Tuesday, April 12

Emery's 2022 PFF & IHSFF Festival Recap – April 7th & 8th

Coda’s ongoing coverage of the 2022 Phoenix Film Festival & International Horror Sci-Fi Film Festival. I'll be using these posts to recap the films I've experienced as part of these festivals.


By Emery Snyder - @leeroy711

Note: I had a feature in between a couple of blocks of shorts. I picked out some of the highlights from the shorts programs to cover…


World Cinema Shorts

THE BLACTOR – Directed by Rukiya Bernard


 On her way to an audition, Kadidja is stopped by an undercover cop and now she must act the role of her life.

At 13 minutes, this little film manages to fit in just the right amount of cleverness, insight and provocation to be memorable. Keeya King’s Kadidja is lively and convincing and you’re completely with her as she navigates an intense situation.


A GUIDE TO DINING OUT IN NAIROBI – Directed by Hugh Mitton


When Juma (Yafesi Musoke) is accidently handed a $10 tip, he decides to see how far it will take him on an unforgettable night out.

This was the perfect short film. Essentially told through two scenes bookending a hilariously fun montage of Juma painting the town red. The ending is surprising in how beautifully it lands on its message about the disparities between the rich and the working class.


DISTANCES – Directed by Susan Bejar


*Winner of the Copper Wing Award for Best World Cinema Short

When a seemingly disturbed man on a crowded bus begins ranting, the other riders shudder and clamor out of the way to avoid him until Maria, takes a different, not-so-radical approach.

Roger Ebert said that movies are a machine that generates empathy. If this is true, (and of course it is) then this 13-minute film is extremely well-oiled. It’s the type of film that makes you hope for your own opportunity to be a good person.


Native American Shorts



Emily spends the majority of the film apologizing to boyfriend Johnny for every microaggression she’s inflicted against Natives her whole life.

This film has the perfect cast of two fun and likeable characters. Benny Wayne Sully and Kylie Brakeman have great chemistry, proven in a very short amount of runtime. The film’s dialogue is a fun little dance, designed to make us white liberal “allies” squirm in our seats just enough. And it leads to such a fun and satisfying ending.


DELIVERY – Directed by Colton Eschief Mastro & Eric Jackowitz


DELIVERY is a dark comedy about Charlie (Mastro), a food delivery driver that uses the perks of his job to facilitate his one true passion, serial killing. That is until life throws him a curve in the form of his next potential victim.

Why can’t all movies be this much fun? Seriously, from the set design and dance choreography of its opening scene through its dreamscape ending, I was onboard for all of it. The dialogue was flawless. The chemistry between Charlie and Madison is great and their performances stood out.  



THE TRAILS BEFORE US – Directed by Fritz Bitsoie

This is a short documentary about 17-year-old Nigel James in the Navajo Nation, that rides his mountain bike through the horse trails of his ancestors.

It’s honestly going to be hard to find a more picturesque way to spend 13 minutes of your life. The cinematography captures this scenery beautifully. We follow Nigel as he explains when and why he started riding these trials and how it’s his way of showing respect for the land.

I don’t think there’s a more perfect word than captivating to describe this film. I’ll be on the lookout for an opportunity to rewatch this one for sure.

 WE BURN LIKE THIS – Directed by Alana Waksman


*Winner of the Copper Wing Award for Best Director (Alana Waksman) 

Rae (Madeleine Coghlan), a twenty-something girl in Billings, Montana is targeted by local Neo-Nazis. In an attempt to find herself, she heads back to her roots and the legacy of her Holocaust surviving ancestry.

This film was shot in both Billings and Butte, Montana. I was first surprised at just how picturesque both of these locations actually are. The cinematography captures this beauty very well. Many of the more intimate scenes are shot with a floating hand-held look that made them more personal.

The film seems to bounce around between a small, personal story of the self-destruction of identity crisis and the overarching account of the rise of extremism in America’s flyover land and the types of people it hurts. I’m not sure that it ever strikes a proper balance between the two narratives but I appreciated what it was going for. I also liked how this film illustrates the differences between culture and beliefs. And how these two forces within the same person can sometimes be in direct conflict with each other.

Overall, I found this film to be a bit disjointed and meandering, but definitely not in the worst ways possible. It still has a lot to offer to the audience, both technically and narratively.  


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1 comment:

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