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USA, 2012, 78 Minute Running Time
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, Reel Social ClubLanguage: English, Japanese English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Mike Ott
Producer: Athina Rachel Tsangari, Mike Ott, Molly HansenEditor: David NordstromScreenwriter: Mike Ott, Atsuko OkatsukaCinematographer: Mike GioulakisPrincipal Cast: Atsuko Okatsuka, Cory Zacharia, John Brotherton, Stephen Tobolowsky, Roberto Sanchez
In a mélange of feature film and video diary that draws on the real lives of its actors, filmmaker Mike Ott (Littlerock, SDFF 33) tells a story with a strong sense of dislocation about young adults in small-town California.
Anna and Cory are unlikely friends who seem to have been thrown together and stuck. Cory is an innocent, essentially orphaned, and oblivious to his own fecklessness, possibly because of his significant ingestion of cannabis. He is bullied by his older brother, who’s at least succeeded in the art of survival. Cory lives for the dream being cast in a reality show. Anna plays the part of compassionate observer, but she has stresses in her own life. She’s lived in the U.S. since she was a child but has yet to pass her citizenship test. Her very strict uncle and aunt badger her about work and life. The only thing she really cares about is her grandmother back in Japan, whose health is dicey. Phone calls help Anna connect with her, but they aren’t enough. To get money to fly to the one person she really loves, Anna resorts to prostitution, combing truck-stop parking lots for johns. Cory persuades her to come along on a trip to see the father he’s never met, partly as a buffer against his brother. While it’s not going to cure the aimlessness of their lives or reverse the letdowns they’ve endured, it brings a flickering sense of hope and a new awareness to their days.
In 2011, Ott (Kid Icarus, Analog Days) won the “Someone to Watch” Independent Spirit Award. He teaches film directing at the University of Southern California.
- VAL MOSES
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