I went to camp as a kid. It was pretty typical; arts & crafts, team sports, theater, and camp songs. I also remember being integrated with a few kids who has Down syndrome. As a little kid, this was pretty foreign to me, but as I attended high school, some of these same kids were now in my art classes. My mother’s second major in college, I would come to find out, was special education. As time passed and I worked in more and more private pre-schools, I was directly exposed, now as an educator, to a challenging world I had mostly experienced as an outsider. But… nothing was ever akin to the extraordinary summers that must occur each year at Zeno Mountain Farm. Read More →
My mother always encouraged us to have music on in the kitchen. While she baked or did her lesson plans for her art classes, or made dinner. Chicago, Huey Lewis, and Disney soundtracks were blasting in our car rides back and forth to dance lessons, or girl scouts, or my brother’s karate lessons. My mom was a superhero. My mom is still a super hero. If I can be half the mother she is, I will consider myself a lucky woman. In the new film LIFE INSIDE OUT we are privy to the perfect example of how creative mothers reach their children in very different and very special ways. The talented acting/writing team, Maggie Baird and Lori Nasso, bring to life a story of so many mothers who have lost their own identity to raising their children and keeping their families intact. The story comes from Baird’s true life experience with son Finneas O’Connell. When Baird’s husband was forced to take a job that kept him away from the family, it took an emotional toll on then 12 year old Finneas. Once Maggie rediscovers her songwriting roots, Finneas follows suit. Much to everyone’s surprise, Finneas is a bit of a musical prodigy is his own right. Writing his own songs allowed him to creatively process his own angst and bond with Maggie on a new level. Read More →
I’m a big soccer fan and have always been. I played from the time I was four until I graduated high school and even considered playing in college. Despite its popularity in the world, I’ve seen very few decent films about the sport. Of course there’s Victory and Bend It Like Beckham was quite charming. The German film Das Wunder von Bern is lights out amazing and there are several documentaries including Once in a Lifetime that hit the right notes. However, none really capture the game in the same way as Paolo Zucca‘s The Referee (L’arbitro). While other soccer films, including some of those mentioned above, have captured the spirit of the game on a number of different levels, I’ve not seen one that has captured it on a more personal, local level than The Referee. Chock full of quirkiness, it is unlike any film I’ve seen in the last 10 or so years outside of the films of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Read More →
Few countries produce as consistently high quality of film as Iceland. In my estimation, that is. The quantity of films that it produces is low, well at least those that somehow cross the pond and make it onto American screens, usually at film festivals such as Heartland. There are four Icelandic films that I’ve seen in this manner – Nói Albínói, The Seagull’s Laughter, Of Horses and Men and finally Metalhead. All are unique in their own way, most of them are depressing (an aspect of Scandinavian film that I tend to enjoy) but still manage a way to get a laugh or two in just in case, and all have a laser-pointed direction on what makes their characters tick and tock and they do it so well. Ragnar Bragason‘s Metalhead is no exception.
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When the film opens, we see Jessica Anderson-Gwin, founder of Jagged, a contemporary pole dance company that’s the first of its kind, frustrated as she tries to find a venue that will allow her company to use its space for an upcoming performance. The frustration is palpable as so many of the people she talks to confuse what they do with stripping and refuse to host them. This is what Jessica is up against in Matt & Katie Celia‘s spectacular documentary Off the Floor. Read More →
Neil Sedaka famously sang in that once ubiquitous 60s song that breaking up is hard to do. When people are forced out of relationships, they can take it a number of ways, right? Some people move on without hesitation, others get terribly emotional and cry, while others attempt great romantic gestures meant to win back the heart of their love. And some, they just internalize the pain, retreat from friends and family, and do their best to avoid anything that can hurt them again in the same way. And that’s what happens in the wonderful comedy Ben’s at Home, co-written and directed by Mars Horodyski. Read More →
In it’s 23rd year, the Heartland Film Festival boasts many fantastic movies in their lineup. Stay tuned, Jeremy will be reviewing and interviewing! Read More →