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Winter Film Awards 2023: Documentary Day

Day Two at the 2023 Winter Film Awards was about documentaries and there were some good ones, sad ones and funny ones. Studio Ukraine is a 19 minute short film documenting a group of artists from Ukraine moved to Berlin around the time Russia invading their home country. The film looks at the artists as they cope with war and still expressing themselves artistically. There were scenes in the film that made the viewer sad as the group are wondering about their families yet need to be creative to keep themselves going. The film directed by Jack Wingate (First time screening for his film) who was able to get access to the group and provide great cinematography of how the ongoing situation is affecting them and captures their expressions very well. A great short documentary that condense enough emotions to have you hoping the situation is temporary.

Next documentary is Neither Here/Nor There(Ni Aqui/Ni Alla in Spanish) A Spanish-American film based in New York where the filmmaker Ley Comas and their mother have a conversation about gender identity. The film touches on how Ley's upbringing and parents(both are Christian pastors) affected their thoughts on transitioning. Along with how such thoughts are considered abomination and against the word of God. As the conversation continues the film takes us through New York City where both Ley and their mother live and work and how Ley's transition is creating a rift within the family. The film is spoken in Spanish with English subtitles. Another great documentary in the Saturday block. Next was Keeping Olivia which is probably the most gut wrenching and emotional documentary that I ever watched. The film is about a mother who lose her daughter to cancer and trying to cope with her death. Chronicling ten years from the time Olivia is born to her untimely passing. The film back track from the initial diagnosis to how her siblings try to uplift her with little dances and the camera documented everything. Having the camera was part of a healing process for the mom as she deals with so many emotions. Daphne Yeager Ostendorf, the director/mom gives us a great definition of how parents struggle constantly with a child's death. Another part is Olivia's Barbies about 50 of them and Daphne goes to different places where the family visited to place a Barbie to capture her spirit. Check out the interview with Daphne on our Anchor page.

Fé(Faith) is a music video from the Brazilian artist IZA. It had great imagery and the song was very good. That leads us to another impact documentary titled Black Mothers: Love and Resist. This is the best documentary of the block. Chronicling mothers of young black men who were murdered and assaulted by law enforcement in the United States. The film highlights Angela Williams and Wanda Johnson whose sons have been assaulted and victimized, in the case of Ms. Johnson her son was murdered. The documentary chronicles the fight that both mothers are taking to ensure that not only justice is served for their sons but for black men and women across the country. There are many moms in the film whose stories have captivated the nation and gives Angela the support she needs to continue fighting for her son, Ulysses. As the film bounces between states and storyline, you get a sense no matter what is provided the struggle for justice will be hard. This film struck a chord with the audience as footage of brutality is shown and a collective gasp could be heard. This film hands down is the best description of how America views black mothers and their children. Highly recommended for all.


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