Odessa (Short Film Review)

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Odessa (2015) won Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film at the Gaspirilla International Film Awards.

Odessa (2015) won Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film at the Gasparilla International Film Awards.

This taut, gripping, short film horrified me more for its relevant, real-word authenticity than its well-written suspense. Odessa (2015) won Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film at the Gasparilla International Film Awards in Tampa. It’s only 13min long but packs a powerful punch. The submission came rather mysteriously, but I’m hopeful for everyone involved that a possible TV series comes from this.

Directed by: Sean Michael Turrell of Toronto Canada (www.SeanMichaelTurrell.com)

Written by: Doug Johnson of New York (www.DoJoWrite.com)

Starring: Ricky Wayne (The Walking Dead), Grace Santos (Dhoom 3),Will Haze (Banshee), and Anthony Escobar (Prison Break).

Trailer:

Odessa (2015) will also be showing at Cannes’ Short Film Corner this May 2015, along with two other of Grace Santos’ productions: A Tricky Treat (directed by Patricia Chica) and Election Night (directed by Tessa Blake).

The story is about a desperate young mother’s harrowing escape across the Texas border after the Texas Secession. There’s not a lot of dialogue, which adds to the film’s suspense and nail-biting claustrophobia. We watch her sneak onto an army base and steal gasoline. We don’t know why she’s doing this, but her leg is bleeding and her eyes are sharp with fear. By the time we see the Texas border fence, the situation becomes clear and we fear even more for the woman as she crawls on her hands and knees as Texas Republic border patrol officers shoot guns at her, killing her companion. In the final minutes of the film, the audience is shown what the perilous border crossing and gasoline was all for. I won’t spoil it for you, but my god, it’s heartbreaking.

Once the credits rolled by I found myself stewing in contemplative silence for several long minutes. I live in Texas. I realized it could happen here. That it does happen here. And I appreciated Odessa’s exquisite speculative slant on border town issues.

More information about the film/series:

Official Website:

http://www.odessa-theseries.com

Social Media:

http://www.Facebook.com/Odessa-TheSeries

I’ll definitely keep my eye out for these filmmakers. If and when the series is greenlit, I’ll be back again with another review. A+++

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Life is Strange

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Life is Strange from Dontnod. Episode 2 release expected at the end of March.

I love this video game. No, really. I played it twice. I love the beautiful graphics. I love the rich, well-written story. I love its addictive playability. Frankly, I just love everything about it. Life is Strange is an interactive, time bending game, where each of the player’s choices can be remade or changed to choose your own adventure. The protagonist, Max, is a shy 18yr old student at a photography school. She deals with Mean Girl style bullies, gun violence at her school, and complicated friendships all while trying to make sense of her time travel powers. Sounds like a cute game for kids, right? WRONG. This game is not for children! It gets surprisingly dark once the high school stuff is taken care of. Horror, suspense, violence, and drug use ups the rating to Mature.

Developer Dontnod knocked this game out of the park. And good news! There’s still time to catch up and play the first installment before the expected second release this month. Trailer below.

This video game is easy and fun to play with a charming soundtrack. If you’re a fan of story-rich games featuring real world issues, Life Is Strange is definitely for you.

A+