#WSIFF 2014: Selection Reviews, pt 3.



The White Sands International Film Festival continues, and, let me tell you, if you are not attending some of the showings you are truly missing out! With a full schedule “packed with some of the most engaging, amazing and intriguing features, short films and documentaries anywhere” here is the third installment of reviews to help attendees plan the most advantageous viewing schedule. For full playlist schedule and trailers for the film submissions, click HERE.

As a reminder: All films for the White Sands International Film Festival here are rated on a simple 5-star rating.

Each star is given based on the following:

  1. Original story/Presentation
  2. Acting/Authentic Characters
  3. Cinematography/Audio/Special Effects
  4. Look & Feel/Storytelling
  5. Entertainment/Unpredictability

Disclaimer– reviews are solely and independently my own opinion and do not reflect the opinions of the WSIFF board, judges, participants and viewers (or anyone else for that matter). Click >>>HERE<<< for all the additional reviews/coverage of this year’s festival.


WSIFF Reviews: Part 3


Category: Short. (IMDB page)butterflyfluttering

This film is a beautiful journey of a young woman and her effort to find love and life and feel them both. The cinematography used is striking and the progression of the story may remind some of the shooting style of directors Terrence Malick and Lars von Trier. Butterfly Fluttering uses the narration of the main character along with black and white (and then color) cinematography to create a minimalistic viewing experience that focuses on the characters story. It is a smart choice in the way the story is told. Carried by “The Girl” played by Vera Sapozhnikova who says not a single word onscreen but enables audiences to empathize and relate through her actions, passion and expressions.

Perhaps a bit predictable once the story gets going in following a “modern girl” recount her tales of love in seeking it out, it is the beautiful journey and the way it is told that is most memorable. Her quest for love, feeling and life is, at the end, warming, which science tells us that it must be warm for a butterfly truly to fly.

My score:star3.5



Category: Short. (IMDB pageonearmed

“Best Director” Winner at The White Sands International Film Festival, One-Armed Man is a time-period tale with the following synopsis:

A wealthy cotton gin executive is confronted by a disgruntled former employee demanding the return of an arm lost in the gin’s machinery, in Oscar-winning writer Horton Foote’s chilling drama, One Armed Man. -IMDB.com

This “chilling drama” is expertly crafted and created. From a cast that fits the parts most impressively to a world created that transports the viewers directly into the time period to great camera work/cinematography to little character quips that are natural and believable, One-Armed Man invites you along for a simple story that quickly escalates to a suspenseful work that keeps viewers wanting.

So much works in this story that begins with one tone and ends with quite another. The characters -completely different each in their own way- and their interactions with one another keep the story moving through their consistency and conversation. The lighting and camera angles place viewers in the room allowing for attention to detail and sharing in the emotions. The stories present come together to build the characters and lead to the finale. The finale has such an unsettling conclusion that leave you both curious and moved. Tim Guinee (director) and his choice of cast, crew and cinematography makes this a top-notch tale that made me want this to be a much longer film just to enjoy it more. Well done.

(Interesting bit of trivia about this film. This it Tim Guinee’s directorial debut. He has acted in numerous films including Iron Man 2 and in television series such as Homeland. This film was also executively produced by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.)

My score:star5



Category: Short. (IMDB page)

Synopsis: A recurring peek into the world of thought-process schizophrenia, Aviva struggles to maintain control of her fragmented self in what is perhaps the most difficult week of her life. -IMDB

The beauty of the story may be lost on some viewers as it can confound as much as the disability it seeks to bring awareness to. The winter in this film serving possibly as a metaphor for the cold reception she gets from most everyone she is around. The coldness of loneliness, uncertainty and dependency is a harsh winter to be certain. While the acting may not always be convincing, and though the storyline may be a bit confusing, the issues caused by schizophrenia are covered and campaigned for through this unique look through the eyes of one who suffers with it every day.

My score:star2.5



Category: Short/Documentary. (IMDB page)box of sound

Feeling somewhat like an afterschool special on PBS, this short documentary focuses on two lovers of sound and music and their experiments and discoveries of unique sound. I imagine perhaps Hans Zimmer being much like this in his earlier years as the two audiophiles in this documentary experiment with different methods for music much like Zimmer (Zimmer ran razorblades across violin strings for a particular eerie sound in The Dark Knight). Being given a tour of the auditory genius and exploration of these two gentlemen as they develop means to create sounds both electronic and eclectic stimulates not only the ears but the brain and the eyes and is a unique look at an even more unique use of regular everyday devices to create sound. Perhaps not something everyone will like to watch, but you will listen…

A pleasing visual tribute of an auditory treat.

My score:star4



Category: Short. (IMDB page)kosmi

Synopsis-Henry gets an unexpected late night visit from his father, Ulysses; an archaeologist, who has some very troubling news for him and his family which may be life-altering for them all. -IMDB

A fun story but one that does little to present anything new or develop the characters or the film as a whole. While predictable, the story had promise from the beginning with its uncommon title, but its editing, acting and effects all hinder the story itself from taking center stage and make the potential scifi thriller more of an art house horror. The suspense may remind some of the once-popular kids’ show Goosebumps and, perhaps with a bit more editing of the audio, acting and effects, it could be featured as such, but the project, at its current state, does not reach the potential it has.

My score:star.5


The White Sands International Film Festival offers some fantastic viewing experiences this year. Stay tuned for even more reviews and spotlights. The festival continues through September 7th.

Remember: For my full coverage and listing of all films reviewed, movie spotlights, photos, interviews and more, be sure to click (and visit often) the tab at the top of the screen entitled “2014 White Sands International Film Festival Coverage” for quick links to every post about WSIFF (or click HERE). You can also visit WSIFF.COM and click the link referring you to the “Official Blogger for 2014 WSIFF.”

Thanks for reading! Happy watching.

Terrence Faulkner, a.k.a. “TheFocusedFilmographer”

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