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Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 3

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Locally-produced short film program, ‘Only in Santa Cruz'

One of the responsibilities of any given film festival is to spotlight local talent, and this year’s shorts program, Only in Santa Cruz, which screened on Saturday, May 12 at the Nickelodeon, exists in that spirit—and, as is the case with many a short film program, this collective is a bit of a mixed bag.

It opens with Good Morning, Day!, in which several strangers interact while waiting for the bus and on the strange ride that follows; ultimately, it’s a potentially interesting concept rendered almost incomprehensible by its nauseating form. 

Thankfully, it’s followed by Matthew Anderson’s Franky, Frankly, a lovely and literate piece of work that features a trio of delicately articulate performances, including that of the film’s cigarette-smoking, scarf-wearing, Salinger-referencing protagonist. It’s a film that knowingly challenges the boundaries of preciousness, and yet it’s too earnest to be considered anything but romantic. It’s also happily rich in ambiguity, eschewing a narrative-resolving ending in favor of a gently symbolic one with a perfectly timed final shot. 

Rounding out the narrative offerings is Wil Gieseler’s Big Somewhere, its sincere pleasures unfortunately interrupted by technical hiccups (a discouraging trend). Anchored by a pair of fine performances, it follows its protagonist’s decision to leave his home in the middle of nowhere, and the emotional tug-of-war between there’s-no-place-like-home considerations and the longing for something more is an effective one, even if it wraps up a tad too neatly.

The trio of documentaries that close the program are all regrettably plagued by insipid editing cues. The first, Echoes of the Great Depression, a partial chronology of the Occupy Santa Cruz Movement, plays like a one-sided extended montage. Regardless of what side of the debate you fall on, it’s impossible to make a credible argument without letting the opposing side speak on its behalf. 

Next is Santa Cruz Reskilling Expo, which covers a MAH exhibition that teaches individuals about reskilling—“a remembering, reclaiming and reviving of skills that were known 50 to 75 years ago.” It’s a worthy subject, teaching individuals how to be self-sustainable, but the film would have benefited from following its subjects beyond the confines of the expo and into real-world practice. 

The final offering, The Cornholes, is a 41-minute inside joke about a show that ran on Community TV in Santa Cruz from 2003 to 2008. The film’s novelty wears off somewhere around the halfway mark; that said, the title of the entire program categorically fits the film’s subject matter like a glove.

 


For the complete Santa Cruz Film Festival schedule, visit santacruzfilmfestival.org.

 

 

 

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Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

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