Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lucrative, Easy and Meaningful

Producing documentaries is not easy. In large part because it is not inexpensive. We mused over drinks that it would be nice if every once in a while a film could fit this description: "lucrative, easy and meaningful."

I was celebrating the world premiere of "21 Below" at the Toronto Hyatt with the film's creators and supporters. In the film Sharon, the oldest and most stable of three sisters, returns to her dysfunctional family to help her 21-year-old sister, Karen, who is pregnant with her third child. The baby's father is an older black man who sells drugs and teaches Karen's older son (fathered by another man) that Jay-Z has 4000guns. The diapproval from Sharon and Karen's Jewish mother creates the tension and drama that drive this intensely personal film. Karen also has a 15-month-old daughter who is dying of a rare degenerative disorder. I nearly found myself hyperventilating during sections of the film. It was remarkable after the film to meet the Mom and see her satisfaction with it. It cannot be easy to have a packed theater watch your most intimate family drama on display.

I finally saw "Sergio" today. What can I say? Only that I have one wish: that I had never seen it so that I could walk back into the theater this second to watch it for the first time. And Director Greg Barker may have a through-the-roof resume, but there's no ego accompanying it. Here's the trailer:

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