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PBIFF’13 MOVIE REVIEW: “Where Do We Go From Here” [short film]

April 11, 2013

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 5.05.24 PM

This past week, Palm Beach Country in South Florida has been hosting the 18th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival. Today will be the closing night of the festival, located at the new Frank Theater & IMAX located in Delray Beach, FL.

I’ve been overwhelmed with the festival, my day job, and my regular movie reviews that I haven’t had the time to touch on the PBIFF. But, I’m here, I’m ready, so lets dive into what the festival has offered.

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 5.06.23 PMI haven’t had the chance to attend the short programs, but I did find myself with an opportunity to have a special screening for a short film entitled “Where Do We Go From Here”. Produced by an LA production company, ANU Productions, “Where Do We Go From Here” is a short that was produced as a pitch for a feature length adaptation.

Even with it’s abrupt ending, “Where Do We Go From Here” does beg the audience the question, ‘what’s next?’ The film discuss the ever growing, and popular topic about homosexuality in America, ironically, the film is directed by a Canadian, Michael Challenger.

Leon (Corey Wright) returns home from Morehouse College to visit his family. Leon’s father (Bernard Addison), a baptist priest,  mother (Karen Malina White) and the rest of the family are beside themselves to see their oldest return to them, but what they weren’t expect was the revelation of a deep dark secret Leon has been keeping from them. A series of unexpected events take place, revealing that he, and his best friend since grade school, Adam (Matthew Marquez), are in fact gay. Leon and his father have a man-to-man discussion that potentially breaks the solid bond between father and son.

Homosexuality in America is a tough subject to swallow for many, it’s a subject that has made waves in the news countless times, the recent ‘Facebook equal profile sign pic’ was one of the recent protests in pro-Gay marriage. Film has managed to be somewhat timid about the subject, however some independent films, like “Pariah” for example have taken the time to really dive into how homosexuality can affect a person, more importantly someone who has a difficult time coping with the terms about telling their family. Michael Challenger’s short tackles just the tip of the iceberg. It ends with a cliffhanger, leaving you wonder what will happen next for young Leon. Challenger discussed that the journey Leon will take once the end title card appears after the short, is something that must be explored. His best friend, Adam, who’s had time to deal with his inner conflicts more appropriately and perhaps more mature, will be an interesting contrast to Leon.

I hope to see this short being extended into a feature, it has the potential for doing some real good and getting a heartfelt message out there, that most people these days choose to ignore. Perhaps with a bit of recasting, and great in-depth character development, like diving into Leon’s past, which we visit briefly at the beginning of this film, I think we could have a damn good movie on our hands. After talking with Michael Challenger, I myself am excited to see what this new Canadian director can bring for American audiences.

GRADE: A

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