Arizona International Film Festival 2018 Comedy and Drama

The Two Gay Geeks have a Guest Columnist this time writing a part two about the 2018 Arizona International Film Festival.

Stephanie emailed me and wanted to know if I was interested in her coverage of the festival and, of course, I said I was.

So, here is her coverage of Comedy and Drama films she screened at the festival in Tucson in 2018.

 

Arizona’s longest-running film festival is the Arizona International Film Festival (AZIFF) held in Tucson every April.

You could call this the sequel to my previous post about documentary films at last year’s Arizona International Film Fest. This time, I want to tell you about narrative films, because we saw some really good ones!
 



Ablution

United States, 2017, 15 min. In English and Arabic with English subtitles.

Category: Dramatic Short
Site: https://omaraldakheel.com/ablution
Director: Omar Al Dakheel

Synopsis:
Waleed (Omar Al Dakheel) helps his disabled Muslim father (Jay Abdo) perform his daily activities, including ablution, the ritual washing required before prayers. In turn, Khaled prays that his son would be blessed with a wife and children, not realizing that Waleed is already in love – and in the closet.

While Ablution felt complete as is, I’d love to see these characters in a feature-length film with room to explore their conflicts and relationships in greater depth.
 



Jungmin’s Adult Comics

South Korea, 2017, 24 min. In Korean with English subtitles.

Category: Comedy Short
Director: Kwak Seung-min (곽승민)

Synopsis:
Jungmin (Howon Kim / 김호원) is a young artist who draws for popular adult comic books, despite his own lack of sexual experience. When he starts to feel like a fraud and has trouble continuing his work, he confides in a co-worker (Sunglyoung Kim / 김성령) to see if she can help him – ahem – cure his writers’ block. Although this may be a problematic premise, his naïveté paired with her confident self-possession allow for the overall tone to remain lighthearted and comedic.
 



Levi

United States, 2018, 15 min. In English.

Category: Dramatic Short
Site: https://www.craigdeandevine.com/levi
Director: Craig Dean Devine

Synopsis:
This is an empathetic look at the day-to-day life of two people with opioid addictions. Title character Levi (Colleen Donovan) has hit hard times and is living out of her classic blue Camaro. Her new friend Farren (Keene McRae) also deals prescription drugs. Their friendship could help them turn their lives around – or send them both spiraling.

Filmed here in sunny Arizona, Levi was made as a jumping-off point for a longer story, which is currently in development. It will be interesting to see how questions the short brings up will be resolved.
 



Lost & Found

Republic of Ireland, 2017, 92 min. In English.

Category: Comedy Feature
Site: https://www.facebook.com/TheFilmLostandFound

Where to watch:
● In North America – Now showing in select theaters.
● In the U.K. and Republic of Ireland – Available to rent or buy on Sky Store.

Director: Liam O Mochain

Synopsis:
The central character of this anthology film (Liam O Mochain) works behind the counter of a train station’s lost-and-found office. As mundane as this might seem, it is entertaining throughout and goes some surprising places. Every object turned in has a story, and so does every person who walks in looking for something.

Lost & Found consists of 7 stories that could each stand alone but interlock brilliantly together to build a small world. It’s a film that rewards you for paying attention and that I’d love to watch again.
 


Mariah ¡que baile!

Canada, 2017, 13 min. In English.

Category: Comedy Short
Site: https://www.facebook.com/mariahquebaile

Watch: Will be available online in Fall 2019.

Directors: Anita Abbasi and Martin Baena

Synopsis:
Mariah (Irma Villafuerte) is a Latina dancer at a crossroads, feeling the tensions between her passion for ballet and her high school social life. With a foot in two worlds, she is in danger of losing her balance.

I loved Mariah’s character! The film was sweet, funny, and smartly displayed that teenage paradox of trying to be a nonconformist and also wanting desperately to fit in.
 



Sin Cielo

United States, 2017, 25 min. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Category: Dramatic Short
Site: https://www.sincielofilm.com
Director: J.S. Maarten

Synopsis:
Starting at a birthday party in Northern Mexico, we meet teenage Memo (David Gurrola), his extended family, his friends, his crush. The tensions and plot seem to be moving one way, but everything shifts when there’s an unexpected turn of events. Just like those moments in life that blindside you, there is no tidy resolution and things can’t go back to the way they were before.

It is an artfully-filmed tragedy made even more heartbreaking by the real stories it’s rooted in.
 



Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times
United Kingdom, 2017, 12 min. In English.

Category: Dramatic Short
Site: https://www.twostrangersfilm.co.uk
Where to watch: Vimeo (free)
Director: Marcus Markou

Synopsis:
Before seeing this film, everything you need to know about it is in the title. In just 12 minutes, it tells a whole beautiful story about the twists and turns of fate and the importance of kindness. It stuck with me in a powerful way.
 



Viva Diva

United States, 2017, 15 min. In English.

Category: Dramatic Short
Site: https://www.facebook.com/vivadivashortfilm
Director: Daniel Flores

Synopsis:
Rozen (Lilly Warhammer) and Diva (Mya Taylor) are trans women of color (yep, actually portrayed by trans women of color!) on a road trip through the open, arid landscape of the Navajo Nation en route to Mexico. They are going for gender affirmation surgeries and seeking the freedom of a new beginning. Their dreams are threatened by a family member who refuses to see Rozen for who she truly is. While at times a bit stilted, the story is woven together with passion.


The 2019 Arizona International Film Festival will be held April 10-29 at The Screening Room and other venues in Downtown Tucson, Arizona.

Twitter: @AZFilmFest


Disclosure: I received a complimentary media pass from AZIFF.
Twitter: @travelcraftjrnl


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