No-mush quickie romances

Do you roll your eyes at true love’s kiss? Do Nicholas Sparks adaptations make you cringe? Refuse to watch The Titanic? Or refuse to admit that you have?

If you answered yes to any of the above…these short films are for you:

 APRICOT by Ben Briand.


What does it feel like to be in love? It feels like a dimly lit coffee shop. Shadows and sunspots. Magic tricks. Birthday parties. Tinsel. It makes you scribble notes from conversations so you don’t forget. It tastes like apricots. It turns you into an obsessive creeper.

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CASINO MOON by Gia Coppola

Love makes wild and reckless bandits of us all. Premiering at the Shanghai Film Festival in 2012, this short film captures the chaos of love and Las Vegas.

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“When you fall in love you kind of build your own little world together and lose touch of the other world,” says Robert Schwartzman, who plays the protagonist. Robert just so happens to be related to the director Gia Coppola, one of my favorite actors Jason Schwartzman, and most notably, the devilishly dashing Nicolas Cage

Back in the early 2000’s Robert played Anne Hathaway’s lover boy, Michael, in The Princess Diaries. Mia fantasized about sitting in his garage, crashing his band practice. In real life, Robert fronts the band Rooney. The dreamy background song in Casino Moon is actually from his solo album Double Capricorn. If you don’t have 14 minutes to spare, check out the 3 minute music video, which uses splices of the Coppola film.

If you can think of any other no-mush romances, post a suggestion on IV TV Girls’ Facebook wall. 

Stay tuned,



For the love of street haunting and cinema

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.53.18 PM“What is this film called Love?” is a poetic travelogue of filmmaker Mark Cousins’ three-day layover in Mexico City. But it’s so much more than that. As Cousins treks through the city streets, he carries out an imaginary conversation with his laminated 8.5″x11″ photo of Sergio Eisenstein, moving the documentary beyond the notion of travel to contemplate memory, solitude, landscape and ultimately the nature of happiness.

Who is Sergio Eisenstein and why does he warrant such a grand gesture? In short, he was a Soviet Russian filmmaker and theorist. He pioneered the montage, adding a level of complexity to the medium of film that revolved around the theory of visual metaphor– combining images and symbolic meanings to provoke a certain effect in viewers. He made films that are political and poetic. He loved Mexico City, and referred to it as a geography upon which his entire being was stretched across.

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The voice-over narration is rich with allusions to literature and poetry. This made the English Major in me feel like tap dancing. If you love reading, you will love this film. Your ears will perk up at references to Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf on the pleasures of street haunting, to Robert Frost and apple picking, to Joan Didion and her tear-jerking essay on leaving New York City, to Ralph Waldo Emerson and the myth of permanence.

What I found most appealing about this documentary was its exploration of the word “ecstasy”. Cousins turns his wandering into a quest by challenging himself to find 5 things that make him feel ecstatic. He finds hints of ecstasy in certain camera angles, in revolutions, in architecture that makes your eyes dazzle, in the brilliance of bodies. But most simply, there is ecstasy in movement.

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Before this documentary, Cousins made serious films including “The Story of Film: An Odyssey”, a 15 episode series (available on Netflix!) that is an extended love letter/history lesson about cinema.

This is not a serious documentary, it’s pretty silly. But it’s insightful. It shows you that films can make you see the world differently. It challenges you create and explore things you don’t know about. It celebrates change. One of the final lines asks “If you could turn into something else, what could it be”?

Watch this if you can handle metaphors.

What is This Film Called Love? – Trailer from BerwickFilmFest on Vimeo.

Stay tuned,


Ashland Can Get Film Festive Too

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All photos from the ashland independent film festival facebook page.

Indie movie magic filled the air of downtown Ashland last weekend as filmmakers and cinephiles celebrated the 14th Annual Ashland Independent Film Festival. I scored myself a filmmaker pass and lived in a five-day popcorn-filled indie binge fest, which is worlds away from my usual streaming binges sur la macbook. The festival screens both features and shorts, narratives and documentaries,  films for families and films “for mature audiences.” I was not able to catch every movie on my wishlist, but I was blown away by everything I did see. Here are two of my faves:

SLOW WEST: Everything a Western should be. It’s got a romantic quest, the unforgiving wilderness, lawlessness, intense shoot outs, and Michael Fassbender being sexy as hell as the John Wayne figure. Watching the opening scene, I instantly knew I had stumbled upon treasure, maybe even a new favorite. Like I am actually going to buy this one on DVD and make all my friends watch it. The screenwriting is rich with witty humor and healthy self-deprecation. The 16-year old protagonist is a romantic with naive ideals and profound lines that the rest of the film makes total fun of. Every opportunity for humor is seized, but things can get real heavy real fast and the tension is enough to make you forget how hard you were laughing a few moments ago. As a whole, the film has a smart balance of tenderness and thrill. Be prepared to feel some feelings, but not in a lame way… in a rogue, wild-wild-west kind of way.

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Photos from

Cartel Land: A documentary that parallels citizen vigilante groups on both sides of the Mexican-Arizona border fighting against drug cartels. This film premiered at Sundance this year and took home awards for best directing and best cinematography for US documentaries. We’re talking about real life drug cartels here, so there is real life violence and corruption. Watch if you want a chilling and twisted story where you can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys. Look for Cartel Land in theaters this July.

P.S. My super short film “As Apple Pie” played during the film festival as part of the Local’s Only screenings along with SOU professor Robert Arellano’s “Fill My Mirrors.” Watch them both right here: