- Alina Vasilenko
Have you ever wondered what independent productions are like in the film capital of the world? L.A.’s cultural cinema scene stretches from the heart of the city into the depths of the valley, giving rise to an eclectic selection of fine films that represent the Angelino spirit. The annual L.A. valley film festival kicked off last year on December 10th and lasted for four days. The festival showcased some of the best talent that the valley has to offer. We check out some of the best movies that the valley Los Angelenos have produced, and look at how they were displayed at the LA Valley Film Festival.
The Green Girl
This documentary, produced by Geoffrey Cowper, will thrill Star Trek fans and fans of Susan Oliver (she played the green alien in the original Star Trek series). The documentary shows the contributions of Oliver to the film industry and her contributions of shattering glass ceilings when it comes to directing. This trailblazing actress influenced film culture in California for decades, as numerous Star Trek-like films and shows have been created which present empowered female characters. This documentary pays tribute to Oliver and sheds light on the fact that she has largely been forgotten by the mainstream film industry despite her contributions, glamour, starring roles, and achievements. Viewers get a change to take a step or two back in time and discover the roots of Hollywood films.
Odd Brodsky a must-see, humorous narrative about a women who quits her job and decides to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. The main character, Audrey, soon discovers that she’s not so great at acting as she first thought, but pushes forth despite obstacles that stand in the way. Ultimately, Audrey’s drive and determination allow her to achieve her goals. Viewers will relate and empathize with the main character as they recount their own life journey. Audrey’s fears, insecurities, and sheer determination represent the human experience that most people can relate to. Her unorthodox character and quaint fumbles make for a compelling story that grabs attention and leaves viewers laughing along the way.
Ripped! is a groovy, out-of-this-world narrative production about a 60’s British popular sensation that has accidentally landed on a planet entirely populated by women. These British musicians become prisoners of Queen Fallopia after Princess Noxema falls in love with Norman, the lead singer. Norman’s Normans, the British pop sensation, must play great tunes to win over the girls and eventually find a way to get back to Earth. Ripped! will sweep viewers away with its musical pieces and comical plot. This zany production is a play on the age old theory that women are from Venus and men are from Mars.
Voluntario is short Spanish film that depicts a couple that comes up with an outlandish solution to their business woes. The short film begins in a seemingly ordinary household in which the mother is cooking while a news report is playing in the background. As the news reporter mentions a new start for humanity on the planet of Uramio, the family is about to get a new chance at life with one less family member that they will never see again. Film lovers and screenwriters will empathize with the son, an aspiring screenwriter who is criticized by his parents and oblivious to the fate his parents have bestowed upon him. The son is forced to volunteer for something he never signed up for. Some drama is brewed by the mother who claims that she doesn’t want her son to be a loser, when in reality she’s looking out for herself. This short film is thought provoking and ironic down to the last line. How far should you go to save everything you have?
This short Belgian film features a moving story about finding one’s time and purpose in life. One of the main characters, the schoolboy, daily passes by a man dressed as an angel who has a constant fixed gaze at the heavens. The schoolboy sometimes drops change for this mysterious ‘angel man’ but the ‘angel man’ never picks it up and stays stagnant on the street for what appears to be hours. This man has clearly dealt with pain and hardships in his life. One day the schoolboy decides to follow the ‘angel man’ and tells him that he needs to write a paper about him. At the end of the movie the ‘angel man’ finally awaits his time to join the heavens while sacrificing his life in an accident for the life of another.