"Desires of the Heart"
Shot on location in Savannah and India, this is director James Kicklighter’s first feature length narrative. The story follows Kris Sharma (Val Lauren) as he navigates his identity in family and in love. His encounter with Madeline (Alicia Minshew) challenges what he thought he knew about himself and, ultimately, destiny. The screenplay, which Kicklighter describes as having been 'rewritten every day,' seems like it was; I’d like to think the performances would have been better should the actors been provided a less pliable script. While the photography only ever aids very genuine emotion, the sound editing and film length leave me excited—generously stated—to partake in Kicklighter’s next, new and improved venture.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Director Reuben Atlas’s first film presents a story about eight jazz musician brothers who take Chicago, New York City, and the world by big brass storm. Raised by famed trumpeter and activist Phil Cohran and their mothers, the brothers struggle to self-produce and promote while establishing their music outside of their father’s well-known name. The energetic and heartfelt documentary follows them on the streets and their world tour; the history, personality, and music comprise a trip in itself. I predict I’ll pay my dusty trombone a visit by the month’s end and that I’ll have these hypnotic brothers to thank.
4 out of 5 stars.
An animation of Jayson Blair in "A Fragile Trust"
"A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at the New York Times"
This film tied with “Bittersweet” (see Christo’s review here) for my favorite screening at the festival. The documentary explores a career that turned the New York Times and the entire journalism industry on its head. Jayson Blair plagiarized tens of high-profile articles before he was caught; the ramifications of the case against the paper and him shook the entire staff. Director Samantha Grant achieves a compelling and balanced account of scandal and the fight for integrity in a business where trust is everything.
4.5 out of 5 stars.