The films selected to screen at last Sunday’s Arizona Filmmaker Showcase were evenly split right down the middle; two very serious films and two comedies, with one nature film to even out the mix. Hosted by Matt Robinson of ‘The Dark Of The Matinee,’ The Arizona Filmmaker Showcase takes place every last Sunday of the month at Filmbar Phoenix. There are no fees to submit a film.

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Time Travel Sucks directed by Justin DeRoy
After Vince (Peter Loza) gets dumped by his girlfriend, he decides to build a time machine to get her back. He studies his favorite time travel movies (and a few pornos) and comes up with a blueprint for a time machine, which turns out to be a cart wrangler vest attached to a watch. He goes back in time and (predictably) screws everything up for the future. A few laugh out loud moments that require a lot of effort on the part of the viewer. Sound is atrocious. Camera is mounted to a Richter scale on the San Andreas Fault. Final Take – Only time will tell.

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Faust II directed by Jamie Rivera
A struggling writer pisses in a jar and smokes. Slugging back some hooch he returns to the typewriter to pound out the greatest work of pulp fiction. Unable to find his muse, he drinks his booze and with nothing to lose, he grabs his gun to end his writer’s block. Before he can pull the trigger the Devil arrives and makes him a deal; his soul in exchange for the greatest novel ever written. The writer is reluctant to hand over the not so goods and wants to make sure his best interests will still be respected. It becomes a battle of nit-wits as the two argue over the semantics of the deal. Well shot and well acted one location 2 actors (Aaron Seever and Kasey Kempton) short film by director Rivera, who also directed the film festival dominating horror/suspense short ‘Fathers.’ Final Take – In the details.

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Anila directed by Sachin Dheeraj
Forbidden to attend school or pursue her own interests, Anila (Tejaswini Kantheti) daydreams and journals in the lonely, snowy mountain cabin of her husband (Sai Dheeraj Polagani), a chauvinistic lumber baron. Always lurking nearby is her husband’s skeezy business partner (Surya Vamsi) who works diligently to cause a rift between Anila and her husband. A stranger arrives and makes camp down the road. After a brief encounter with Anila, he writes a letter to her proudly announcing that he can rescue her from her misery and fulfill her every dream. All of the men know what is best for the young woman, but none of them ever ask Anila what she wants. Another beautifully photographed, well written film directed by Sachin Dheeraj and inspired by ‘Paila Nambara,’ a story from his favorite author Rabindranath Tagore. Dheeraj cleverly presents rich colors and the wide open expanse of the location as an earthly external confinement; a punishing freedom from which one must make their escape. A simple and powerful story exposing the plight of women forced into arranged marriage. Final Take – Vows of silence.

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Illuminate Life directed by Chris Heck
Teenager Ashlyn Bradshaw tearfully lists all of the important moments in her life that her father will miss. She then clearly yet somberly recalls the moments leading up to her father’s suicide. This poignant and powerful story is the second in director Chris Heck’s series of illuminations; mini docs of people who have suffered personal tragedy and instead of withdrawing, share their story with as many people as they can in order to reach out to others who may be experiencing the same or similar loss of a loved one. By far the saddest of Heck’s films, woven in percipient textures. Final Take – River of tears.  

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Vorticity directed by Mike Olbinski
Filmbar’s favorite storm chaser Mike Olbinski returns after 18 months of braving torrential rain, lightning, dust storms and hail in order to deliver his latest weather ballet Vorticity. As Olbinski continues to photograph the weather, each excursion reveals a deeper understanding of the natural forces constantly swirling overhead. Captured and deciphered by the filmmakers lens, the weather seems to perform for the camera. One particular performance has constantly eluded Olbinski. Until now. Watch in awe as violent weather puts on a private show just for the photographer, with a final curtain call ominously warning: I’ll be back! Final Take – Taken by storm.