We at CongestedCat are big supporters of Independent Film and try to draw attention to what up-and-comers are working on right now, especially when their work can be seen in theaters. We've decided to add a series to our blog where we review independent features two Fridays out of every month, one currently in theaters and one currently accessible on Netflix. The reviews will be written by team member Ryan Kramer. Check out the first one below and look out for the next in two weeks.
#StrictlyIndie Film View:
"Kill Your Darlings"
At its start, I thought the film might be encumbered by the way the characters speak in literary tongues, but that feeling subsided as quickly as I was thrown into the lives of these colorful individuals.
The story is centered around Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), who leaves his complicated home life to study at Columbia University. He meets Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), who apparently thrives off “complicated” circumstances, and the two instantly hit it off.
Coming from someone who isn't particularly fond of heavy handed period pieces, this film makes sure not the delve into that territory. It simply focuses the majority of its attention on the coming of age story of Allen. It’s about love, individuality and loss of innocence. It’s also just as much about obsession as the film’s tagline implies. Every character is utterly enthralled by Lucien Carr. It’s fascinating to see who will get caught in his web of manipulation as this incredible cast rebels against Columbia’s old-school principles of rhythm and meter, and attempts to reinvent poetry and literature all together.
That leads me to the minor (or maybe not so minor to some) flaws of the film. John Korokidas’ original cut of the film stood at a somewhat lengthy two hours and twenty minutes; and by the time the studio cut it down it lost about forty minutes of that runtime. I’m sure it lost some of its character development in that almost hour. This is mostly shown through Allen’s mother, who doesn't get as much screen time as it seemed she should have had. She pops up rather abruptly, in a way that seemed forced, to help Allen with a tough decision right before the film's resolution.
In spite of its shortcomings, Kill Your Darlings was one of my favorite films of 2013, with great performances all around and a poignant directorial debut for John Krokidas. It has limited release in theaters now. Check your local listings for a chance to watch the film on a big screen.
Last September, I began working as an instructor for an innovative film workshop that uses film production as a way to help veterans struggling with PTSD called I Was There film workshops. I wrote about my first experience in a blog post last Fall. It was the 2nd workshop they had done since beginning in 2011.
Earlier this year, I had to miss out on 2 workshops due to shooting Summit. But when they started back up again this summer, I jumped right back in. I have now done a total of 6 workshops, more than any other instructor. I didn't anticipate loving it as much as I do. It's been such a rewarding experience, getting to do what I love, make films, while helping people and introducing them to the medium that has so inspired me in life.
I'm mainly writing this post to share a news story that was done by Lee Woodruff for CBS This Morning at the last workshop back in October. The piece aired this past Monday, Veteran's Day, and features interviews with 'I Was There' founder Ben Patton and two of the veterans that participated in that workshop, as well as b-roll of the workshop itself (including footage of me working with one of my groups). Watch it to find out more about the workshop and why it's so helpful and effective.
Not only have I done 6 workshops and helped create its new curriculum, I'm also incredibly proud to announce that at the next workshop in December I wont just be an instructor but also co-running it with CongestedCat friend & occasional collaborator Sean Mannion. We're hoping that this CBS story will bring more attention to the workshop and allow us to do even more of them next year. It has not just been a wonderful thing for me to be a part of on an emotional & mental level (it keeps my brainstorming & technical skills sharp), it has also been incredibly beneficial financially in terms of helping me get out of my post-Summit & "Kelsey" debt. I truly hope that it can get to the level where it replaces all my other freelance work and my two focuses will be our CongestedCat projects and being part of the workshop. I can see it being applicable to various groups of people outside of the Military that are struggling with PTSD as well, and I'm really proud that I was part of this workshop from the beginning and will play a role in broadening its reach.
I just wanted to share that with you all. Thanks for reading/watching. Feel free to comment & share. Also, be sure to check back soon because we've got new updates coming about Summit, "Kelsey", IndieWorks, a new short that Ryan's shooting soon and a new short that I'm working on next year!
Horrors, Thrillers, Dark Tones, & Gore!
We couldn't pass up the opportunity this October to have a Halloween themed IndieWorks event, so we celebrated the season last Wednesday with our filmmaker friends at PEOPLE's Lounge in the Lower East Side.
The awards go to...
At the end of the evening, we announced our winning filmmakers for both Audience Choice Award & Silver Whiskers Award. The Audience Choice Award is voted upon by all those in attendance, and the Silver Whiskers is judged by the CongestedCat Team based on a system rating 8 categories of Story, Dialogue/Writing, Direction, Acting, Cinematography, Sound, Editing, and Production Value. It goes on to screen at our end of the year Best of Fest event.
For the "Halloween '13" lineup, our winning filmmaker was:
Audience Choice Award: "Birthday Boys" Directed by Rafael De Leon.
We hope everyone who came out had a great time at the event & hope to see familiar faces at next month's! To submit your film, visit www.congestedcat.com/indieworks
Kelsey bumps into Joanne at the bar & tells her about her struggles to write an online dating profile.