“It’s all in good taste,” reads the motto for this Ogden showcase for (mostly, but not exclusively) local independent films. But “good taste” doesn’t necessarily mean “dull.” And especially when it comes to the documentary features, “local” doesn’t necessarily mean “amateurish.”
In director Ashley Karras’ The Inheritance of War, she attempts a challenging two-pronged story: the recollections of American survivors of the World War II Bataan Death March and years of slave labor in Japan, and the fight of attorney James Parkinson and his colleagues to win those veterans restitution from Japanese companies for their labor. Both stories prove to be riveting, and it’s hard not to work up a healthy outrage at the American administrations—both Democratic and Republican—who worked against their own war heroes.
Michael Paul’s story in The Long Look on Life is more personal: his experience in Utah County living next door to a recovering meth addict named Alex and his makeshift “family” of other addicts who otherwise would be on the street. These characters emerge as individuals rather than case studies—which makes the inevitable tragedies all the more heartbreaking.
A real winner comes from—surprise!—the screenwriting team behind Church Ball. Stephen Rose and Paul Eagleston’s My Name is Ryan follows infamous Phoenix club-kid Ryan Avery (pictured) as he sorts through his complicated life through a variety of music and performance-art projects. It’s a funny, wonderfully quirky look at the healing power of art—and a reminder of how much good can come from supporting that art. (Scott Renshaw)
FourSite Film Festival @ various locations in Ogden, 801-621-0616, March 4-7. Schedule at FourSiteFilmFest.com.