In honor of their very first feature Forty Years From Yesterday debuting at the LA Film Festival this week I want to share this particular mini-doc portrait made by the filmmakers Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck. In distinct auteur meets D2F fashion, American Nobodies is an original web series in which they film and introduce us to “Average Americans Doing Extraordinary Things” then upload them online for free for everyone to see. In little over a minute they manage to capture and highlight the startling souls of individuals as the camera unyieldingly gazes directly into their eyes, and follows them in their element. We get to meet Don Antonio in this one, a weary, aging man who recounts his grueling 9 day trek across the US – Mexico border. Even though it must be decades since the terrifying ordeal, we can tell the experience will forever and firmly remain embedded in his memory. Meet Antonio and check out more extraordinary Americans here.
The boys from NoCal have a considerable body of work in multi-media short forms that defies and blurs through genres, demonstrating a love and anthropological eye in its dreamy realist cinema. It’s always awesome to see short filmmakers take their craft into the feature form, especially ones with such original voices and aesthetic. The world premiere of Forty Years from Yesterday is this Sunday at 7:30pm. Get tickets here.
Announcing a new weekly feature: Every Friday I’ll upload an eye-opening short film capturing the modern and authentic bi-literate American experience made by a talented multi-cultural American Filmmaker to Know.
To inaugurate the series I’m pleased to post the short film Laredo, Texas by Topaz Adizes, which screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. With such short sighted, stat-driven, divisive and one sided media-induced rhetoric swirling around immigration reform and undocumented labor presently, this film offers a compassionate, layered and intimate glimpse, humanizing the issue and demonstrating its psychological depth. At just about 11 minutes, the story quickly simmers and cuts into the heart of the compelling conflict between two points of view, which we get to see play out in a way that feels credible, because the circumstances that have led these two completely seemingly different people in such close proximity is a common instance of how life revolves. Substantial, economical and veracious, it’s hard to tell this is a ‘scripted narrative’ and not a straight up documentary – a unique quality Topaz crafts in his films which tend to delve into the interconnection of national and cultural identity and how it confronts perception and ideology, all within a framework of transnationalism and globalism. His work has screened at numerous international festivals, and his Americana Project, shot around the world explores what it means to be American and is available for educational purposes. He is currently working on a couple new feature films. I highly recommend you get to know his meaningful, sociological and humanistic docudrama storytelling. Check out his work on his website.