Greetings all. The White Sands International Film Festival ended in September. And, since then, I have not been able to post my final reviews/interviews and photos from the event. This delayed post is the final post of my coverage from the film festival that was a delight to cover and showcase a lot of great talent. Thank you to all who followed the event and to all who attended.
Below are my final reviews/interviews and thoughts on the festival which was a distinct honor to cover and report on. Thank you to the board and to all that participated. (And my apologies on the delay of this post.)
Category: Narrative Short. (IMDB page)
A short about two lonely people…passengers on a train and in life…and the chance “connection” established between them through their hearts and imagination of opportunities presented and passed. A man finds solace for his loneliness in the fantasy of his imagination sparked by the glimpse of a shared glance with a beautiful stranger seated on the other side of the subway car.
A lifetime shared by the lovers is experienced in a few short moments within the longing and curious imaginations of them both and these strangers on a train smile inwardly and outwardly at the creation of their imaginations. Entertaining thoughts of romance brought on by the unexpected attraction with a stranger, both he and she spend the transit time lost in the throes of love with stares of desire and hope. The film, almost completely dialogue free, beautifully portrays the emotions and underlying desires through wonderful cinematography accompanied by fantastic music and an artful and appreciated use of black & white.
The hovering question throughout their playful game of stares and dreams is whether or not either of them will take advantage of this shared opportunity and desire…or will they both go their separate ways and continue on their journey of loneliness in search for love? The underlying threat of opportunities lost and a return to loneliness rivals the threat of another opportunity for hurt and harm to the heart by allowing a subterranean love to surface and bloom. Do not miss this short with a different look that sets itself apart from so many other films in the category of “short.” With footage shot not only all over New York City but also in Paris, Haufrecht’s film is a delight not only for the heart, but also for the eyes and ears (great accordion accompaniment).
Taking a feeling felt by so many and adding to it the genuine curiousity of strangers on a train, Subterranean Love is a fantastic debut offering from director and filmmaker Robert Haufrecht and gives more to look forward to from this talented storyteller.
During the festival, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the director of the feature film Passionflower, Shelagh Carter. A wonderful woman with a great passion for sharing her love of storytelling through film. If you have not been able to read my review yet, please feel free to do so HERE. When speaking to Shelagh about her debut feature film I shared with her that one of the strengths of it is its authenticity. It may surprise viewers to learn that the film is “autobiographical in nature” and the castmembers used the source material and made it their own.
Throughout our interview, Shelagh shared her passion for this ensemble piece full of moments from her own childhood told through that perspective. Passionflower invites audience members to become an observer and grow up at a forced accelerated pace alongside the young girl whom the film focuses on. Hope comes across through this tale of coping with an unknown (at the time) mental illness.
An homage to her mother and understanding the universal human condition of struggling with something beyond one’s control, Shelagh shared with me that she herself is the happy ending of the story in sticking with her mother through it all.
One of the objectives of Passionflower is to yield a greater sense of compassion for people and for children especially as that is lacking in our world. I am interested in truth and in telling it. A happy ending is not always a truthful ending. I, in this case, AM the happy ending of this story. As a child it was a struggle not knowing what to do and as an adult and a filmmaker it is very liberating to tell the story. A lot of people have come up to me thanking me for having the courage to tell this story and touch audiences. It was not my intent to start out as a poster child or to be the recipient of such praise but if I can help even one person…one family…who may be going through what I did, then I’ve done my job knowing I did my best. The marvel of cinema is that not every film is for everyone, and that’s okay. My film is as much for me as it is for those that it may help along the way.
When I asked about some of the challenges in making her film, some of her inspirations and what she learned through it all, Shelagh told me:
Well, it took about fourteen days in all to film. Working in Manitoba the crew did so much for everybody and that truly is when everybody is a star. Their generosity and time and dedication made the challenges easier to face. The actors knew their lines inside and out and it all came together nicely.
When it comes to additional inspiration, The Godfather served as a part for how it is filmed. I love moving shots that with one sweep give so much information, and that is what I sought to do with Passionflower. Doing so allows audiences to focus more on the story being told and allows the time to come up with their own understanding, especially towards the ending.
I learned while doing this film not to be afraid of looking at things, taking responsibility and finding freedom in reality as opposed to fantasy. I also re-learned, if you will, that forgiveness is a really important quality to develop, learn, and come to. Not everybody can but it’s important to forgive yourself and others. It doesn’t mean that you have to live side by side, but you can move on. Which I have done.
A wonderful example and a wonderful person, Shelagh Carter is a filmmaker to keep an eye out for. With two other projects in the waiting, Carter is not done telling stories through film and I look forward to more. For my full review of Passionflower don’t forget to click the link above. Thank you, Shelagh, for sharing your heartfelt film and your personal experiences with us at the White Sands International Film Festival.
3. One of the best things about film festivals is the interaction with so many fellow lovers of the art of film and storytelling. If you ever get the chance to attend a festival, you should. And, if you’re not sure of any, you can always visit us in Las Cruces for the White Sands Int’l Film Festival. Below is a photo album of some of the events, stars, people and awards at this year’s festival. Some photos were taken by myself while others are courtesy Mike Jones and Las Cruces Sun News Advertising. You’ll find a few with stars such as Brian Tee, Mirelly Taylor, Brendan Fehr, Lou Diamond Phillips and more…along with the so many stars (the filmmakers that is) that graced our festival with their beautiful work. Enjoy.
4. Final thoughts:
Such a wonderful event and so many great films and filmmakers. Meeting so many talented enthusiasts, interviewing Lou Diamond Phillips, speaking with actors and directors and seeing an entire community convene for such a great love of film…the entire festival was such a tremendous event to be a part of. Since the festival, I have kept in contact with numerous participants and continue to follow the deserved success of their films. Films such as The Retrieval, From Zimbabwe to Santa Fe, Roswell FM, Submit the Documentary, Reality Show and so many more. Congratulations and I look forward to hearing more of your great success in years to come. Thank you for being a part of the White Sands International Film Festival. For all of my previous coverage and reviews from this amazing event, do not forget to check out the parent coverage page HERE.
Signing off from this year’s film festival in the city of Las Cruces,
-Terrence F. aka, TheFocusedFilmographer. See you next year!