Rank. He is always a solid actor. This role is another notch on his vast resume. Andrea Riseborough gives Dr. Anna Rudebeck a staunch determination. Yet again, she climbs into the skin of a self-sabotaging and flawed woman who would rather help others than confront her childhood trauma.

What Remains still 1Gustaf Skarsgård is Mads a deep sadness. His gentle nature is at odds with his confessions, although his true motivations feel evident from the beginning. Nevertheless, Skarsgård delivers an emotionally wrought performance.

The script comes from director Ran Huang and Megan Everett-Skarsgard, wife of Stellan and stepmother of Gustaf. WHAT REMAINS is Huang’s feature debut. The characters are so lush that I might suggest expanding this into a miniseries.

What-RemainsHaunting takes in the gloomy natural light of a rainstorm or afternoon in an unlit room, capturing the dark essence of the narrative. The true story behind the film is one of the most unusual in criminal history. In the 1990s, Sture Ragnar Bergwall (later known as Thomas Quicke ) confessed to 20 unsolved murders (convicted of 5). Years later, he rescinded his statements.

It is an intriguing commentary about mental health systems worldwide. The film takes place in Scandinavia, and Mads undergoes rehabilitation treatment. The stark difference between the US industrial prison complex is shocking. The human desire to heal inmates versus for-profit prisons is eye-opening. WHAT REMAINS speaks to the unrelenting consequences of unresolved trauma.

In Theaters & On Demand June 21st
 
** Locarno Film Festival **
** Warsaw International Film Festival **
** Beijing International Film Festival **
** Fantasy FilmFest **

Starring:
Gustaf Skarsgård (“Vikings”),
Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie)
and Stellan Skarsgård (Dune: Part Two)
 
Directed by: Ran Huang
 
Written by: Ran Huang and Megan Everett-Skarsgard 


LOGLINE
In a psychiatric hospital, an alleged serial killer, his therapist, and a police detective seek to solve a brutal cold case before their obsessive quest for the truth consumes them all.

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