“SOFTIE”: For God, for Kenya, and for Family- Boniface Mwangi’s story aims for NO ONE Left Behind

By Vernon Nickerson From writer/director Sam Soko comes a powerful documentary of an underdog/longshot Kenyan political candidate that is anything but soft. The hero of “Softie”, photojournalist-cum-candidate for prime minister Boniface Mwangi may be soft-spoken, but his actions are bold, loud, and in-your-face. In a nation-state that has known continuous internal conflict since the fifth…

“GNT” A Short Film About Female Self Validation

By Joanna Panayi Directed by Sara Hirner and Rosemary Vasquez Brown, “GNT” is an edgy animated short created by and for women. Honest conversations between young females inspire this short film to expose the repeated cycle that is self-validation. We see the female characters Glenn, Nikki, and Tammy’s contradictory friendship as it often relies upon…

Film review of Critically Acclaimed “Cut Throat City”

By Vernon Nickerson What would happen if a diverse POC cast made a 21st century redux of Les Miserables? It would be “Cut Throat City”. From director RZA and writer P.G. Cuschieri comes the explosive “Cut Throat City”, the story of four boyhood friends from New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward who return after Hurricane Katrina…

Mother’s Day Memories- A Film by Bill Hoversten

By Vernon Nickerson The power of film to illuminate and educate the audience shines throughout “Mother’s Day Memories”, a short feature film currently selected for eight international film festivals. The tight ensemble cast hits all the right notes to convey the slow erasure of the multiple lives impacted when a parent is losing their memories…

“Softie” Film Review

By Liisa Cohen “Softie”, a film by Sam Soko is a perfectly paced, gut wrenching account of Boniface Mwangi as we follow this photojournalist turned political activist turned MP candidate on his personal journey. Boniface “Softie” Mwangi has long fought injustices in his country as a political activist. Now he’s taking the next step by…

“FINDING YINGYING” Movie Review

By Liisa Cohen Director Jiayan “Jenny” Shitakes takes us on a gripping and intimate journey of devastating loss and the struggle of a grieving family to exist. Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old Chinese student, comes to the U.S. to study. In her detailed and beautiful diaries, the aspiring young scientist and teacher is full of optimism,…

“NASRIN” Movie Review

By Liisa Cohen The opening frames had my heart pounding, the ending frames had me in tears. NASRIN is a deeply moving, heart breaking and all too real story of Nasrin Sotoudeh, an attorney, human rights activist and political prisoner in Iran. With the back drop of modern day Iran, director/ writer/producer Jeff Kaufman and…

MR SOUL! So Before It’s Time

By Liisa Cohen Completely captivating, “MR SOUL!” is not just a documentary about Ellis B. Haizlip and his 1968-1973 Public Television show “Mr. SOUL!”. “Mr. SOUL!” is a deeply moving, beautifully edited, must see, absorbed and cherished film about a television show that started a movement reflecting the SOUL of all black people and the…

“Days of the Whale” Review: A Relevant Message For Today

By Joanna Panayi Director Catalina Arroyave Restrepo was born in Medellín, Colombia. In 2010 she co-funded Rara, an-art house producing company based in Medellín. Her debut film, Days of the Whale, won two screenplay awards, the most important Colombian production fund (FDC), and had its world premiere at the 2019 SXSW film festival. It will have…

Rachel Mason Reopens a World of Memories and Family Dynamics in her Netflix Hit ‘Circus of Books’

By Mike Szymanski When I first met Rachel Mason, I was unprepared for the wave of personal emotions, memories and love that would overcome me after first being touched by this talented performance-artist-turned-filmmaker. Her touching family story is told in “Circus of Books” which thankfully has eclipsed “Tiger King” as Netflix’s go-to odd documentary. It’s…

“The Prison Within”: The Hurt People. Hurt Other People — Empathy Can Safe Lives And Heal Communities

By Sanyukta Thakare The Prison Within is about taking a long and hard look at yourself and separating you from your actions to gain and better perspective and take on responsibility. The documentary explores the destructive impact untreated trauma has on individuals and communities through the powerful stories of survivors of violent crimes and prisoners…