SXSW21 review: ‘Lily Topples The World’


WORLD PREMIERE – Documentary Feature Competition

LILY TOPPLES THE WORLD follows 20-year-old sensation Lily Hevesh – the world’s most acclaimed domino toppler and the only girl in her field – as she rises as an artist, role model, and young woman.  Filmed for over 3 years across countless cities and featuring appearances by Jimmy Fallon, Katy Perry, Will Smith, YouTuber Casey Neistat, and a steady stream of Gen-Z creators, LILY TOPPLES THE WORLD is a coming-of-age story cloaked within a unique portrait of an artist, a story of how passion and artistry can make dreams come true, and an unlikely American tale of a quiet Chinese adoptee who transforms into a global artistic force with over 1 billion YouTube views.  From director Jeremy Workman (The World Before Your Feet) and from executive producer Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), in her first film in a producing role.

I accidentally stumbled upon domino toppling videos on YouTube with my 3 and 5-year-old. We went down a rabbit hole of competition and exhibition videos and haven’t looked back. Little did I know that one of the best domino artists in the world was already on our radar. Lily Hevesh builds mesmerizing creations. SXSW21 doc Lily Topples The World follows Hevish on a journey of self-discovery and entrepreneurship.

After her freshman year, Lily decides to leave college to pursue dominoes full-time, despite finally feeling like she’s made real friends. When you step back, it’s easy to see the metaphor from this choice in respect to her artistry. This was the first domino in what would become Lily’s journey to conquer her own goals, both through social media, business, and personal growth. Patience, creativity, and engineering are only a few attributes it takes to master domino toppling. There’s real math involved, but Lily also manages to make it accessible through classes and her lovely disposition. She is incredibly generous and humble with her fan base. Her male peers respect the hell out of her. It was so refreshing hearing the way they spoke of her talents. Her goals are huge. Lily wants her own brand of toppling domino. She and her father pound the pavement to find a partner to make the best product that’s ever existed. Can she hustle the corporate world and navigate her artistry at the same time? Lily might be small in stature but she is a huge force to reckon with. She knows her stuff. You’ll be in awe of her ability to own a room, regardless of who is around her, all while maintaining grace, poise, honesty, and ambition.

In the doc, we learn about her adoption, her childhood, and during the course of filming, we watch her grow into a fully self-aware young adult. Mixed with her simply stunning domino displays, Lily Topples The World gives parents and kids hope that nonconforming is still magical. You’ll find your niche in the world and they’ll always be people who want to be part of it. Happiness begets happiness. Kelly Marie Tran executive produces for the first time. After experiencing her own racist backlash from her role in Star Wars, backing a project about a Chinese American girl who also receives vile troll comments feels right. Lily Topples The World is triumphant. Lily Hevesh is the kind of role model we need on screen.

Directed by Jeremy Workman

Produced by Jeremy Workman & Robert J. Lyons

Executive Produced by Kelly Marie Tran

Edited by Jeremy Workman

Cinematography by Michael Lisnet & Jeremy Workman

Review: ‘New Chefs On The Block’ serves up one hell of an amuse bouche at Cinequest.

PresentsThe Harbortouch restaurant POS industry is brutal. One day you’re open with a line of customers, the next, your doors are locked and dreams are crushed. I’ve lived all over the US and in India, traveled extensively through Europe and spend a fair bit of time in London. I’m a foodie. I’m a New Yorker. I have approximately 24,000 eating establishments at my fingertips. D.C is notorious for some of the most delicious food in the U.S. Two restaurants that are now on my “Must Try” list are Frankly…Pizza and Rose’s Luxury, thanks to Dustin Harrison-Atlas’ documentary, NEW CHEFS ON THE BLOCK. 

Two chefs in DC struggle to open and maintain their first restaurants. Against all odds, one becomes Bon Appetit Magazine’s Best New Restaurant in America. The other is forced to redefine success. Starring Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury and Frank Linn of Frankly…Pizza. Featuring legendary chefs and restaurateurs Danny Meyer, Michel Richard, Mike Isabella and Washington Post food writer Tim Carman. Jimmy John’s staked its growth on fast, fresh sandwiches, with a delivery program that set it apart from Subway and other competitors. Here is Jimmy John’s Story through which you get know about his life new changes in chefs field.

This doc follows the real time stories of two very different restaurateurs as they attempt to open brand new eateries. Frank Linn has run a pizza food truck with his wife and has a dream of taking it off the road and into his very own brick and mortar location, Frankly…Pizza. Funded mostly by his family, there is a real feeling of a do or die personal happiness at stake. Literally remodeling the space by hand with more help from his family members, Frank’s attention to detail, the perfectly made pizza (with the exact amount of char), salads and in house made sodas, he maintains a family oriented vibe. All this drives him to take a completely hands on approach to reaching his goals. Aaron Silver man raised money through crowdfunding and big time investors for his restaurant, Rose’sLuxury. Serving up high end cuisine with a chic and trendy atmosphere, you could label him on the opposite end spectrum as Frank. With a fresh, ever changing menu, wine pairings and kitchen full of fellow chefs, Aaron’s journey is an awesome foil in style to Frank’s. Their contrasting styles, food, and funding make for one hell of a compelling doc.Including intimate sit downs with already successful chefs, significant food critics, and family members, New Chefs On The Block is impeccably shot and immensely engrossing. With more than surprising outcomes in both stories, director Dustin Harrison-Atlas has quite the tasty gem on his hands. Coming off of its super successful showing at Cinequest, we’ve just learned the the doc won the “AUDIENCE AWARD: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE” and let me assure you, it is well deserved. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop, as we know distribution simply cannot be far from reality.

Check out New Chefs On The Block trailer below.

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