Cleveland International Film Festival 2022 short film review: ‘CANDIDATO 34’ chronicles the world’s most extraordinary run for public office.

CANDIDATO 34

Bryan Russell is the first person in the world with Down syndrome to ever run for public office. CANDIDATO 34 is a documentary short chronicling Bryan’s extraordinary story in the days before the 2020 congressional election in Peru, as he attempts to convince a reluctant public that he is capable of being a congressman, and an important voice for change. Candidato 34 will make its World Premiere in the FilmSlam-Spanish Language Cinema Shorts Program starting March 31st at the 2022 Cleveland International Film Festival.


As the first person in the world with Down Syndrome to run for public office, Bryan Russell represents so many marginalized groups everywhere. Bryan’s team, including his parents, pour their hearts into his campaign, supporting his dreams and ideas. Let me clarify something immediately; his parents are present as cheerleaders and coordinators. Bryan is an accomplished young man. He is charming, eloquent, raw, and relentlessly determined. These characteristics become abundantly clear in his ability to campaign like any other candidate. As someone who has worked on political campaigns in the US, Bryan does it with more honesty and savvy than many career politicians. He has an understanding and perspective of often ignored individuals. Win or lose, Bryan Russell is a passionate catalyst for change in Peru and throughout the world.

As a Mother of a neurodivergent son, Bryan is a hero. My most prevalent anxiety as a parent is the future. Bryan possesses the confidence and self-awareness I wish for my child. In 38 minutes, Candidato 34 filled me with hope and possibility. This little film speaks volumes about representation, kindness, and perseverance. Bryan Russell is an inspiration to my family. I hope this film spreads far and wide. There are a lot of people that would benefit from the experience. 

 

CANDIDATO 34 – TRAILER from Ryan Marley on Vimeo.


About the Filmmakers:

Ryan Marley (Director) is a filmmaker and television director best known for his work in documentary, factual and kids TV. He has been nominated for 3 Canadian Screen Awards and has directed over 25 series and documentaries. He most recently directed all 4 seasons of the groundbreaking documentary series “Employable Me” which tells the stories of job seekers who prove that having a physical disability or neurological condition shouldn’t make them unemployable. The series won the Diversify TV Excellence Award at MIPCOM 2017 & 2020, a 2018, 2019 & 2020 Rockie Award, an NYTVF Award and was nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards. His documentary “Sitting Tall: The Patrick Anderson Story” examines the background and career of Patrick Anderson, arguably the greatest wheelchair basketball player of all time, as he prepares for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. It was featured at the 2021 Awareness Film Festival and The 2021 New York Shorts International Film Festival where it won Best Documentary. Ryan splits his time between Toronto and Los Angeles.

Katie Lafferty (Executive Producer/Producer) has been chasing character-driven stories since graduating from Carleton University with a Journalism degree in 2002. Since then, she has produced some of Canada’s biggest shows including sports documentary series “Tessa & Scott,” and the groundbreaking series “Employable Me,” which tells the stories of job seekers who prove that having a physical disability or neurological condition shouldn’t make them unemployable. The series won the Diversify TV Excellence Award at MIPCOM 2017 & 2020, a 2018, 2019 & 2020 Rockie Award, an NYTVF Award and was nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards. Her latest feature-length documentary Candidato 34 is being produced in association with Lionsgate’s unscripted division, Pilgrim Media Group.

About Hitch Films:

Hitch Films is a creative team with extensive experience telling compelling stories about people around the world. We are a passionate team of award-winning documentary filmmakers bringing to light the amazing stories and struggles of incredible people with disabilities, and from marginalized communities, who are fighting prejudice and perception to gain independence and respect.


Credits

Ryan Marley – Director

Katie Lafferty – Executive Producer/Producer

Craig Piligian – Producer

Gretchen Stockdale – Executive Producer

Paul Boynett – Executive Producer/Writer

George Wright – Executive Producer/Editor

Michelle Asgarali – Associate Producer


37 minutes, Canada, 2021

DCP Image: 1.85:1, 4K, Color, Sound: 5.1 mix


Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘The Gasoline Thieves’

THE GASOLINE THIEVES

Poverty and puberty are a dangerous mix for young Lalo. Feeling overwhelming monetary pressure from family and ultimately to impress a girl at school, our young lead dives head first into the deadly game of gas siphoning for cash. Among the chaos of gas price protests and violence, Lalo has no idea the kind of shady dealings surround what he’s signed up for. This is a coming of age story set against extreme poverty and soaked in cartel-like chaos and vengeance. The handheld camera work is sheer perfection that heightens the intensity of Lalito’s plight. You can feel the pit of your stomach wrenching as the story progresses. Edgar Nito‘s direction is phenomenal, performances (especially Eduardo Banda) outstanding, and the film is amplified by its great soundtrack. The Gasoline Thieves does not pull any punches. It’s a solid piece of filmmaking and a captivating story.

THE GASOLINE THIEVES

Living with his mother and working as a farmhand in his hometown, fourteen-year-old Lalo (Eduardo Banda) sees buying a smartphone for his high-school crush the only surefire way into her heart. When his mother is forced to use his savings in order to pay for medical bills, Lalo decides to approach the local huachicoleros for help, who quickly enlist his aid in their business of illegally siphoning gas in order to take advantage of the country’s shortage and re-sell on the black market. As Lalo naively becomes more involved with the huachicoleros’ work, an uneasy air of violence begins to overtake the world around him, while investigators narrow their search for those responsible.

FILM INFO

 

Review: ‘THE SIMILARS’ (LOS PARECIDOS) is one effed up Twilight Zone tribute.

the-similars-poster04The Twilight Zone is still one of my favorite shows in television history. Each episode has an unpredictable storyline and a twist ending. The new film THE SIMILARS (LOS PARECIDOS) might be using the beloved series as a blueprint for its overwhelmingly creepy premise. Director Isaac Ezban gives us a glorious gift is shock and awe in this homage to one of the greats. the-similars-irene-old-woman-bus-interior-still The film opens with a visual precision that is truly impressive. It is set in 1968, in a bus station, 5 hours outside of Mexico City. A massive rain storm has stranded an eclectic group of strangers. No buses are arriving at the station and vague messages are streaming from a radio connected to the speaker system. The singular phone is connecting sporadically and everyone is on edge. The mood gets more tense when the group begins experiencing odd symptoms, one by one. Why is this happening? Can it be stopped? the-similars-martin-stillFrom the lighting to the costumes and the superb writing, the story zooms into action from opening to end credits. Constantly making you guess and jaw drop, The Similars is one hell of a ride into the unbelievable. The cast is a director’s dream and their chemistry and delivery is both period appropriate and fantastic. There is not one single moment in its entire run that bored me or lost my attention. I was impressed at the level of weird and wanted desperately to know how it would all end. Writer/Director Isaac Ezban has given us a real gift with this film and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

XLrator Media will be releasing THE SIMILARS (“Los Parecidos”) on Cable VOD on Nov. 15, 2016 and on iTunes and Digital on Nov. 22, 2016.  It will also have one-night screenings in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

THE SIMILARS (“LOS PARECIDOS”) – XLrator Media
DIRECTED BY: Isaac Ezban
CAST: Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Fernando Becerril, Humberto Busto
SYNOPSIS: On the rainy night of October 2, 1968, eight people waiting in a remote bus station for a bus heading to Mexico City start experiencing a strange phenomenon. Threatened by paranoia and fear, the strangers show the best and worst of themselves as they try to unravel the mysterious condition that is invading each of them like a virus.
GENRE: Sci-Fi
DISTRIBUTOR: XLrator Media