REVIEW: ‘Friendship Bonds’ shorts reveal new perspectives at New Ohio Theatre’s New York City’s Indie Theatre Film Festival

The New Ohio Theatre presented its 7th annual NYC Indie Theatre Film Festival live and in person at New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street in NYC from February 16-19 and then virtually from February 20-26.  The New York City Indie Film Theatre Festival offered a variety of films from shorts to features on a wide range of topics and some of the film selections contain mature themes.   Click here for more information and to learn more about New Ohio Theatre.

Photo credit to New Ohio Theatre

The Sleepless Critic was knee deep in short films and tackled Dating Drama and Friendship Bonds shorts which focused on a variety of perspectives on relationships. Friendship Bonds explores the value and challenges of friendships in various circumstances.  Click here for the Dating Drama short film review. 

Shorts: Friendship Bonds ‘Andy and Kaliope’ Photo credit to New Ohio Theatre

Beautifully written and produced by Rachel Handler with stirring direction by Crystal Arnette and Catriona Rubenis-Stevens, Andy and Kaliope is a touching short film starring Jai Ram Srinivansan in a sweet portrayal as Andy, a foster child whose big imagination is in a war with his darkest fears.   Accompanied by Rachel Handler as warm and encouraging Jamie, Colin Buckingham as Cole, and an extraordinary gift, Andy must muster the courage to move forward.  It is a wonderful short film about the power of hope.

Shorts: Friendship Bonds Two Women on A Bridge Photo credit to New Ohio Theatre

Exceptionally directed, written, and edited by Tom Bean, Two Women on a Bridge is a thought provoking journey over the Williamsburg Bridge in May 2020 in a captivating display of black and white cinematography.  Starring Karen Maine and Suzanne Lenz to Michael Abiuso’s gentle score, Two Women on a Bridge delves into a fractured friendship and reflects on the overwhelming changes in the world while engaging and hypothetical popup endings instill light humor to some serious themes.

Shorts: Friendship Bonds ‘Eyeballs’ Photo credit to New Ohio Theatre

In a quirky but realistic zoom scenario, a group of students are brought together by a group school project in Eyeballs.  Written by Molly Powers Gallagher and starring as Nadine, Ola Pater as Cara, and Zack Palomo as Dev, the small zoom group convincingly conveys the nervousness and the hesitation to share ideas and connect.  Directed and edited by Robert Thaxton Stevenson, stay put for this cute comedy’s end credit scene.

Shorts: Friendship Bonds ‘Lindsay, Lindsey, Lyndsay’ Photo credit to New Ohio Theatre

Lindsay, Lindsey, Lyndsey is not an exaggeration, but a tale of three different Lindsays. Lindsay’s fabulous new house.  However, things are not quite as they seem.  Dan Kuan Peeples, Cameron Cronin, and Daphne Overbeck deal with jealously, unrequited love, and a renewed sense of belonging as they reminisce over old times.  Though some of the themes are a bit repetitive, this dramedy examines the complications of long term friendships and what keeps them going through it all.

Shorts: Friendship Bonds ‘The One They Wanted’ Photo credit to New Ohio Theatre

Directed by Catrina Rubenis-Stevens and written by Bryan Harlow, The One they Wanted is an absorbing and important short film about the challenges veterans face from within after they come home.  It is a beautiful and poignant look at a pair of brother and sister veterans who share in their internal battles as sister Gabi faces difficulty in daily activities.  Margo Serrano as Gabi embodies the veiled emptiness and depression over recent events while Writer Bryan Harlow also stars as Gabi’s nurturing brother Patrick as they attempt to find connection in their shared experiences.  It is a genuine and affective short film not to be missed.

Shorts: Friendship Bonds ‘Scene Study’ Photo credit New Ohio Theatre

Scene Study is a sly short film about mixed signals.  Written and directed with a few twists and turns by Trace Pope, Russell Sperberg as shy Cal and Joshua Ciccel as charismatic Ryan rehearse a scene study together when something unexpected happens.  Director Trace Pope does a remarkable job in this brief time frame to create a light, unpredictable drama that keeps the viewer guessing till the very end.

Remarkably directed by Bandar Albuliwi, Sakrə Fīs (Sacrifice) is a riveting Iranian story about Azaheh, impressively depicted by Tiffany Ariany and Johnny Ferdosi as playful and fascinating Aadan who find themselves in a suspenseful and life threatening situation during a football game.  Enhanced by Joe Aguirresarobe’s gripping cinematography and Nima Fakhrara’s affective  score, Ariany and Ferdosi’s natural and sweet chemistry and the dangers of daily life in present Iran is what makes this increasingly tense and unpredictable tale such an engrossing and heartrending journey.

Shorts: Friendship Bonds ‘The Bottom’ Photo credit New Ohio Theatre

Do the ends justify the means?  A man, at his most vulnerable, is being forced into a mysterious lake at gunpoint.  Hostility and tension reach its boiling point in this eerie confrontation between James Kautz as Jude and Alex Grubbs as John before the plot thickens.  With harrowing direction by Morgan O’Sullivan and James Kautz and fueled by Adam Bloch’s haunting sound effects, The Bottom is an dark, deeply psychological look at the affect of toxic relationships and may cause more than a chill.

Shorts: Friendship Bonds ‘We (Don’t) Know How to Live Photo credit New Ohio Theatre

On a lighter note, We (Don’t) Know How to Live is a comical and somewhat liberating look at life when reaching a milestone birthday.  Four friends unite for Claire’s 30th birthday party, but Claire receives some distressing news before she arrives which may ruin the whole thing.  Jayne McLendon as Betty, Hilary Wirachowsky as Claire, Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah as Darcy and Gordon Harper as Daniel all give off some Friends vibes as they reflect upon the direction of their lives.  Reflectively written by Jayne McLendon, Hilary Wirachowsky, and Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah, the festive and inviting setting keeps the mood light as the group tackles relatable and age appropriate musings.

The New Ohio Theatre presented its 7th annual NYC Indie Theatre Film Festival live and in person at New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street in NYC from February 16-19 and then virtually from February 20-26.  Click here for more information and to learn more about New Ohio Theatre.

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