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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Eva's Light (2013)

Director: Glen A Hines
Stars: Lela Alston, Melissa Kennedy, Jon Ray and Deb Blume
This film was a submission to one of the IFP Phoenix film challenges in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 submissions.
This film was an official selection at the Phoenix Film Festival in Phoenix in 2014. Here's an index to my reviews of 2014 films.
While Star Babies was so far ahead of the competition at the 2013 IFP Beat the Clock challenge that a win for Best Picture wasn't even in doubt, a few other shorts also made themselves known. Eva's Light picked up a trio of awards too, landing third place and winning out for the story by Glen A Hines, who also directed the film, and Deb Blume; and Jamie Rivera's cinematography. The latter is what stood out to me, as his camera is an ever roving creature that prefers subtlety to flash. The story is less of a script and more of a prose poem, endowed with surprising depth by the performances of two ladies, Lela Alston and Melissa Kennedy, who play the same character. Alston is our entry point as the older Eva, providing narration and the only dialogue as an old lady travelling back through her memories with the aid of scrapbooks and photo albums. We see more of Kennedy as the younger Eva, cleverly conveying a variety of emotions even without the benefit of words.

As befits the poetic approach, the story refuses to be nailed down. It's not about a plot, it's about the rush of life and the moments of magic that constitute memories. Eva quotes her father at the outset by saying that 'every moment of the adventure is the adventure,' and everything that follows is an improvisation on that theme that wraps itself up well. There's a tone shift halfway through that adds considerable depth to the concept too; I particularly like how that was accomplished not by the use of empty spaces in Eva's scrapbooks but by blank ones, emphasising that she knows they're there but has to struggle to remember what they were. I should also highlight Jon Ray, who was an associate producer on Star Babies. He contributed more here, being both good on screen as Eva's brother and great off it as the composer of the elegant score that starts before the film and lasts beyond it, but underpins it superbly throughout. I look forward to seeing more from Mystic Willow Films.

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