The Effect of the Uptown Film Festival

     By TEACHED intern Zachary Dorcinville

Justice, self-healing, and cultural expression were some of the main themes along with many others presented at the inaugural Uptown Short Film Festival last month in Harlem, NYC. I walked into the theater with my expectations through the roof, however they were still shattered by the impactful vibe of all of the films.

One of the short documentary films centered around a woman who was sexually molested as a child and terrified of being involved in a relationship ever since. In search of a solution for her chronic depression and anxiety, Anita Kopacz turned to alternative therapeutic interventions and self expression, conquering fear and opening herself up to healing. This film sent a strong message to others who have been in a similar circumstance.

The film that left the biggest mark on me however was "Think of Calvin", a short film by Loudspeaker Films' Kelly Amis about the harsh reality of racial profiling for African Americans (you can watch the trailer here). As the film progressed, I was easily able to identify with the crowd which was mesmerized by the provocative and surprising story. As facts were presented at the end of the film, there was a chilling effect felt throughout the crowd, me included. Film director Kelly Amis received a well deserved second place trophy at the end of the festival, and as an intern I was honored to walk up and congratulate her in a big moment.

 From left, Michelle Thomas, Angelica Flowers, Kelly Amis and Zachary Dorcinville.

From left, Michelle Thomas, Angelica Flowers, Kelly Amis and Zachary Dorcinville.