Trailers that disquise – and why

With the abundance of content online, knowing what is a great way to spend your time often comes down to the 140 characters used by film makers – the trailer.  There is no questioning that high end resources can yield a smashing intro to a compelling, film worthy of your ticket or rental dollars.    Too often the trailer is the only thing worthy in a film; in certain cases the trailer neglects it’s content that it’s trying to promote.    Why a trailer hide’s the film’s purpose and meaning is intentional – it’s suppose to give a glimpse of what’s to come.  The trailer should “wow” an audience reaction to create a passionate run to a theater or, more today than ever, an immediate purchase and download from digital sites like Amazon, Itunes, Netflicks or countless independents.

Rather than detail the ins and outs of making an effective trailer or pointing you to one source only we asked a few New York based emerging film makers to submit their latest reviews along with a trailer.   Our request was to hold our first annual “TRAILER HEAD TO HEAD” competition. Here are two that we received that are open for your own opinion.

“Writer and director David Pomes’ first feature film was the 2008 drama Cook County. That film, which won the Audience Award at South by Southwest, tackled a poor small-town family’s struggle with drug addiction, and chronicled the related dysfunction in gory detail.

Pomes’ follow-up short Summer with Mrs. Von Mausch Actresses from Summer with Von Mauschappears to be quite a departure: it’s a low-key drama about a teenage girl who spends a summer in New York City with her wealthy but inattentive father. She befriends an older woman who lives next door. 

Despite a setting that is about as far removed as you can get from the Texas dirt roads and meth shacks of Cook County (at least while staying in the United States), the two films share themes of family drama, drug abuse and lost freedom. Both films also feature strong lead performances: Anson Mount is terrific in Cook, and Molly Learner and Annie McGreevey shine in Summer as the bored teen and unhinged neighbor, respectively. Both films are also strong visually. Pomes and his crew excel at turning potentially claustrophobic settings into something beautiful. 

With a story that doesn’t go where you might expect, it’s a charming short film by a talented director.   To view the trailer, go to:

Compared to: Morningside Low (a mumblecore/fumblecore entrant)

Morningside Low is almost more a stunt than a film. It’s about two 30-ish friends who have drifted apart, made by two 30-ish friends who apparently were drifting apart. The largely improvised, low-budget feature was reportedly shot in the characters’ real apartments and offices, with much of the cast (including the two leads) consisting of untrained actors more-or-less playing themselves.  

Put aside the knowing indie-ness of all of that: the film works despite flaws because it happens to be entertaining. At times it may be hard to tell where the jokes are intentional, and where Mack and Ordynans’s real personalities drive the cringe-worthy humor. Either way, it’s a fun ride. 

The raw, natural approach here is more suited to these filmmakers than their previous feature, the Woody Allen-in-college Burning Annie (2007)which is worth seeking out on video for its sharp relationship insights and dry humor. Morningside Low succeeds because it consolidates those strengths with an appropriately loose filmmaking aesthetic. More importantly, Morningside Low points to a future where no-budget, anti-concept indie films can be smart, heart-felt and genuinely funny. We’ve seen plenty of low-budget films that are either genre exercises or artistic indulgences, but here’s a film that shows that anyone who can borrow a camera has a chance to do something truly interesting.  View the trailer and let us know.

Author: Mason Hayutin

Founder, Editor and contributing writer, Mr. Mason Hayutin is recognized for his depth of experience and knowledge in technology, energy economics, real estate and the arts (fine and visual). Having worked with recognized world-class artists and their estates since 1997, Mason brings a wealth of practical experiences from installations, marketing, and private sales. An active business advocate, he successfully released the fine art documentary film LUBIE LOVE in 2009 ahead of the global auto crisis - in addition to maintaining his tenure at GALLERY M INC. Hayutin holds a degree in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis. He is the founder of MASONmodern, a boutique real estate firm based in Denver, CO. You can read his insight here at The Art Quarterly as well as in regional and national publications.

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