June 2022 HollyShorts Monthly Screenings!

It’s nearly the end of another month, and with that comes another great set of films from some amazing creative minds. This month’s screening comes with over a dozen fantastic pieces of art, all of which will be screened live in Los Angeles on June 29th, or from that date until July 3rd, only on BitPix. It’s time to take a look at these incredible projects, so let’s get into the films!

Dr. West’s Fervor – Psychiatrist Anthony West has a lot going on with him. As he battles his own demons, he is forced to confront everything going on with him mentally and emotionally as he meets his new patient, Rose Angel. As he attempts to work with Rose and deal with his own issues, Dr. West goes on a personal journey towards mental stability, bringing forth the old adage that the advice you give should also be taken for yourself. This is a very interesting and tense film, as director Maria-Katre Osler tells an anxiety inducing story, helped along by the cast of Kenneth Mosley and Sonia Balcazar.

Broken Wing – Oliver Pearce and Cody Pearce combine to give us a thrilling short film about a hiker who helps a delivery drone that has been shot out of the sky with an arrow. Jeff Newman stars in this less than five minute short that doesn’t hold back on the action and intrigue. This film takes a wild turn at the end, leaving us with more questions than answers, but leaving the viewer delighted.

Oh Baby! – Director Brooke Trantor and co-writer Kate Morgan Chadwick (who also stars alongside T.J. Linnard) bring a surprisingly sweet story about a woman looking for a satisfying one-night stand before the arrival of her baby. What starts off as a normal date spurned from an app takes a turn when Jane reveals she’s pregnant, but also gives away her intentions to have a quick fling before her life changes forever. It’s a heartfelt and very fun film that has moments of joy and delightfully cringe-worthy interactions that is sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who gets a chance to see this.

Barbell Snatch – This short, animated piece by Matthew Sheehan is just a beautiful look at the art of the barbell snatch, a move done in weightlifting. From the gorgeous, chalk-like animation style to the use of different forms of the body to illustrate what happens during this maneuver, it’s well worth the around 90 second runtime.

CA – DENCE – Luca Malacrino stars in this Michael Mike Canon film that bring awareness to the high rate of suicide among veterans. There is a tension in this film as we watch a lone man make his way towards a tree in the middle of the desert, following him as he makes his journey. It’s interesting for a film like this to make audio so important, as the sounds of conflict, conversation and outside noise combine to continue to raise the stress of the film. Canon brought a unique way of filmmaking to this project, which really focused the attention on this one character and their plight.

Space Limbo – Writer, director and star Judy Norton delivers a bit of a bottle film, as she and a brilliant cast tell the story of a group of space travelers taking the long trek towards finding new life, and the things they do while they wait to pass the time. Small vignettes of each character jump back and forth, as they reveal parts of themselves and learn about one another during the arduous journey. It’s a fun film with a cast that certainly looks like they’ve enjoyed themselves while making it.

Geisting – Director Alex Bram also co-writes in this television pilot from Ryan Glasgow and Renee Pezzotta that focuses on the other side of hauntings. While we mostly see the damage done by poltergeists, this show wonders more about the spirts themselves, doing whatever they can to enjoy their afterlife. Starring Pezzotta, along with Joseph D. Reitman, Bonnie Aarons and a stellar cast, this is a weird and inventive take on the horror genre, allowing it to be both a little frightening and a little funny.

Saturday Night This short musical film blends art, dance, music and more into a gorgeous display of expression. Director Michael Perry gets so much out of his performers, Madeline Underwood and Reggie Valdez, both of whom deliver in every way. From start to finish, this film is deeply moving and wonderful to watch.

Instant Gratification – Johnny Rey Diaz (who stars as well as directs) and writer Aaron Arnold (who also appears alongside twin brother Austin) bring the strange but incredibly effective film that stars Diaz as YouTube personality Ray Doogle, whose channel is celebrating hitting 10,000 followers. With the love of his subscribers behind him, Doogle is suddenly presented with what he’s been waiting for, in the form of a role in the upcoming show created by former roommates and old friends. AS they offer him the opportunity, it’s Ray who has to decide if his commitment to his channel or the chance of a lifetime are the best way to reach his goals. This one hits pretty hard, as influencer culture and the need for instant gratification have permeated how life is lived now, and seeing the way it can exist is powerful.

Thank You, Come Again – Nirav Bhakta delivers one of the most troubling and painful films of the screening, delivering an intense and hard-hitting story that stars himself and Asit Vyas. Bhakta tells the tale of a young convenience store clerk, who deals with the fallout of his father’s death during a border crossing. Triggered by a hate crime written onto the windows of his store, Dharmesh has to deal with the memories of what happened while still trying to make it work in the country that took so much from him. It’s hard but rewarding, making it one of the most powerful films in this screening.

The 90 Day Plan Gabriela Garcia Medina brings the fun and off the wall film that sees a disabled teen attempt to convince her best friend to rob a bank with her in order to save her family from eviction. Starring Keyla Monterosso Mejia and Monica Iyer, this is a film that takes a turn and doesn’t stop, going from plan to plan, point to point, making a more and more convincing case that this is all a good idea. It’s exaggerated but a blast to watch.

Clean Cut – Dylan James Amick has a knack for horror, as his film is both tense and terrifying. Two friends, hidden in a room, decide whether or not it’s safe for them to exit a room and face down the monster in the mirror who also mirrors them. It moves slowly, building until the violent crescendo, really making good on the promise of a thrilling and scary piece. Nate Betancourt and Matthew Schott are excellent as they play both the villains and the victims in the same film, sometimes in consecutive moments.

Soul Survivor – Directed by Dylan Silver and written by Mark Rashid, this is very prescient film that hits home extremely hard. Kelly (Clarissa Thibeaux) is the only survivor of a mass shooting, newly released from the hospital and dealing with both the physical trauma of the incident and the mental wounds that will take even longer to heal. As she attempts to put the pieces of her life back together, her mother (Alison Martin) is just doing her best, trying to take are of her daughter while mostly trying to avoid the subject of the event, for both of their sakes. This is a powerful look at what the aftermath of those who are able to live through these terrifying and devastating experiences, and what those in their lives try to do just to help them get back a small piece of themselves.

Water – Brittney Rae writes, directs and stars in this very interesting and thought-provoking film that takes an alternate version of 1967 and and turns it into a statement about individualism and social circles in as from the age of 10, children are put into social groups based on a mutual interest. For Lucy, who joined the Pool Club, this means she is trapped in a cult-like group that divides much more than it brings others together. The rest of the story is a wonderful allegory for those who take on the American Dream, the government, and all that stand in the way of expression. Rae, along with Frantzy Moreau, David Jura, Daryl Meyer and so many others deliver incredible performances on this film that is sure to get people thinking.

Pushing Mercury – Bill Bradley, endurance athlete and overall madman brings us the story of one of the most impressive feats in endurance sports: the Solo Self-Contained Badwater 146, an endurance event so grueling that at the time of filming only people had completed it successfully. The Badwater crossing is a massive salt flat in the Badwater Basin, located in Death Valley, California, where temperatures can get into the 120’s pretty regularly. This 146 mile jounry takes competitors from the Basin, which is the lowest elevation point in the Western Hemisphere to the highest elevation point in the continental United States at California’s Mount Whitney. All of this is done without any assistance, save for the cart the competitors haul with them containing supplies. It’s a grueling, brutal and nearly impossible challenge, and one that Bradley embraces with gusto, speaking passionately about this event before, during and after. This is a fascinating look into this type of sport, and Bradley is one of the most interesting people within this community.

The Last Touch – Melissa Mars is a triple threat in this film, writing, directing and starring alongside James Kacey in a film that seems to really reflect how many feel about the future of love in the age of technology. With actual physical contact posing a danger, one couple attempts to keep their relationship afloat through other forms of intimacy, communicating through their devices, even while sharing the same bed. Both actors are excellent playing off of one another while never really even making eye contact, bringing chemistry to their pairing even with that challenge.

Climbing Into Fear – Bill Bradley and Cobi Krumholz return, this time alongside writer/director Nick Brumfield as Bradley attempts another incredible endurance event, this time as Bradley makes his fifth attempt to climb Alaska’s Mt. Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America. This is an incredibly difficult challenge, but one that Bradley does not shy away from, with the film crew capturing moments from the journey, as well as some backstory from Bradley himself. It captured his earlier attempts and his preparations for this journey, giving Bradley another epic documentary chronicling his adventures in extreme endurance challenges.

Lynch Francesca Castelbuono directs this film written by Nisrine Mansour and Mo Mesrati that tells the story of a counter terrorism unit that goes undercover as an attempt to stop a suspected terrorist from causing violence on New Year’s Eve. Tia Bannon, Fionn Walton and Helena Cullinan star in this interesting look at how counter-terrorism is executed and how these kinds of plots unfold.

That’s it for this month! I hope everyone enjoyed taking a look at these wonderful films, and that you take a look at them for yourself, either in person in Los Angeles, or for those who aren’t able to be there, on BitPix from June 29th to July 3rd!

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