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A Unique Life Forged by War

By Alexandra Yam (Ebert Young Writers Participant)

Nien-Hsiu Lee’s documentary– HEBEI TAIPEI (河北台北)–took 15 years to film. It recounts the colorful life of her father, Li, as his childhood was torn apart by the Chinese Civil War. In the Q&A session after the film, the director revealed how her father requested her to make this film. At first she didn’t take the request seriously as she found her father’s story to be lies or exaggerations, but she became fully…

Director John Hill Brings Light to Big Island Indie Films

midori

by Cheyanne Flowers (Ebert Young Writers Participants) 

Midori in Hawaii is a fun comedy that follows Midori, a wedding photographer listening to the criticism of her sister and brother-in-law when they decide to leave Japan to visit her in Hawaii. The film itself is filled with beautiful shots of Big Island as well as great chemistry between the actors. I was fortunate to sit down and talk story with the director and creator of this film, John Hill.

“I always loved Japanese films…

Pictures Are Worth Thousands of Words in FRAME BY FRAME

By Tricia Khun (Ebert Young Writers Participant)

Farzana Wahidy

“Photographing women is a very sensitive thing. The culture is for women to hide themselves. I want to focus deeper on the lives of Afghan women, not just one side.”

At an indoor boxing rink, Farzana takes photos of young girls during boxing practice. The photo is surprising. None of the young girls are wearing a headscarf as they would if they were to walk down the streets of Afghanistan. It was a new side of Afghan…

A CANDLE LIGHTS THE HEART is Made to Move Audiences

candlelightsthedark

By Michael Andrews (Ebert Young Writers Participant)

It’s understandable that a film focusing on a memorial ceremony might slip into over-sentimentality, and A Candle Lights The Heart is no exception. With that said, this is a movie made for catharsis; a movie with only the most benevolent intentions to move hearts and induce tears.

The film is a labor of love for producer and director Shinji Kondo, a Shinnyo-en reverend who has been working on the film since at least 2007, editing it…

AFTER THE WAVE Shows People Standing Together After Tragedy

PIC: by BRIAN CASSEY

By Silje Solland (Ebert Young Writers Participant)
Over 250,000 people died in the devastating tsunami generated by an earthquake that hit Thailand on Christmas 2004. Somebody had to identify the bodies. AFTER THE WAVE is a collaborative documentary focusing on the stories of survivors, volunteers and the forensics that took upon the task to identify thousands of dead bodies, some left beyond recognition.

I was only 11 years old in 2004, yet I still remember the day when these surrea…

100 YEN LOVE Takes an Underdog from 0 to 100

By Cheyanne Flowers (Ebert Young Writer Participant)

100 YEN LOVE (Hyakuen no Koi) is the story of Ichiko Saito, a destitute woman in her early 30s who has no career, no husband or kids, and no obvious goals in life. Through an unexpected relationship between her and the man that she would see at the boxing club when walking to the convenience store, Ichiko decides to take up boxing as a way to cope with the pent up rage that seems to be the only part of her that we see in t…

Korean OFFICE Supplies Great Thrills

OFFICE

By Jordan Csigi (Ebert Young Writers Participant)

OFFICE is about a Korean salary man who is being hunted down by the police for supposedly murdering his family one night after a long day at work. This is Won-Chan Hong’s directorial debut, and for the first two acts I was on the edge of my seat. Korean filmmakers are infamous for their dark stories. For example: I Saw The Devil (2010), Mother (2009), The Chaser (2008, which Hong co-wrote), and finally Oldboy (2003). Office didn’t…

TRANSFATTY LIVES — Transcending Illness Through Filmmaking

By Silje Solland (Ebert Young Writers Participant)

An internet phenomenon, an artist, an unconventional young adult. This was Patrick Sean O’Brien. He made interesting videos and had fans all over the United States praising him for his various projects ranging from hilarious sketches to mixing music.

TRANSFATTY LIVES perfectly shows how a man can choose to live with the incurable disease of ALS. Directing his own story, he defies many of the compositions creating his own persona…

THE CAMBODIAN SPACE PROJECT — Music That Strikes a Chord in Your Heart

By Tricia Khun (Ebert Young Writers Participant)

Synopsis

Directed by Marc Eberle and produced by Richard Kuipers, THE CAMBODIAN SPACE PROJECT — NOT EASY ROCK’N’ROLL which was filmed over five years, is a beautiful documentary that follows the stories of Srey Thy, a Cambodian singer with high aspirations who comes from a poor background and Julien, a wandering Australian singer. The two, by coincidence, meet at a Phnom Penh karaoke bar and eventually form a rock band together…

MUSTANG Marks the Changes in Five Sisters

By Brennan Brown (Ebert Young Writers Participant)

Five sisters move around their second-story bedroom, two of them looking out the window. “They’ll kill us if they find out,” one says, poking her head outside to see beyond the dirt road. Her older sister looks out farther. “At least something will happen.” Lela (Günes Sensoy), the youngest of the five, wants to go to a soccer game. It’s the last game of the season which she tells her uncle Erol (Ayberk Pekcan) she’s been following in…

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