The New Mexico Film Office has announced the winners of the 2009 New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase, which took place at the Guild Cinema May 14 through 17. After four days’ worth of New Mexico-only films, the judges chose the following category toppers: Best Comedy Short went to Christopher Boone’s “Preschool’s a Bit**,” Best Documentary Short went to Jessie Weahkee’s “Abraham Lincoln: The One Sided Story,” Best Documentary Feature went to Michelle Friedline & Laureen Ricks’ A Sh’mal World, Best Drama Short went to Craig Strong’s “In the Wake,” Best Drama Feature went to Michael Amundsen’s The Price of the American Dream II, Best Horror/Sci-Fi went to Kim Liphardt’s “The Sitter” and Best Wildcard Film went to Bryan Konefsky’s “Vancouver.” Congrats to the winners and to all of this year’s participants. Keep up the good work.
Hunger—the new drama about noted IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands—begins, interestingly enough, with a man who is not Bobby Sands. He’s an ordinary family man, seemingly under a great deal of stress, getting ready for work. As it turns out, he’s a guard at Maze Prison in Northern Ireland. It is at this prison that a number of Irish Republican Army “terrorists” are incarcerated—among them, the as-yet-undistinguished Bobby Sands. The film is in no real hurry to get where we know it’s going, but it does eventually cede the spotlight to Sands (played with Herculean commitment by Michael Fassbender). This is a movie about Sands—specifically the last six weeks of Sands’ life. It is not a movie about a prison guard. But he’s there at the beginning, one of the countless people who must have interacted with Sands before his premature death. He’s there because Hunger is interested in details, turning the smallest of gestures, actions and words into moments of soul-rattling import. When Sands and our unnamed prison guard do eventually cross paths (a situation that doesn’t come until quite a bit later in the film), the simple “punch line” of this supporting character hits with brutal intensity. In this one moment, we see that no single person is innocent, guilty, good or evil—but all are damned just the same.
When you think about it, Every Little Step is a mind-bendingly meta experience. On its surface, it’s a simple, straightforward documentary that offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the casting of a big Broadway musical. And what musical would that be? A Chorus Line. Sounds familiar. What’s that about? Well, A Chorus Line offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the casting of a big Broadway musical.
What TV needs now are more attractive psychic crimesolvers and more crusading nurses. Oh, and more Octomom coverage. While I can’t yet guarantee the first and third (although I’d pretty much bet the house on it), I can assure readers that they’ll be getting more hospital-based drama and romance courtesy of TNT’s new series “HawthorRNe.”
“Raising Sextuplets” (WE 11 p.m.) Thank you, cable TV, for adding “just get rich and famous by squeezing out too many kids” to the list of unrealistic, cop-out life goals for America’s young people.
“Masters of Reception” (TLC 8 p.m.) Perhaps, in these economically challenged times, there’s some sort of comfort in watching people who are gainfully employed—be they crab fishermen, cake decorators, repo men, tree trimmers, heli-loggers, ice road truckers or, in this instance, a pair of New Jersey brothers who cater wedding receptions.