'Choose Connor' Wins Award at Philadelphia Film Festival

The only film I was able to catch at this year's Philadelphia Film Festival was Choose Connor. I saw it on the penultimate night of the festival, and was lucky enough to have the chance to meet the director, Luke Eberl, who had flown in just for the festival and screening. A young, quirky, intelligent writer and director, Eberl introduced the film and then stayed afterwards to entertain questions and host a discussion.

From the film synopsis:
When bright and precocious 15-year-old Owen Norris is selected to be the youth spokesman for local Congressman Lawrence Connor’s re-election campaign, both he and his parents are absolutely thrilled. He begins to spend his days trolling around town preaching the merits of Connor’s campaign while taking life lessons from the man himself. But as Owen begins to peel back the complex layers of his hometown government, he learns the terrifying truth about the inner workings of American politics. Eberl, merely 21 at the time of production, completed a series of undercover research operations on several campaigns before deciding he was ready to write a screenplay. The result shows a level of insight that rivals the great political drama writing of TV’s “The West Wing” and Robert Altman’s Secret Honor. This is a slow-burn political thriller of great complexity that not only rings true to life but also packs one hell of a surprising punch.
I really enjoyed the film. It was at times very uncomfortable, dealing with subjects such as the exploitation of youthful idealism, sexual deviance by men in power, and the strained family dynamics of a precocious young achiever and an out-of-work father. The film did have some humorous moments as well, and the sometimes bumpy camera action did feel natural and organic. I would certainly recommend the film.

I would also commend Luke Eberl for his confidence and abilities in both writing and directing, and in perfectly handling the withering vitriol of one angst-ridden audience member who peppered him with vicious comments in the question-and-answer session that followed the film. Remember, Philadelphia is the city that declared independence from the most powerful empire in the 1700's, and once booed Santa Claus.

The feature won "Best American Independent" film in the 2008 Philadelphia Film Festival. Here is a vertiginous YouTube video of Eberl accepting the award, and please note how well this young guy handles himself:

No comments: