All posts by Victoria Sayeg

Finessing the Footage: Film Editor Oliver Harwood

Oliver Harwood
Film Editor Oliver Harwood

Like a well trained surgeon, award-winning film editor Oliver Harwood’s ability to carefully cut together media is as inspired as it is precise. A storyteller at his core, Harwood’s impressive body of work spans widely across a decade, boasting perfect examples of both skill and art in dozens of films, including the multi-award winning “Waste” and the international sensation “A Meditation,” which was chosen as an Official Selection of more than 25 film festivals across the globe.

Originally from Northamptonshire, UK, Harwood is far from just a “set of hands” in the editing room. In the industry, Harwood’s strong ability to work symbiotically with the director is a coveted talent, setting him apart from other editors who let their own personal style get in the way of the director’s vision.

“As an editor, I feel that my personal taste is a secondary concern to the director’s intention,” he remarks. “I like to think that my personal style is to have no personal style. In other words, it’s about bringing out the personal style of the director. If an editor’s primary concern is to impose an intrinsic style on every project they do, they should quit editing and be a director,” he says with a smile.

Film Poster for "Waste"
Film Poster for “Waste”

And acclaimed director Justine Raczkiewicz of “Waste” may agree. Her film, edited magnificently by Harwood, took home many awards through a large circuit, including Best Female Director at the Hollyshorts Film Festival and a Finalist at the USA Film Festival, as well as multiple Official Selections for festivals including the Brooklyn Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival and more.

“Waste” tells the story of Roger, a shy and reclusive man working at a medical waste disposal facility. In the film, Roger becomes infatuated with his roommate Olive, a woman who models herself after a 1950’s housewife and seems to be more interested in pursuing the latest culinary fads rather than finding a mate.

Roger finds her quirkiness endearing, but learns one night over dinner that they have slightly variant food preferences (read: Olive eats human beings.) Roger politely dines with Olive, apprehensively crunching a sauteed human tongue which she has procured from a website selling ‘the discarded tongues of Buddhist monks who cut them out to be closer to God.’

Awoken now to a grizzly new world, Roger must balance his feelings for her with this dark new insight into who she is. After nodding off at work, Roger experiences a series of disturbing and strange dreams which ultimately lead him to confess his love for Olive.

Roger arrives, flowers in hand, to find Olive in a ball on the floor. She has severed her own toes and, barely hanging onto consciousness, she tells Roger that she’s tried to saute them. The picture changes to a black screen, and credits roll over audio of Olive instructing Roger on how to perfectly cook the toes, and Roger seems to be obeying.

Harwood does a brilliant job telling an unsettling love story using carefully selected lingering shots and impeccably timed cuts. At times, thanks to the editing technique, the viewer’s own levels of discomfort seem to perfectly match what the characters are feeling in that moment.

Harwood articulates his method best, explaining that “typically, a scene would start with a wide shot to establish the space, and then gradually work into the close ups, where the best performances are usually found… But with this one, we decided to start some [scenes] with a closeup shot, and then work our way to the wider shots. This helped reinforce the weird and uncomfortable tone of the story by creating ambiguity to some of the physical spaces used in the film.”

In film, when genres are combined, it takes an experienced, intelligent, and talented editor to tell the story correctly, without playing up one genre more than the other, and Harwood delivers this impeccably.

“When a film chooses to explore darker subject matters with a comical slant to it, the story must remain engaging enough to stand on its own and not be overridden by the themes,” he explains. “Otherwise, the overall feeling of the piece can be left feeling a bit pretentious without a strong emotional narrative to back it up. I tried to remove all thoughts of deeper meaning and intellectual subtext when editing and focused on the emotional through lines that guide the audience.”

Film Poster for "A Meditation"
Film Poster for “A Meditation”

Able to get into the minds of all types of genres, Harwood also displays exceptional work in the film “A Meditation,” which took home six awards from festivals including the MedFF and the Red Corner Film Festival, and screened as an Official Selection of the BLOW-UP International Arthouse Film Festival, Eindhovens Film Festival, Lisbon Film Festival, Oaxaca Film Festival, Kansas City Film Festival, and the San Francisco Black Film Festival to name a few.

This film, on the surface, does not appear to have much going on in terms of the story itself. “It revolves around a man who seems to be ambling through a particularly aimless point in his life,” Harwood describes. “He has no quest, no great adversity, just a vague sense of anxiety that comes with anyone who fears the existential dread of an empty weekend. He meditates, feeds his cat and browses the news, everything done without any particular enthusiasm or resentment.  He seems to be just passing the time.”

The subject is awoken from a midday nap to his doorbell ringing; a young woman wants to buy a DVR he listed on Craigslist earlier that day. She wants to ensure that the machine works, so she follows him into the house to test it out. While in the bedroom, she notices marijuana on the dresser and asks, rather bluntly, if he’d like to smoke. They do, laughing together, and then the woman suggests they take off their clothes and get into bed. The initial awkwardness wears off quickly, and the pair embrace each other warmly until they are interrupted by the woman’s ringing cellphone. Her boyfriend has called, and she has to go.

She leaves, her warmth and presence from moments before replaced with a curt, aloof awkwardness, and the male subject goes about his daily routine of nothingness.

Harwood leans into the simplistic tone of the film by making similar editing choices at the top of the movie. “Because this is rather a simple story, I felt as if the editing of the piece should reflect that. Before the girl arrives, nothing of much significance seems to be happening, though there is a heavy emphasis on establishing a mood and tone,” explains Harwood. “To be able to do this effectively and as economically as possible is something that I believe is vital to a story of this kind.”

However, when the film moves in a more sexually explicit direction and the characters start to open up to each other, the shots became much closer and more personal.

Harwood says, “It was this break in style that influenced me to shift from a rather ‘matter of fact’ and simple editing practice to more abstract and emotionally driven choices.”

The shift is seamless; the viewer cannot quite put their finger on what has happened, but rather they can suddenly feel a change in energy, and this is the mark of a very, very good editor.

“Outside of the technical skill to handle the physical editing of the film, Oliver brought his unique and specific talents and approach to storytelling which is why I selected him to be the editor,” says Joe Petricca, the director of “A Meditation.” “He has great taste in and knowledge of film.”

The director and cinematographer may get all the coverage in the world, but when it comes down to it, how those shots are carefully stitched together bares some serious weight in regard to the final outcome and impact of the project. Oliver Harwood is undoubtedly a gem amongst ediors in the industry, and his refined and invaluable skill set is truly an asset both to the industry and to audiences worldwide.

 

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“2Survive” Star Ingrid Haubert is Instagram’s Nutella Girl

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You’re scrolling through Instagram when you come across a photo of a striking blonde. She’s standing in her Buddy Holly glasses and a baby blue bowtie in front of an open cabinet filled to capacity with…um, 50 jars of Nutella? Captivated and instantly in love, you navigate to her profile, @Nutelluv, and it’s everything you’ve ever hoped for.

You quickly realize that your dream girl is off the rails beautiful, unabashedly hilarious, captivating, and seemingly in a serious relationship with this delicious hazelnut spread. She has thousands of followers and an arsenal of couple-like photos where she sits lovingly beside Nutella jars on beaches, in beds, in hospitals, and on dates downtown. But who is this passionately quirky, seemingly shameless Nutella girl?

The bombshell and brains behind @Nutelluv is none other than the unforgettable Australian-born actress Ingrid Haubert, and we had the pleasure of sitting down with her to talk art, success, movies, television, and, of course, Nutella.

Ingrid Haubert shot by Vanie Poyey
Actress Ingrid Haubert shot by Vanie Poyey

An alumni of both the Australian Academy of Performing Arts and the Australian Institute of Music, Haubert is the perfect balance of charisma, natural talent, and formal education. With a skillset ranging from horror to comedy to drama and science fiction, Haubert engages audiences globally with her authentic deliveries, impeccable timing, and her harnessed, raw emotion. From her recent appearances on MTV to films streaming on AmazonPrime, and everything in between, Haubert is undoubtedly an unstoppable force in the industry.

In “2Survive,” one of the many films she’s starred in to date, Haubert shares the screen with Golden Globe Award nominee Erik Estrada (“Finding Faith,” “CHiPs” ), Jonathan Camp ( “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “S.W.A.T.”) and Michael Laurie (“Nuclear,” “CollegeHumor Originals”) as she embodies the lead role of Amber, a tall drink of water in the middle of a scorching, death-riddled desert. A film about a reality television show that goes terribly wrong, “2Survive” follows six contestants as they face unforeseen obstacles and pull from deep within themselves as they attempt to get home alive.

The way Haubert transforms Amber from a seemingly basic beauty (with little going on in the intelligence department) and helps her grow into a woman of strength by revealing that her intelligence exists in her ability to think outside of the box, and the invaluable importance of her kindness and compassion, makes her a major highlight of the film. Haubert’s dedication to breathing life into the character with authenticity whilst adding layers to her personality were tantamount to making Amber the kind of character audiences could easily get behind.

Haubert says she was determined “not to let [Amber] just be an airhead. I wanted her to have substance, vulnerability, something to make the audience care about her and root for her.”  

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It is Haubert’s poignant instincts as an actor that make the film as compelling and relevant as it is. She excels at highlighting strong, capable women while encouraging much needed dialogue about female empowerment and heroism. Haubert finds ways to strengthen the characters she plays in every role she steps into, making her a critical staple in Hollywood today.

Not limited to just film, Haubert appears frequently in episodic television as well, engaging fans nationally with her spark and brilliance. Most recently, Haubert played a key role in MTV’s “Awkward.,” the story of a 15-year-old-nobody who is pushed into the limelight when the school mistakes a legitimate accident for a suicide attempt.Last year we got a chance to see Haubert on MTV when she guest starred on the network’s hit series “Awkward.,” which stars award-winning actress Ashley Rickards (“One Tree Hill,” “Behaving Badly”), Beau Mirchoff (“I Am Number 4,” “Scary Movie 4”) and Jillian Rose Reed (“Foursome,” “Weeds”). The Teen Choice and People’s Choice Award winning series “Awkward.” follows Rickards’ character Jenna Hamilton, an awkward teen whose high school popularity skyrockets after rumors spread that her accidental fall was really a suicide attempt.

Haubert comes into the series in season 5 episode 14 titled ‘WTF Happened Last Year?,’ which follows Jenna into college and centers largely on her crumbling relationship with her long-distance boyfriend Matty (Beau Mirchoff). Haubert plays a key role as a pompous retail stylist at a high-end clothing store who embarasses series’ lead Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed) who can’t afford the clothes she wants.

“My character was very snooty and nasty, which is the opposite of me. So it was kinda fun to let that out,” says Haubert.

However, the tables quickly turn on Haubert when Sadie (Molly Tarlov) shows up out of nowhere, slaps her credit card on the table and says to Haubert with palpable attitude, “Ring ‘em up shop bitch. Chop chop Tilda Skankton, you work retail so work it.” Haubert is immediately cut down from her pedestal with her mortified facial expressions making for great comedy. The scene is also key in the developing friendship between Sadie and Tamara, former high school rivals, as the encounter gives Sadie an opportunity to show Tamara a little kindness.

Haubert has a deep love for her craft, which gives her work a certain genuinity and passion impossible to duplicate. Haubert explains, “I love creating a new person, how they walk, talk, dress, and think, but I I’d have to say that the biggest thing for me always comes back to the story.”

So, speaking of story. What is the deal with this exceptionally ingenious, uniquely awesome Instagram page?

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Haubert is quick to answer. “@nutelluv started out as a laugh. I was joking with my friends about how I didn’t need a boyfriend because I had Nutella, and making fun of all the ridiculously sappy Instagram posts and captions that are out there. But then I started to think about it, and I thought…oh, it’s actually true. Nutella is always there when I need it, I’m always left satisfied, and plus, who doesn’t love a sweet Italian?”

“Everybody does love a sweet Italian,” I joke, but then Haubert comes back and hits me with some poetic truth. “I realised this could be a really interesting way to tell a story everyday within the confines of a photograph and short caption,” Haubert explains. “Many actors think that the work starts when you get the job, or when you get an audition. But I believe in doing something everyday towards an ultimate goal, even if it is small. I saw this Instagram idea as a potential storytelling platform where I could create my own character and stories. Plus, at the very least, it keeps my brain in the habit of refining an idea to its simplest form, which is a skill that helps in all my creative pursuits.”

Whimsical, brave, talented, motivated and committed, actress Ingrid Haubert is a shining example of everything a performer should be. With a presence undeniable, Haubert practices relentless determination and engages audiences across the globe, taking the bull by the horns, the jobs by the minute, and the Nutella by the pallet.

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Indian actress Natasha Khan Mayet wows International Audiences

Natasha Khan Mayet
Actress Natasha Khan Mayet shot by Melissa Simpson

Natasha Khan Mayet has always been driven to perform, but her refined and natural talents in acting leave a lasting and notable impression among audiences everywhere. From film to television to commercials and even on the stage, Mayet takes on a wide variety of characters, challenging herself and constantly proving her flexibility and skill. This, coupled with unduplicatable charisma and unparalleled beauty, make Mayet a highly sought after actress in the industry.

A native of South Africa born to parents from East India, Mayet has become known for her performances in the films “Trafficked,” “11:11,” “Three Suspects” and many more. Her work on the stage is equally as dazzling. She made a distinct mark in the eyes of audiences in Los Angeles when she took on the starring role of the Indian goddess Kali in the play “The Desperate Yogi,” presented at the prestigious Hollywood Fringe Festival. The story revolves around a man who has contracted HIV and travels to India to become a yoga instructor.

“I think this role challenged me as I discovered elements of the mother goddess in myself,” Mayet recalls.

“The Desperate Yogi” was chosen among Frontier Magazine’s favorite LBGT productions. In the play, the man gets to India and is met by gods and goddesses, who influence his path to finding the answers he is looking for. The play received raving reviews from audience members, who especially praised the performances of the deities. While it is understood that every show is, to a certain extent, an ensemble piece, it is undoubtedly in large part because of Mayet’s sincerity and believability as the two female goddesses, the mother goddess and the goddess of love, that the play was met with such success.

A robust and fruitful career in the industry has allowed Mayet to work with incredibly talented and renowned individuals. Natasha plays a critical role in the film “11:11” produced by internationally acclaimed producer and director Roxy Shih (“Dark Web,” “The Tribe”). She was cast in James Franco’s (“Pineapple Express,” “Spiderman”) “Mother May I Sleep with Danger” alongside celebrities such as Tori Spelling (“Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Scary Movie 2”). She can be seen in actor and rapper Machine Gun Kelly’s (“Nerve,” “Why Him”) music video “A Little More.”

Mayet says, “The music video is a comment on how obsessed with social media society has become.” She has also been directed by Ben Affleck in “Live by Night” and can be seen alongside Emmy Award winning actress Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “I Know What You Did Last Summer”) in one of ProActive’s current nationally airing commercials.

Speaking of Vampires, Mayet stars in the upcoming series “Vampire Academy,” where she plays Moira Ozera, an older vampire queen. In the series, Ozera plays the mother of acclaimed actor Justin David. Interestingly enough, Mayet had worked with David before, this time playing his love interest in Andrea Guzman’s “My Father’s Way.”

“That is the beauty of acting!” Mayet laughs, “And, since I am constantly working on my craft, training, and honing my skills, it is impossible for me to spend a day where I am not acting! Sometimes you play the girl next door, sometimes you play the villain. Sometimes you play up your age, and sometimes you play it down, but it all allows me to explore the different aspects of myself, to grow, and to constantly evolve.”

Mayet, highly intelligent and fluent in five languages, aspires to write and direct her own feature films. Until then, she is assisting other motivated filmmakers by acting in their projects. Mayet just wrapped filming the season “Office Girls,” a show based on Sylvester Steven’s novel of the same name, which stars a predominantly female cast.

“My character is Tazzy Lin, a meek character who is in charge of running things in the office,” Mayet explains. “I usually only choose to work on a project if it tells a story that is in some way important and conveys a message, and Tazzy, although meek on the surface, emerges as a strong woman with a story to tell as the series unfolds.”

Part of what makes one actor stand out from the rest is their dedication to their craft, and, in this field, Mayet absolutely shines.

“I live, breathe, and sleep acting,” Mayet admits. “I constantly feel like I need to be creating.

 

It is her pure love and commitment, along with her extensive training and, maybe most importantly, raw and natural talent which one simply cannot learn, that makes Mayet an actress to be talked about for many years to come.

Unstoppable Actress Karen Mitchell Makes Her Name Known Across Continents

Karen Mitchell
Karen Mitchell shot by Simon Watts

 

In what is easily one of the most competitive industries in the world, actress Karen Mitchell has managed to set herself apart from the pack through her unmistakable originality and the intuitive approach she takes in order to bring characters to life. With a deep reverence for authentic storytelling, Mitchell conveys characters both dark and light, lending herself entirely to the process and doing proper justice to both the role and the story.

Originally from Melbourne, Australlia, Mitchell’s love for acting began during childhood. The daughter of a professional dancer, Mitchell began dancing at the age of 3, and that is when her passion for performing began to flourish. She went on to attend the Victorian College of Arts School of Dance, and, while she developed a successful career in business and real estate soon after graduation, she continued to nurture her love for the performing arts.

Already equipped with years of professional training and a natural propensity for captivating audiences, Mitchell decided to lean entirely into her passion for acting a little over a decade ago, quickly booking jobs that undisputedly validated that she was on the right path.

Mitchell admits, “It’s such a rewarding experience to give life to words off a page that an audience can appreciate. I strongly believe that it’s the best way for me to do service to others: serving a story by using my feelings and my understanding of what it means to be human.”

While she works extensively in both TV and film, some of Mitchell’s most unforgettable work can be seen on major network television. Her performances in series such as “Behind Mansion Walls,” “Deadly Women,” “Facing Evil,” “Atomic Kingdom,” “It’s a Dole Life” and many more have definitely struck a chord with audiences– so much so that international fans continually reach out to her to comment on her work.

 

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Karen Mitchell as Twila Busby in the series “Facing Evil”

 

One such project that has brought her quite a bit of attention was the TV series “Nameless: Blood and Chains” where she stars alongside Dean Krywood from the films “Airlock,” “Damaged” and “Felony,” and Craig Walker from the multi-award winning film “Drown,” “In the Darkness” and “Rags.”

In the series five strangers, who are mysteriously linked together by their individual pasts, come together to forge an alliance in preparation for an impending war, with Mitchell giving a riveting portrayal as Catherine, a Queen-like character who oversees the war.

The actress admits, “People have been really supportive of my role in ‘Nameless: Blood and Chains,’ fans from all over the world, even in Serbia and South America, write to me on Twitter and Facebook and send letters to my managers saying how much they want to see more of me and how I should be on ‘Game of Thrones.’ I’m really grateful to generate such an enthusiastic fan response.”

One role where we really get to see the depth of Mitchell craft is through her macabre portrayal of Tracey Grissom in Investigation Discovery’s “Deadly Women,” where her performance is as complex as it is compelling. Since the series revolves around crimes committed by real people, a great amount of research was required to take on the critical role.  

“It was tricky balancing my understanding of the horrible crimes Tracey committed in real life so that I didn’t judge her,” Mitchell recalls, “It was important to me to play her character truthfully.”

While Mitchell was initially apprehensive about playing the part of a woman who’d murdered her allegedly abusive husband, she quickly came around to the idea. She recalls, “Ultimately, I felt compelled to be a part of the story so I could help shed light on such a controversial social issue.”

Mitchell, who has become increasingly well known for her dramatic performances both in Australia and abroad, has a brilliant comedic side to her as well. She put her flair for comedy on display when she took on the lead role of Megan, the love interest of Australian legend and Logie Award nominee Andrew O’Keefe (“Hamish & Andy,” “Big Bite”), in the laugh out loud series “It’s a Dole Life.” With the rare freedom to explore this tongue-and-cheek style on Australian television, Mitchell brings laughter to her fans with her impeccable timing, wit and unmistakable charisma.

Admittedly, comedy is one of Mitchell’s favorite category of work. She explains, “I’ve always been asked to employ my own unique personality into the [comedic] role, and that’s what audiences and critics respond to, being me! It’s funny how easy it might sound but it’s very difficult being yourself, being loyal to the script and making it all work together so that people laugh.”

While her intelligence, commitment and bravery have captivated audiences around the world, her dazzling beauty has helped make her a force to be reckoned with as a commercial actress as well. She has been the face of commercials for many companies including Coles, Lowes, Shark Sonic Duo and Commonwealth Bank.

Mitchell says that she is honored to be associated with so many successful companies. “People have always been so nice when they associate me with a brand,” she admits. “And, as I always choose to work with companies who share similar values to my own, I like to think it makes people think that they know me on a personal level.”  

Most recently, Mitchell shot a campaign for Channel 9, Australia’s number one network. Mitchell cannot help but share herself and her heart with whatever project she works on, and her genuine approach transfers effortlessly across the screen leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

Able to handle any role thrown her way, Mitchell brings grace and a personal, relatable touch to all the strong female characters she takes on. Her ability to deliver positive and impactful performances, which are as necessary as they are beneficial to modern audiences, keeps viewers across the globe looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

“I’m really passionate about making sure people embrace the positive aspects of life, and so I’m always conscious not to propagate harmful values by portraying people in a way that could be construed as endorsing their amoral behavior,” Mitchell explains. “That being said, sometimes playing antagonists and women who have committed crimes is a great way to draw attention to the world’s injustices.”

Film Review: “Dying to Live”

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Poster for “Dying to Live”

 

Director Ilya Rozhkov astounds again with his latest brilliantly executed film, Dying to Live, which was chosen as an Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival’s Court Metrage, as well as by the Manhattan Film Festival where it was nominated for Best Dramatic Short and the USA Film Festival Int’l Short Film Competition where it was the Runner Up for the Best Short Film Award.

The visceral story follows a young man, Jesse, on the day he learns of his terminal illness, and takes us on a journey that is somehow both deeply tragic, and, yet, joyously light.

The film opens at Jesse’s miserable workplace, a car lot, as he watches his co worker and love interest, Anne, proudly exit after she quits her job to travel to Paris. Played by the engagingly talented and strikingly beautiful Tammy-Anne Fortuin, Anne tries to convince Jesse to quit and come along. “We’re about to hit our 30s,” she argues. “If not now, when?” Bound by subtle and relatable hints of fear, Jesse obediently returns to work, only to lose consciousness in the breakroom shortly thereafter.

With exceptional attention to detail, the film takes us down the fluorescent hallways of the hospital and into a small office where Jesse is faced with his diagnosis for the first time. It is in this scene where any hope on Jesse’s face is shattered.  Actor Aleksander Ristic brings Jesse to life, really, during his confrontation with death, making the scene both too long, and not long enough.

Jesse is carted off to a shared room where he meets his roommate, George, played by actor John Colton (The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, Tosh.0)  An older man with a heart condition, George convinces an emotional and angry Jesse to live it up a little, and together, with the help of a bottle of booze hidden in a cut-out bible, they share moments of true happiness and an unlikely friendship on the roof of the hospital. This is where the cinematography of the film really shines, with everything in stillness, and faces hiding in just the right amount of shadow.

The next morning, when Jesse’s boss calls, he does what he’s always wanted to do: he quits over the phone. Jesse and George celebrate in a moment of real and genuine surprise and limitlessness when a nurse walks in, bringing the gravity of the situation back to earth. Rozhkov does an outstanding job bringing emotions up and down, without bruising the viewer. His sense of timing, and his ability to mix the perfect cocktail of comedy and depth, is simply not teachable.

Since Dying to Live is full of little twists and turns that bring what could be cliche into a category original and creative, we learn next that, during a medical scan, George has taken Jesse’s phone and text messaged Anne, saying he’d be over later that night. Unable to simply stroll out of the hospital on their own, George and Jesse make a casual exit dressed as doctors. They are chased out by an angry nurse when George clutches his chest and falls to the ground. Jesse speeds off to meet Anne in George’s old red Mustang, and as soon as the screeching tires are out of sight, George opens his eyes, smiles, and asks if Jesse got away.  George’s laughter takes the viewer through the credits.

The use of music throughout the film is chill-worthy, and producer Jainardhan Sathyan, along with Radhika Womack, do a noteworthy job ensuring the film stands as one cohesive project. Every setting is perfectly staged, every word is ideally written and delivered, and the overall concept is clear and powerful. The story, told with wit and grace, is an important one, and Sathyan makes sure it is told in the best way possible. The viewer is left with room to write the rest of the story, so to speak, all while feeling entirely satisfied with the story as told.

Such a topic of life and death can be hard to tackle, but Dying to Live is truly a gift to viewers in that every bit delivers compassion, depth, and humor with every scene, and leaves audiences feeling inspired.