REVIEW: ‘Chabe,’ ‘Conversations with Female Clowns,’ ‘Dictionary’ and ‘Por Mi Hija’ explore various aspects of love and connection at The New York City Indie Film Festival
The New York City Indie Film Festival concluded on June 19 after approximately a week of screenings at the Producers Club in New York City. It featured a variety of films from shorts to narratives to documentaries curated with common themes. At this festival, Sleepless Critic had the opportunity to see screenings on music, small businesses, love and connection, and much more which will be explored in future articles. Co-founded by Executive Director Dennis Cieri and Director Bonnie Rush, this renowned festival has screened thousands of films since it first launched in 2010. Click here for more information.
Curated by Lucie Guillemot, this narrative film collection explored different aspects of love and connection. Directed by John Tsiavis, Chabe is a vivid short film about Isabel Gomez, a woman who assists in a cataracts surgery project for a Mexican indigenous tribe. Rich in unique color and told through Isabel’s eyes, the film evokes Isabel’s sheer joy in helping others and the complex process of this tribe’s journey from dark to light. Chabe made me long to see more on it all.
Directed insightfully by Clare Redden and Joseph Pulitzer, Conversations with Female Clowns is a surprising look at connection through laughter from a unique perspective. Reflected through a group of female clowns, it explores not only the incentive for a woman to become a clown, but the societal and personal norms as a female that seem to relate all too well to this profession. It sheds light on the idea of clowning from a new angle with an opportunity to see these female clowns in action. From a hospital clown to a member of the Big Apple Circus, Conversations with Female Clowns is an eye opening and humbling experience about what it truly means to be funny.
Dictionary explores the ODU concept of the seven stages of love in vignettes. A tribute to the Indian culture, Aishwarya Sonar has a great deal to convey in the screening’s brief time frame and writer, director, and producer Elena Viklova aptly evokes the fleeting and sacred power of love in each frame. From the warm bloom of attraction to the stillness of grief, Sonar elevates each stage in dynamic subtleties.
Por Mi Hija (For My Daughter) is an immersive Spanish language film that addresses familial love and the dream of what is thought to be a better life. Written, directed, and produced by Fernando Rodriguez who dedicated this film to his wife and kids and based on two true stories, Por Mi Hija is a stirring account that examines what creates a fulfilling life in an unconventional way.
Christopher Bustos as Leo and Daniela Vidaurre as Emma are young newlyweds living a happy life surrounded by family in Mexico when they receive life changing news that prompts Leo to seek success in California. Bustos and Vidaurre depict a strong and relatable couple with endearing chemistry as they face moving and realistic trials and tribulations while Luciana Elisa Quiñonez shines as imaginative and sweet Luciana.
The real strength in this film lies in its unconventional timeline and how it manages expectations and reality. The various parallel scenes between Leo and Emma including having a meal or riding in a car are gripping as it is weaved into the film’s progression and there is a dreamlike quality looking into the past as well as a hazy, ethereal ambiance of the future. This particular style enhances the film’s poignant message while achieving a balance between the lighthearted and tense moments. It also embodies what the characters cannot quite see at the time until the film’s stunning revelation.
Chabe, Conversations with Female Clowns, Dictionary and Por Mi Hija were all part of Narrative 14 at the New York City Indie Film Festival which continued through June 19. Click here for more information on this annual festival and its winners.