We’ve made it to the halfway point of this year’s festival, but with so many films left to show off, we’re not even close to done just yet. Today’s schedule has some incredible projects, and so let’s not waste any time. Period Pieces, Documentaries, Music Videos and more are all on display here today, and the following films are some of the highlights of these screenings. There are still so many more excellent films, which will all be available after their airing through BitPix. Any future days can also be attended in person if you’re in Los Angeles, with tickets available directly through HollyShorts. Be sure to stick around for an interview with one of the filmmakers as well!
Temple Beauty – This documentary brings to life the struggles of life in Southern California for Amber Osbourne and her family as she uses the prize money from her win on Snoop Dogg’s game show to open a black-owned beauty salon in her hometown of Compton. From the problems of running a small business to the trials of the pandemic, the protests and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement to finding a way to serve her community in times of trouble, Osbourne and her family did and continue to do an incredible job being pillars of their community, adding a mini-mart to their business as it neighbors her supply shop and she and her family continue to provide what the community needs, up to and including giving to support to the causes that need the attention and the love to those who may not have gotten it. Director Tiffany Frances shows the beacon of light that this family became in Compton when they were needed most, and this is just an uplifting, inspiring and beautiful look at people coming together for their neighbors and trying to make life just a bit more livable.
My Exes (Snake City) – Artist Snake City teams with director Mandy Celine for a music video for their song “My Exes”. The song is wonderful, with the pop band creating a very interesting and catchy sound with the song. Celine does an excellent job directing the video, as this rolling movement from room to room with the members of the band playing out past relationships and their ends. Overall, it was a fantastic piece that felt cohesive and unique.
Clergymen – From director Ted Clarke and co-writer Williams Gillies comes the tense, heart-stopping drama about two members of a mob who are being punished for obeying the orders of their boss. Their punishment? Being tied back to back to a chair in an abandoned church while a fuse slowly burns its way towards them, ready to seal their fate. Kieran O’Brien and Adam Young are intense and fantastic in this film, bringing about all the anger, fear and anxiety that this kind of situation should rightfully put you in.
The Seine’s Tears – This French film has a large amount of filmmakers, but bring an incredible product as this animated piece focuses on the protests by Algerians in France against a mandatory curfew. These events, which took place in 1961, are recorded by Kamel, a member of the Algerian community in France, who takes note of everything that happens. Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard, Nicolas Mayeur, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Lisa Vicente, Philippine Singer, and Alice Letailleur have created an awe-inspiring film, with an animation style that is so wholly unique. Animated to almost look like puppetry, there is a style unlike anything else out there that really takes this film to another level.
Climbing Into Fear – The adventures of Epic Bill Bradley continue, as director Nick Brumfield takes on the two week journey across Alaska’s Mt. Denali. His fifth attempt to conquer the mountain, Bradley faces personal struggles, dangerous weather and the increasing altitude in his inspiring attempt to once again show that no goal is too lofty, even if it takes a few tries to get to the top.
And now for our featured interview, this time with Tiffany Frances, director of Temple Beauty. Thanks to Tiffany for participating!
Q: Tell us more about your film. How did it come to be?
In late 2020, Steve Gandolfi from Cut + Run started an initiative called RE:Store that provided advertising support from Snapchat to Los Angeles Black-owned businesses that were affected by the pandemic. This Is Arc placed a reachout for voluntary directors. I was interested in the project, and got matched up with Amber Osbourne of Temple Beauty Supply. When I finally met her at her store, I was blown away by her story. I was so moved and inspired by her that I asked producer Matthew Keene Smith to join my project, and he saw something really special in her story too. And thank god for him, because he was the encouragement and push we needed to make this happen. Together with Valiant Pictures, we decided that beyond creating the Snapchat ad, we’d make a larger documentary – there were so many parts to her story that needed a deeper dive. So that’s what we did.
Q: What was your budget?
There wasn’t a budget and it was in the middle of the pandemic, so we scraped together what resources we could find. This was a labor of love with pretty much all voluntary work and resources, donated funds, and a tiny bit from my bank account. I am so completely grateful to Valiant Pictures for believing in this story and for providing production support. Altogether around $3,500 was spent – the majority on COVID protocols, some of it on film process & scan. Amber’s family also helped out and her husband Adrian made an amazing lunch for our crew. I used credit from LensRentals that I won from a previous Cinegear raffle, our DP Arlene Muller donated 16mm short ends from her commercial jobs, and Cut + Run, Apache, and Jogger contributed generous post services. LA-OC gave us permission to use clips from their Black Lives Matter archival footage. Buggsy Capri composed music. Editor Luc Giddens was the star of the show, patiently working on this project that seemingly went on forever while Matt and I kept on filming bits and pieces even after we finished the Snapchat ad.
Q: What was the biggest takeaway from making the film?
Let life surprise you and take you along for a journey… and be open to its twists and turns. We didn’t expect to embark on making a documentary in between all our commercial and film projects which I’m sure complicated everyone’s lives, but it was absolutely worth it to shine a light on what small businesses mean for our community. I hope Amber’s story encourages more people to shop local, and to understand what it means to support small businesses and care about who you are directly supporting with your dollars.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in making this film?
It was a challenge on several levels mostly due to our lack of funding, and we also wanted to implement COVID protocols to be safe during this time, even if it was costly. It was really tough in a lot of ways, but Amber’s story was so compelling that we were determined to keep pushing forth.
Q: What is next for you?
I’m a participant in the Warner Bros. Television Directors’ Workshop this year, and will be directing my first TV episode for Kung Fu on CW in the fall. I’m also writing a couple of features and a couple TV shows that I am very excited about.
That will do it for today, thank you for joining us! Be sure to check back in tomorrow for more coverage of the 18th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival!