Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ashland Independent Film Festival (For DMF and Interactivity)

This week we had an assignment to blog about the guest speaker from the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Unfortunately, I had class during the time that the guest speaker came to SOU, so I rented an Independent Film from the Ashland Festival from DJ's video. There were only two choices of films so I went with one called Joyful Partaking. It is essentially about a neighborhood of people, all of whom are unhappy with their lives for one reason or another. Examples include a middle-aged man who is suicidal due to the untimely death of his son, a middle-aged woman who is incredibly lonely and has only a dog for company, a young married couple (wife subjects to infidelity because her husband is uncomfortable with having sex when his mother just moved in with them), the mother-in-law of the unfaithful wife, who has recently suffered a stroke and has difficulty walking and talking, and a family that includes an out-of-work father, a frustrated mother, a daughter who chooses to work instead of go to school, and a son who is brilliant as well as bullied. The film jumps from one situation to another, and tells the stories of the individual breakthroughs that are achieved by each person. There is a spider who travels throughout the neighborhood and is seen in many different scenes. The spider keeps attempting to build a web and is has his web repeatedly broken. The spider, which is symbolic of the attempts that each character makes to better his or her own life is reminiscent of the turtle in the famous Grapes of Wrath. It ties the characters of the neighborhood together. While the ideas for this film were not necessarily completely original, I was still impressed. Some of the acting was quite effective, and the message was a positive one. The low budget did not hold back the creativity and power of some of the scenes. It reminds us that, even in times of despair, the kindness of one person can turn someone's life around. I believe that this film was presented in the festival a few years ago, but it encourages me to attend the next Film Festival in Ashland if I have the opportunity.

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