Two films at Filmfort 2024 that left audiences wanting more

From musicians to artists, writers, and of course filmmakers, the 2024 Treefort music festival proved again its ability to showcase the art of many talents. 

Whether or not you attended Treefort for the film or for the music, here are two captivating films featured at Filmfort.

‘Can’t Seem to Make You Mine’ Directed by Aaron Keene and Sara Burke

Running time: 101 minutes

“Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” is a film about a man recently released from prison as he tries to reconnect with his ex and become a father to his 6-year-old son, while he stays with a stripper he met through a prison pen-pal website.

The film starts abruptly with our main character, Wilder (Zachary Ray Sherman), in the car with Riley (Jessica Barr) heading to her place for the first time since his prison release. He is confused by the advanced technology within the car and is visually uncomfortable and overwhelmed.

The filming style is extremely intimate, as the camera films closely to the faces of the characters throughout the film and rarely stays still. It almost feels as if we, the viewers, are up close with Wilder and Riley, swaying alongside them.

Not much background information is offered to the viewers. It is unsure to the audience just how long Riley and Wilder have been in contact or what Wilders intentions are regarding Riley.

The film is loosely inspired by co-director Sara Burke’s own brother during a 6-year prison sentence, highlighting the raw truth behind addiction, parenthood, masculinity and disconnection with the world around you.

As Wilder attempts to reconnect with his ex and 6-year-old son, Jack, viewers are left with pits in their stomachs at the sight of it. Viewers are able to see and understand Wilder’s intentions and desires to connect with his son, however when it comes to doing it, he is rash and short with the boy, furthering his disconnect with those around him.

Eventually, Riley overdoses and only survives after Wilder finds her and keeps her alive. After that point of the film, Riley is never shown again. This directing choice felt odd and uncomfortable as Riley was a vital part of the film and her role disappears in a matter of minutes, leaving viewers to ponder the need for her absence.

The film ends abruptly as Wilder sleeps with his ex, and wakes up to see she and Jack are moving away. Not anything more is shown, leaving viewers feeling both confusion and sorrow for the underdog main character.

Overall, “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” was a harrowing depiction of life after prison, shedding light on the broken system in which people can fall victim to and how it affects those around them. 

‘Sucker’ Directed by Deni Chang

Running time: 18 minutes

“Sucker” was shown as part of Treefort’s “secret screening”, with no information regarding the content of the film or its length, viewers were immediately gripped by this film.

The film tells the story of two Chinese-American brothers as they navigate through their day in their hometown of Flushing, Queens in New York. Andy takes care of his little brother and prepares him for violin practice so he can work. The brothers then learn that the practicing center is closed and Andy leaves his brother on the sidewalk while he leaves for work.

Upon entering the parking garage of his work, it can be assumed that he has lost his job as there is a confusing conversation between him and presumably the boss regarding him selling the garage. A distressed Andy goes to find his younger brother only to discover that the boy’s violin had been stolen.

Later that night, Andy is unable to sleep and leaves the shared apartment to walk the city. He sees a man holding his brother’s violin and during the chase, he is hit by a car — then things get weird.

A woman exits the vehicle that hit Andy, and seems to be explaining her own experience getting hit by a car. But the audio cuts in and out and the camera is swaying, leaving viewers at a loss as to what is unfolding before them.

As Andy regains awareness, he gets up and begins barking at the woman. The unnamed woman started to get scared and agitated, yet Andy is relentless in his animalistic howls. The film ends there.

Viewers of this film had no clue as to how long this film was going to be. Confused heads darted around making sure that others had just seen what they had. “Sucker” was beautifully filmed and the dialogue between the brothers felt natural, however the lack of information regarding everything else left viewers wanting more.

Both “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” and “Sucker” were far from the typical blockbuster movies we are accustomed to. However, it is refreshing to see an experimental take on a story and how artistic minds  decide to articulate their plotline and share it with viewers. 

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