November 2022 HollyShorts Monthly Screenings!

It’s nearing the end of the year, but with just over a month left in 2022, we’re pleased to still be able to deliver another slate of incredible films to add to the ever-growing list that has made up our 2022 selections. Over a dozen amazing films make up this month’s screenings, and as we count down the days until we bring in the new year, let’s not delay and get to this brilliant slate of work from some very talented people. As always, the screening can be seen both in-person, on November 30th at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, or on BitPix from November 30th to December 4th.

Hallelujah – Victor Gabriel’s brilliant film about two men who find themselves needing to take care of their peculiar nephew and his young sister has been on the minds of those in the industry for some time. Hallelujah (Stephen Laroy Thomas) is an odd young man, obsessed with quotes and figures, mostly about the struggles of black men. His uncles, two black men living in Compton, this is every day life, and when a family tragedy strikes, these men must decide if they’re ready to take on the role of caregivers, especially when their nephew is so different from them.

Mind Over Matter – John Lacy brings us an Easterseals Disability Challenge film, written by Stephen Brigewater and John Kloepfer that focuses on a disabled man with the power of telekinesis as he makes his way through the city, stopping crimes. It’s a delightful and entertaining film starring Luis Rivera that really shows the creativity from these film submissions.

Cabeceo – Brian James Crewe writes and directs this beautiful film that uses the art of dance to express what words are not enough for. Jennifer Berry stars as Sally, a woman out at a club or a friend’s bachelorette party and meets a man who catches her attention on the dance floor. As Sally attempts to catch his eye, Jack (Claudio Predieri) is seen with two women (Rachel Bartlett and Ella), which prompts Sally to imagine taking the chance for herself, bringing about a sensual and gorgeous dance sequence that explores Sally’s attempts to get closer to Jack, to the chagrin of the two women, and Sally’s understanding of her own worth in that moment. It’s incredible to watch, with each actor delivering excellent choreography and emotion in each step.

Spectrum League – Domonique Brown and Jason Weissbrod bring us a star-studded superhero film featuring the only and Spectrum League, a group of superheroes looking to save the world from an evildoer looking to take color from the world. An Easterseals Disability Challenge film, it takes the team-up superhero genre and really adds some life to it, with some unique and creative abilities from our titular heroes. Written and starring Brown, Caroline Corry, Spencer Harte, Shane McKaskle, Ksusha Miretski, Luke Rose, Lucas Salusky and Atticus Jackson, this is a fun and inspiring film that really does the genre justice.

Mixed Girl – Josiane Desir, along with writer Nikki Carter, bring the story of the life of Ashlynn (Livia Jarcem), a mixed race girl whose history is as complicated as it can be in a racially divided small town. We see her life from moment her parents meet (at a party, heavily under the influence) to her first forays into adulthood and everything in between. Raised by a father whose unaware of her existence in James (Jermaine Carter), a kind and honorable black man who, once finding out that he has a child, wants to do what’s best for her, and Leslie (Mikaela Seamans), a white woman whose life is complicated by addiction. Throughout Ashlynn’s life, she’s been accompanied by half-brother Shane (Bradley Foster), as they both live a life of struggle and strife under their mother’s poor care. It’s a tragic story of racial discrimination, abuse and eventually, at least for Ashlynn, some sort of stability. It also takes some racially motivated tropes and turns them on their heads in a way that is inspiring and hopeful.

Chimera – Andrew Lee Ryan brings us a powerful and painful film about a woman whose so deep into a VR video game and living in this world that when she has to step out of it, it becomes a much bigger problem. Terra Layne stars as Felicity Fury, a woman in a small town who spends most of her time in the alternate reality of Sunscape, completing tasks and living a life much better than her own. The concentrated dopamine that the game delivers is powerful, so much so that the cartridges delivering it gets banned, forcing Felicity to go to extreme lengths to get her fix. It’s a film that really hurts, as dopamine withdrawls can be a powerful and agonizing thing for those who’ve been getting their fixes in extreme ways. Layne is excellent in this, with the direction really lending to the narrative of the film, using bright, eye-catching colors in the world of Sunscape, and dark, muted tones in reality to juxtapose the two.

Twenty Minute Exotic Getaway – Hollis Sherman-Pepe’s short gives us a look into a world that doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched, given the events of recent history. The world is a scary and dangerous place, with air quality at dangerous levels, terror events, viruses and more plaguing the world, and more and more it’s the safer bet to move into the world of VR. Meals, travel and even sex can be augmented by technology, something Devon (Sherman-Pepe) understands very well. She uses it often, including at home with husband Lucas (Quincy Chad), and frequently books the titular 20 minute getaways, enough to where she is basically at elite status with the company that provides them. But after some of those getaways begin to get a bit strange, Devon begins to want to explore reality with her own eyes, despite the risks. This is a really interesting and introspective film about the connection between humanity and technology, how much that can replace real experience, and with the way the world is headed, how much of it will actually be necessary as a way to stay safe and survive.

Spark – Christina McInulty writes and stars in this film directed by Camille Hollet-French that shows McInuly as Roxanne, a young woman working at an assisted living facility who befriends an again scientist (Eugene Lipinksi), hard at work at making a device that can bridge dimensions operate. Once a project of his late wife’s, Harold (Lipinski) is going to do everything in his power to make it work. Once he confirms his ability to operate it, he disappears, with Roxanne being the last one who saw him, making her explanation for Harold’s disappearance a bit complicated. It’s an interesting and wonderful film that viewers should love, with a heartwarming message of keeping the connections to loved ones that we lose and finding help from those who care along the way.

My Left Arm – Short horror can be a challenging task, but this film has managed to do it with seeming ease, bringing a great twist and a very unique premise into play. Elizabeth Mae Alan plays Malorie, a young mom who, after suffering a stroke, has a medical condition where her left arm basically has a mind of its own, acting on its own accord. As she struggles with this, her daughter (Gianna Bilby) attempts to help, along with her best friend Amber (Adrienne Rose White). There is a fantastic twist near the end of the film as the syndrome continues to present more and more problems, with directors Melissa Vitello and Christopher Sheffield, along with writer Pete Schwartz giving us some great horror shifts.

A Chance – Jillie Simon and Karen Irwin star in this film about two women who meet in a park in order to hash some things out. Mia (Simon) and Caroline (Irwin) are former partners who definitely have some tension between them. As they talk, we get a chance to see some part of their former lives together where they were happy together, even under rough circumstances. Despite this, a pretty significant reveal about Mia’s life also gives us insight into what destroyed their relationship, with addiction and indulgence issues coming front and center. Despite that, the love between them is obvious, especially in a moment of crisis. Simon and Irwin are excellent in this, with Simon pulling triple duty as star, co-writer and co-director, along with Ange Arabatzis. This is a bit of a tough film to explore emotionally, as addition and impulsivity can have a lot of root causes and can do some heavy lifting in explaining bad behavior, but getting a glimpse into their story really adds a lot of depth into how things got to where they are in the film.

I’ll Never Be Alive Again – Anisha Savan brings a unique take on an old classic: the zombie genre. This film focuses on Sadia (played by Esheka Varshney), a recovered infected who is attempting to reintegrate into society and live with the wrongs she’s committed while infected after a medical miracle allows for the undead to mostly live once again. Despite this new lease on life, the memories of what happened hasn’t faded, and the consequences still affect her daily life. It’s an interesting way to look at this trope, allowing for viewers to see themselves in something unknowable, and allowing us to see trauma and the after effects of it in a new way.

Vacuum – Evan Shields helps lead this allegory for the city of Los Angeles in this short by Ace Norton, in which a man tries cocaine at a shallow L.A. party, and then proceeds to do all the cocaine, floating through the party snorting an endless line that goes over people, objects and trails throughout the entire event, allowing him to continually get this high without end. It’s a funny and satirical way to look at Los Angeles, which to so many is a void of emotion and empathy.

That will do it for us this month! Be sure to check out these amazing films, either in person if you can at the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles on November 30th, or from then until December 4th, only on BitPix!

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