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The Bell Affair

USA 2023
produced by
Michael Burton (executive), Kwakiutl Lynn Dreher (executive), William G. Thomas III (executive) for Salt Marsh Productions, Western Meadowlark
directed by Kwakiutl Lynn Dreher
starring the voices and likeness of Myeisha Essex, Anthony Wilcox, Deborah Madick, Don White, Wayne Matychuk, John L. Shortt, Arista Jackson (= Arista D'Nae), Darla Davenport, Paul Kandarian, Rick Daniels, Steve Kennevan, Colby Coash, Dan Nufer, Christian J. Velez, Kimba Clemmons, Joseph Palmateer, Kyle Ament, Melinda Simonsen, Larry Woods, Arielle Desir, Trinity Jackson, Za'Maya Hill, Kailyn Desir, Zahir Hill jr, Zamir Hill, Zaria Hill, Jason Iannone, Matthew Kischer, Michael Zavodny, Katie Otten, Jarod Cernousek, Japrice Green, Shea Butler, Malik Fortner, Brenna Howell, Mary Rogers, Mary White, Patrick Lescarbeau, Tony Grizzel, Joshua Brunken, Bryan Hurst, Michael Burton, narration by Kwakiutl Lynn Dreher, John Leonard Harris sr
story by Kaci Nash, screenplay by Kwakiutl Lynn Dreher, William G. Thomas III, based on the book A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation's Rounding to the Civil War by William G. Thomas III, music by Sapphire Toth, animation supervisor: Jordan Scribner

animation

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD!

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The District of Columbia, USA, the 1830s and 40s, when slavery was still a thing and abolition was only a budding idea - but concrete enough for the slave owners to come up with more and more absurd excuses why slavery is an absolute necessity, be it for economic reasons or (self-induced) fear of freed black people. Abolitionists back then were actually persecuted, put to jail even, like publisher Reuben Crandall (John L. Shortt), who printed pamphlets showing a white slaveowner whipping a black slave - and he was put to jail for libel.

Robert Armistead (Don White) has owned slave for all his life, but of late, his conscience got the better of him, and as his health fails him he signs a deed freeing his slaves, Daniel (Anthony Wilcox), Mary (Myeisha Essex) and their children - much to the dismay of his wife Susan (Deborah Malick), who does everything in her power to revoke her husband's deed, after his death even goes to court to have it renounced - and indeed she does retain possession of Mary and the children, very much to the dismay of everyone involved. Daniel goes the legal way to set them free, but as the legal system is run by the whites, many slaveowners themselves, it's to no avail, to the point where he plans a spectacular rescue mission, not only for his family but for many slaves across town ...

 

A film that really gets you thinking, as it goes beyond a "slavery is bad"-message (which should be indisputable in the 21st century anyways) but gets inside the heads of slaveowners and shows how slow a process it must have been to really start to listen to humane reasons let alone shake the shackles of racism, in a multi-layered story that by and large avoids any tearjerking moments. And on a visual level, this film's quite a feat, as it combines old-fashioned rotoscoping with modern CGI, allowing the filmmakers to play with impressive imagery and colour-pallettes of their choosing for maximum atmospheric effect. And all of this together results in a not exactly easy watch, but a thoughtful and worthwhile experience nevertheless.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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to the weirdly romantic,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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