Newtown (Snyder, 2016): USA

Viewed by Larry Gleeson at AFI DOCS 2016.

Newtown  is a moving new documentary detailing the trauma and tribulations of families and community members dealing with emotions and life after the massacre of 20 children ages 6-7 years old and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut by 20 year-old Adam Lanza. Lanza had murdered his own mother before driving to Sandy Hook and opening fire with an XM-15 military style M4 carbine rifle. Lanza fired 154 rounds with multiple magazine changes from high capacity 30-round magazines to 15-round magazines. The rounds reverberated over the school’s PA system.

Newtown was directed by Kim A. Snyder. Snyder is a New York based filmmaker known for I Remember Me, One Bridge To The Next and Welcome To Shelbyville. 

The film opens in a slow-motion sequence of a parade with children in cheerleading uniforms riding in convertibles in what could be any middle-lass suburb and provides a rather visceral idyllic sentiment of a happy childhood. In a rather seamless fashion, the film cuts to live footage from what appears to be a police

Posted at 1pm on 08/17/16 | 1 comment | Filed Under: Documentary, Films read on

Je Suis un Crayon (D’Arcy, 2015): Australia, Denmark, France

Reviewed by Phill Hunziker, as part of the Animated Shorts program at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016.

The Animated Shorts program of the SBIFF 2016 was stock full of great films; each film was enlightening and visually stunning in their own unique way. Je Suis un Crayon stood out amongst them thanks to its powerful message, wonderful hand-drawn animation and the immense amount of work and dedication put in by the filmmakers.

The film tells a universal story of freedom, guided by poetic spoken-word and abstract visuals that are layered with diverse meaning that people of all backgrounds can relate to and be inspired by. From heartbreak to inspiration to peaceful revolution, the journey is all-inclusive and awe-inspiring.

In a post-screening meeting with the director, Joe D’Arcy, he spoke of the inspiration he felt after witnessing Paris’ and the world’s response to the acts of terror that plagued the city. The marching in the streets and the overall celebration of freedom of expression and speech moved him. He felt compelled to make this film, regardless of time constraints due to other projects. The D’Arcy family of artists is a force to

Posted at 11am on 08/17/16 | no comments | Filed Under: Films, Santa Barbara Film Festival 2016 read on