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I do come from somewhere, declares homeless teenager Ari, Right here, as a matter of fact. Here is the diverse urban landscape of West Philadelphia, where Ari lives virtually unsupervised with his never-seen mother. Like most adolescents, the good-looking and fundamentally decent Ari is struggling with identity issues, which manifest themselves via his graffiti artist alter ego Shelter Boy. While making hesitant advances towards Cassie, a schoolmate and aspiring actress with challenges of her own, Ari must also deal with the aggressive and equally conflicted Jackieneither of whom know Aris secrets. Shot in 32 days over a four-month span utilizing a trio of nonprofessionals discovered during a meticulous research and interview process,The Other America is the quietly authoritative fifth feature film from indie veteran Eugene Martin, whose 1998 teen drama Edge City (SFIFF 199 8) won the Hamptons Film Festival Grand Jury Prize. As a matter of fact, the native Philadelphian works the intersection of Fred Wiseman and Gus Van Sant with confidence and compassion, embracing the resiliency of the human spirit in a story that flows with the graceful force of visual jazz.

Eddie Cockrell

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