Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival 2015
A complicated way to live
HartHunter Production’s award winning short opens Los Angeles Lift-Off 2015, in the only way our festival and HartHunter Production’s know how, by giving our audience a nice big slap of reality. Hard hitting and sometimes challenging to watch. A complicated way to live, gives us an insight into the world of those with their lives on the edge, and asks the often ignored question: “Is our society really doing all that they can to care for the mentally ill?”.
The Way of Tea
Described by many Lift-Off Judges as the perfect short film. Mark Fochard’s countless audience favourite The Way of Tea tells the tale of intense political idealism meeting cultural misunderstanding. Is it about religious hatred, or is it purely based on an absolute lack of perspective?
How to make a Bully from Scratch
Las Vegas Lift-Off winning documentary, where the programming judge’s notes simply read: “Everyone in America needs to see this movie!”… An educational doc covering a strong misunderstanding amongst the US educational system.
A man wakes up in a Koreatown hallway, naked except for a cock ring and a frilly scarf. Shot in one continuous five-minute take, Coming To follows the true story of a young man who wakes up from a meth relapse, as he puts together the pieces of how he got there. Ultimately, he faces a difficult decision about where he’s going next. Coming To is a story about loneliness, the search for identity, and the difficult choice between safety and happiness. It premiered at Slamdance Film Festival on January 26th, where it won the Grand Prize of the Fearless Filmmakers Showcase. Our preferred screening format is DCP, but we can accommodate most setups.
Two brothers confront their family’s past and each other on the last day of owning their childhood home.
Young Jaya survives gruesome gang life on the unforgiving streets of Mumbai by posing as a boy. When she meets a wealthy businessman who may be the father, who abandoned her, she sets out to reclaim her identity.
Unforgivable is a story of friendship, love and betrayal. Set over a birthday weekend, close friends uncover truths about each other that will radically change their relationship forever.
In rural Taiwan, a man comes to terms with his relationship with his ageing father. They make their livelihood by working on a pear orchard utilising the grafting technique of binding the scion of a Japanese pear tree to the stock of a Taiwanese pear tree. After years of repression and enmeshment, the son feels his efforts are never enough. He tries to break free but ultimately dependence is stronger.
Down on his luck, a conservative recluse creates the most unconventional family.
I’m Going to Marry This Boy
An unlikely romance in India at a time when women weren’t allowed the freedom of choice. Against all odds, this woman’s love story has survived 45 years of marital bliss and is still going strong.
Fallen is a brooding metaphysical investigation into belief where a vicar and woman try to rationalise a world without faith and God.
Influenced by pop culture all her life, Lea feels wronged by the way movies and music portray love. Now that she is 30 and single, she cuts pop culture cold turkey to see if this way she can find the man of her dreams.
Francis B. Griffin
London Lift-Off Film Festival 2014 Best Documentary. A biopic of a normal man, from a normal town in the midlands, telling us on camera about his normal life. Through his individuality, his story of love, faith, the war and his ultimate connection to family, we start to realise that Frances B. Griffin is anything but “normal”.
Tickle the Ivories
Liverpool Lift-Off Film Festival 2015 Best Documentary. Around the city of Liverpool pianos are left for the general public to step forward and play. Those who do, immediately give the city a completely beautiful vibration, that’s celebrated through the story of the musicians but also within the music itself.
After his father’s death, a man gets on a train and stops in a country town. He takes a room in a boarding house run by a mother and her daughter, a fifteen-year-old girl. The girl seduces the man and the man rapes her. The man pays for his stay, and in order to avoid any possible official complaint, he leaves the boarding house and escapes.
Jam is a seven-minute film that explores the self absorption of 18 characters stuck in traffic in the middle of nowhere. Ranging from comically absurd to tragically honest, each vignette pushes us forward through the traffic jam to ultimately answer the question… what are they doing here?
Kit works as a dancer in a vibrant nightclub, but she has no real connection to the audience, or any man in her life. “girl” is about a woman’s journey into a new world that arouses feelings she never knew she had.
My Mom’s Motorcycle
A look into how objects can connect us to people, places and ideas.
After concealing her true identity for an entire lifetime, Bruce grapples with the fact that she may never bring herself to reveal the person inside.
The Shooting Star Salesman
Set in modern time, The Shooting Star Salesman is the story of a 19th century ageless Salesman (Yancey Arias) who is granted the magical ability to align individuals with their own unique shooting star to wish upon. His rare gift becomes a curse when he outlives his family, turning him into a recluse and breaking the magic of the shooting star machine. As he ventures out to restore people’s belief in shooting stars, he picks up a curious 8 year old tag along named Elijah (Elijah Velarde) who starts to question if perhaps it’s the Salesman himself who needs to have his faith restored. An unlikely partnership is formed between the two as they embark on a journey to restore the faith of humanity. But as their friendship grows, the Salesman is torn between continuing his legacy or renouncing his magical gift for the chance to reunite with the family he lost a lifetime ago.
It’s a Wonderful Knife
Blaming him for her tragic existence, a heartbroken ex-hooker kidnaps Santa Claus in order to exact revenge, but instead finally discovers her true calling in life.
Special Mention for Los Angeles Lift-Off from London Lift-Off 2014. This is a coming of age story set around some of the most beautiful scenery of Southern France. Aurelia, disillusioned by the adults in her life, sets off on her own path to adulthood. Expertly directed and extremely well acted, this is a story not to be missed.
Best Narrative Liverpool Lift-Off 2015. Him Upstairs is a fantastic ensemble piece – character-led and well written. It’s a window into hope overclouding a grey reality. The colourful world of a Liverpool fortune-teller Margaret Conroy and her husband Frank may or may not be what we are led to believe.
Las Vegas Lift-Off 2015 Best Narrative. The heartwarming story of a brave, transgender tween, tackling a unique blend of issues many of us would be blind to see.
Ivan, an aspiring writer, stumbles upon The Fortune – a bohemian drinking club – by chance. Here he meets flamboyant drunk Lester Oliphant – a teller of tall stories – and the beguiling socialite Harriet Fabian. Ivan becomes entranced with their promises of the success he craves but in the cold light of day things are not quite as they seemed.
An Apartment is an intimate portrait of Paul, a man who finds himself in mid-life struggling to restart his career and maintain his financial independence. Forced to move in with his brother and take seasonal work, it becomes increasingly apparent what he’s lost can’t be regained. A sensitive and honest portrait of fading middle-class dreams.
Diego, a 10-year old boy growing up in a family where violence is equivalent to manhood, doesn’t fit in. He finally meets a friend and is left with a choice: follow in his family’s footsteps, or follow his heart – while putting his own life at risk.
On the morning of the biggest meeting of her life, Monica wakes up with an unexpected problem.
“re÷belief” is a 3D Printed, hand crafted, zoetropic short-film that asks if recalling memories can break a cycle. A Graduate Student produced Thesis, completed for the MFA in Film and Animation Program at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Film and Animation.
An animated autobiography about a dude trying to make sense of his learning disabilities, parents’ failed marriage and oversized clothing.
Los Angeles Lift-Off held the winners night and awarded seven production teams for their excellent work in indie film.
Special Mentions and Winners
Special Mention - JAYA by Puja Maewal
Special Mention - I’m Going To Marry This Boy by Radha Mehta
Special Mention - The Shooting Star Salesman by Kico Velarde
Special Mention - Stealth by Melissa Hoppe
Special Mention - Diego by Sara Seligman
Best Live Action Narrative
The Way of Tea by Marc Fouchard
My Mom’s Motorcycle by Douglas Gautraud