Andrew Buckner Announces AWordofDreams’ Seasonal Short Film Festival

By Andrew Buckner

Submissions are now being accepted for the first ever AWordofDreams’ Seasonal Short Film Festival!

Here is some basic information about the festival:

The festival will be held, as the title suggests, once every season (approximately every three months).

Entries will be accepted in any genre and in any style.

The submissions for this season, Summer 2020, will run from today (August 3rd) until 11:59 p.m. on August 17th.

Nominees for each category in this film festival will be announced via AWordofDreams.com on August 24th!

Winners will be announced in the same manner on August 31st!

The sixteen categories in the festival will be:

Best Overall Short Film

Best Animated Short Film

Best Dramatic Short Film

Best Comedic Short Film

Best Experimental Short Film

Best Horror/ Thriller Short Film

Best Documentary Short Film

Best Original Concept

Best Director

Best Actress

Best Actor

Best Screenplay

Best Cinematography

Best Debut Short Film

Best Local Short Film (Made in Ohio by Ohio filmmakers only)

Best Special Effects

Submissions are free. Please send submissions in terms of a Vimeo or YouTube link. Submissions must be completed this year (2020). For purposes of this festival, the project submitted must not run any longer than forty-five minutes. Please verify if this is your debut film and if you are a local (Ohio) filmmaker when submitting for consideration in these categories. Multiple submissions (more than one film per director) is welcome. Please inform AWordofDreams if you would like to put a screener link up at the site for your short film if it wins/ is nominated.

Winners and nominees will have AWordofDreams’ permission to use AWordofDreams’ logo on their film poster as a respective nominee/ winner. They can also do so in any trailer for the nominated/ winning film and state that they were a nominee/ winner in the festival.

Please send submissions to Andrew Buckner’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/andrew.buckner.3, via Messenger. 

Thanks for your time and good luck to all participants!

“Salvation” – (Short Film Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****.

Stylishly and strikingly directed by Gabrielle Rosson, “Salvation” (2020) brilliantly captures the look and feel of its summer of 1957 setting. Based an original script entitled “Fink” by actor Kris Salvi, the twelve-minute short film never wavers as a masterclass in elegant Martin Scorsese-like mood. Briskly paced and fluently entertaining, the project benefits from the natural on-screen chemistry, likability, and overall marvelous performances from leads Justin Thibault (as Santo) and Salvi (as Salvatore). Further benefitted by often cryptic dialogue, especially in the masterfully done diner sequences which take up the bulk of the effort, Thibault and Salvi command every bit they are in together.

The plot revolves around the consequences of a grim past affecting the present state of long-time friends Salvatore and Santo. Rosson’s rich screenplay takes what could have been a relatively straightforward narrative and gives it intimacy, depth, and complexity. The endeavor never loses its eye on the central figures. Best of all, it smartly develops Salvatore and Santo in a largely banter-driven manner. It is one which is, like the entirety of the attempt, both slick and engaging.

What also helps the work become so magnificent and robust is the colorful, eye-popping cinematography by Manx Magyar. Additionally, Ian Rashkin’s music is superb. It suits the smooth attitude of the exercise terrifically well. Michael Hansen and Rosson’s editing is pitch perfect. The same can be said of Kimmi Monteiro’s set decoration. The fleeting turns from Paul Kandarian as Ciro and Sarah Morse as Bambi are just as effective. The opening, especially the early black and white portion which perfectly reflects the decade appropriate flair of the narrative, and concluding credits are visually remarkable bookends to the undertaking. What is just as noteworthy is the climax of the venture. It is beautiful and violent in equal measure.

In turn, “Salvation” is classy, sophisticated, and brooding. It is a bullseye of talent in front of and behind the camera. Like Rosson’s previous brief picture, “Being Kris Salvi” (2020), it stands as one of the greatest narratives of its type of the year. Similarly, it continues to establish Rosson as a fantastic moviemaker with a firm grasp of the medium. “Salvation” is highly recommended viewing.

“Undercover Vice: Strapped for Danger Part 2” – (Movie Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****.

The world is in desperate need of laughter in our increasingly bleak times. Director Richard Griffin and screenwriter Duncan Pflaster provide just that with their latest collaborative effort: the rapid-fire hilarious Undercover Vice: Strapped for Danger Part 2 (2020). Griffin’s latest feature is on par with the massively entertaining original entry in this series, Strapped for Danger (2017), in every way. I cannot recall a single joke in the brisk 88-minute runtime of Undercover Vice that doesn’t land with either a smirk, a chuckle or a slew of knee-slapping guffaws. Even the quieter sight gags, such as one clever moment that utilizes a water cooler at twenty-six minutes into the work, are effective and well-done.

As has become a trademark with Griffin films, the piece has numerous jokes pointed at the private lives of Republicans. While this attribute is successful enough to add a personal political point-of-view to the piece, the endeavor does not linger too long on these bits. It simply adds its own perspective, as is the right of every artist, and moves forward with the tale. In an age where subtly seems to be a forgotten art, such actions are evermore admirable.

What is just as worthy of respect is that there is never a bitter flash in the entirety of the production. There are a few dramatic instances. But they play out in a manner which heightens the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, joyously campy quality of the affair. A subplot involving a central figure getting his grandfather out of a nursing home is where many of these touches are mechanized. Regardless, the unabashedly quirky tone of the picture is never broken.

The plot involves two police officers, Andy (Sean Brown) and Kevin (Chris Fisher), who pose as porn stars to stop a ring of corruption involving a local politician. Pflaster gives this story life with dialogue that is endlessly smart and witty. Furthermore, there is an enviably quick and efficient pace throughout the entirety of the silver screen opus. This is largely due to Griffin’s masterful editing. There not a single unnecessary or overlong scene in the production. Such measures greatly compliment the jovial atmosphere of the project.

What also helps this matter is that every performance herein is gleefully pitch perfect. Brown and Fisher are brilliant with their endearing lead depictions. Sarah Reed is fantastic as Zooey. The same can be said of the respective turns of Sissy O’ Hara as Sister Dymphna and Samantha Acampora as Rebecca. Johnny Sederquist is always enjoyable as the delightfully named Pinata Debris.

Undercover Vice is bigger and grander than its predecessor. Still, its wonderfully intimate with just the right amount of character focus. Every frame is a visual feast for the eye. This is a courtesy of the marvelous, colorful cinematography from John Mosetich. It is as just as much a sonic smorgasbord with some truly excellent musical selections peppering the undertaking. This is especially noteworthy during the superbly constructed end credits. Yet, Griffin’s exercise is just as brilliant in sections such as the near two-minute opener of the chronicle. This sequence uses only voiceover dialogue to describe what is transpiring and the names of those participating in the article.

These elements come together to craft another inspired and dazzling masterpiece in Griffin’s cinematic canon. Undercover Vice is one of the funniest flicks in years. It is also one of 2020’s top-tier movies. Griffin has crafted another triumph of independent storytelling via the visual medium. Strapped for Danger Part 2 is a must-see.

The 10 Best Short Films of 2020 (So Far)

By Andrew Buckner

*The inclusion of the short films on this list is based on the criteria of a 2020 release date.

10. “The Never Was”
Director: Mike Messier.

9. “Waffle”
Director: Carlyn Hudson.

8. “Dear Guest”
Director: Megan Freels Johnston.

7. “Thankless”
Director: Mark Maille.

6. “Wives of the Skies”
Director: Honey Lauren.

5. “Stuck”
Director: Steve Blackwood.

4. “The Dirty Burg”
Director: John Papp.

3. “Being Kris Salvi”
Director: Gabrielle Rosson.

2. “Fire (Pozar)”
Director: David Lynch.

1. “Yesteryear”
Director: Chris Esper.

Runner-Up:

“The Onlookers and Him”
Directors: Susruta Mukherjee, Saswata Mukherjee.

The 15 Best Albums and EPs of 2020 (So Far)

By Andrew Buckner

15. Molocular Meditation by Jan St. Werner

14. Versus (EP) by Jonezen

13. After Hours by The Weeknd

12. Mystic by Mackenzie Nicole

11. My Brother’s Keeper by Swifty McVay, Kuniva

10. The Allegory by Royce Da 5’9

9. EnterFear by Tech N9ne

8. Guided Meditations (EP) by RZA

7. Pray for Paris by Westside Gunn

6. RTJ4 by Run the Jewels

5. Gorilla Twins by Ill Bill, Nems

4. No Hermono by Sean Strange

3. Loud Is Not Enough by Public Enemy

2. All My Heroes Are Dead by R.A. the Rugged Man

1. Music to Be Murdered By by Eminem

Runner-up:

Your Birthday’s Cancelled by Iron Wigs

“Stuck”(2020) – (Short Film Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****.

Director Steve Blackwood’s fourteen-minute short film, “Stuck” (2020)”, is an all-around clever and well-done comedy. It finds a plethora of successful laughs and a subtle undermining of heart amid its engrossing premise.

Such concerns the goings-on of George (Blackwood) and Helen Simon (Sandy Bainum). They are a couple from New York, employed in advertising, who are thrust into a situation of dire emergency. The duo bought a machine of an erotic nature. It is one meant to enhance their relationship. This is as well as their routine lives. Yet, when the inebriated young delivery guy, Finn (Max Schochet), passes out and becomes unmovably entangled in said device during its installation, the scenario becomes more than a little nerve-racking for the pair. Not only is this because they are unaware of how to get Finn out of the gadget, but also because their overly judgmental friends are on their way for dinner.

The script, from Blackwood and David Susman, does a fine job of telling this tale in an engaging, hysterical, and always credible fashion. It develops the all-too-relatable characters of George and Helen in an equally organic and satisfying manner. This is often through the knee-slapping banter between the team. Blackwood and Susman keep the pace brisk throughout the endeavor. There is not a wasted frame in the storytelling department. Moreover, the humor is successful and witty. The project gets funnier as it goes along. This is with it becoming even more effective in the second half of the production. Blackwood and Susman’s narrative also weave a nice bit of dramatic symbolism with the title word involving George and Helen themselves near the finale.

What also works in the undertaking is the cheery, sophisticated, and stylish opening and closing credit sequences. They beautifully echo the overall tone of the effort. The animation used in these moments is outstanding. Furthermore, the performances are pitch perfect. Blackwood, Bainum and Schochet are excellent in their respective turns. The cinematography is vibrant, and the musical bits are just as good. Blackwood’s behind the camera control of the venture is sharp.

In turn, “Stuck” is masterful on all accounts. It is one of the best and most uproarious brief pieces I have seen all year. I highly recommend it.

Press Release: Andrew Buckner Releases “12 Original Beats” and More

 

Filmmaker, author and musician Andrew Buckner, under the name Buckner, unleashed a sonic smorgasbord over the weekend. On Friday, he unveiled his second full-length album, 12 Original Beats (2020). On the same day he released his third album and the sequel to the aforementioned project, 12 More Original Beats (2020). As the title suggests, these brisk, but ambitious and musically varied, efforts are all grooves of Buckner’s own invention.

On Saturday, he unveiled The Poetry Rap EP (2020). This six-track project features Buckner rapping a half-a-dozen different sonnets from his book of poetry A Call to Life, A Cry of Pain (2013). The rhymes are married to more unique sounds created by Buckner.

On Sunday, he published another similar collection to his 12 Original Beats series. It is called 22 New Buckner Beats (2020). The 14-minute album showcases Buckner’s continued growth via sound. 

Last week, Buckner also showed the world his extra short film, “Quarter: A 0.3 Second Short Film (2020)”. The endeavor is a black and white shot of a twenty-five cent piece. Containing a quick flash of a title and end credits sequence, the exercise is meant to show how quickly money leaves the hands of hard and long-working individuals. It is meant to be one of, if not the, shortest short films ever conceived. 

The YouTube links to all of the above-stated productions can be found above. 

Press Release: Andrew Buckner Releases Third Feature, “The Silent Journey of the Page”

Filmmaker, author and musician Andrew Buckner has released his third feature film, The Silent Journey of the Page (2020), via YouTube. The 51-minute work utilizes black and white, repeated images, silence and poetry to represent the creative process. It is an abstract piece which is also aesthetically unique and daring. The effort, which Buckner made entirely by himself for free, can be seen in full at the link above.

Press Release: Andrew Buckner Releases Second Feature “The Buckner Experience” and Two New Shorts

Filmmaker, musician and author Andrew Buckner has released his second full-length feature, The Buckner Experience (2020), via YouTube. The 80-minute work is a collection of short films and audio. Namely, they contain his What is Music? LP (2020) and his EP 5 1-Minute Freestyles (2020). Also, included in this first volume of visual and sonic productions by Buckner is the acclaimed fourteen-minute short “Andrew Buckner’s Big Screen Memories”. The film was called “intimate” and “quite fascinating” by Michael Haberfelner of (Re)Search My Trash.

Buckner has also recently released two new short films via YouTube. They are “Power Saving Mode: Attack of the Angry Phone” (2020), a sixty-second horror/comedy that concerns a phone that attacks its vain owner as he starts a new blog, and the experimental short “Surroundings: 6 10-Second Silent Stories” (2020). The latter-stated endeavor is about a half-dozen inanimate and natural objects found in Buckner’s backyard. Buckner tells the tale of each item through ten silent shots. The links to these short films can be found below.