By Laura Thatcher
I’m super new to this film festival ordeal. The only ways I’ve experienced movies are in regular theaters, on a small screen with a few friends, or as a topic of discussion in a classroom. KARMA CALLING was the kind of screening that really makes the festival setting win my heart – the audience was so enthusiastic during the movie, cheering the hardest during the opening and closing credits. And then the actor who played Peter stood up in front of me and Lauren for the Q&A to join all the other people who were part of the film at the front of the room – okay, considering I had no idea that most of the people I just saw on the screen were actually in the theater sitting very close to us, I was kind of starstruck.
Without prior background knowledge of the film’s details,KARMA CALLING stands on its own, but hearing the stories behind the cameras from the filmmaker and her family themselves was what really sold me. To be real though, now I really want a copy of “Hapa means weed in Japanese”… is it possible? I need to know! As a half-Japanese girl with a deep love for hip-hop, this will take the film to a whole new level for me.
SPEED OF LIFE was next, and stood as a fine contrast to KARMA CALLING, to say the least. A thematically drenched film, SPEED OF LIFE got all kinds of thoughts swimming in my college student, post-midterm head. The constant presence of surveillance and the mix of video styles, makes you unusually aware of the camera itself. It’s almost uncomfortable, but in a truly inspiring way, if that makes any sense.
The smallest moments are what make this film resonate so deeply. When Sam and his Grandma are on the bus after her visit to the doctor, the camera lingers on the heavy expressions of two strangers sitting across from the two. Though a large part of what I loved about SPEED OF LLIFE is the powerful, honest dialogue, this silent scene hit close to home. Sometimes I’m pretty sure I spend more time during the day in modes of transport than not, whether on a bus, train, or stuck in traffic (curse you, San Francisco rush hour). Ed Radke beautifully makes this simple scene terribly familiar and poignant.
We are speaking with Ed Radke today and Sarba Das tomorrow – so many questions to ask. This girl is excited.