What would we do without Independent Film screenings?
What would we do without Independent Film screenings? Frankly, I don't want to find out. Without them I would never have had the fortune to view "Dog Days", the first live action short (25 minutes long) by director Ellie Lee.
I saw "Dogs Days" last night in a screening that also included Ms. Lee's first animated short "Repetition Compulsion". I was incredibly moved by both.
"Dogs Days" is the story of an America not far removed from our own, but yet engaged in a horrible war with an unknown enemy. Communications with the outside world have been completely cut off and the people, subjected to food and water rationing, are only told what the government wants them to know.
The film focuses on one young girl (Sonya Genel) and how she and her family deal with the crisis around them. Her father (Will Lyman) is a very proud man who insists on supporting his family in any way he can. Each day he sets out hunting for food, knowing in advance that none will be found as one of consequences of the war has been death of all animals.
In the midst of all of this, a stranger dressed in a dog suit (Spencer Beglarian) shows up at the family's doorstep. He walks on all fours, he barks, he wimpers ... he is a dog in every sense of the word. Although the girl initially rejects the stranger's presence, seeing him as nothing more than a homeless guy pretending to be a dog, a strong bond soon develops between the two much to the apprehension of her father who fears for his daughter's safety.
Director/writer Ellie Lee, through the use of humor/fear/love/optimism and hopelessness explores the relationship between these three characters and paints a true-to-life portrait of just how similar mankind really is to the animals around us.
As I said at the start of this review, I don't know what I would do without Independent Film screenings. I was fortunate enough to see all of Ellie Lee's work to date and I only can hope that everyone else has the opportunity to do so as well.
So scour your local newspaper for Independent screenings and hope Ellie Lee's name appears among the offerings. If it does, you are will be in for a treat that you won't soon forget. In the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye out for other projects that this muti-talented artist might be involved in.
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