Thursday, October 15, 2020

One Story Up Episode 1: Cherish Review: A Beautiful Expression

Release date: October 15, 2020
Running time: 24 minute episodes
Starring: Roger Ross Williams, Terrance Day

Roger Ross Williams, the first Black director to win an Oscar, hosts ONE STORY UP, an illuminating monthly series that showcases some of the most talented emerging directors and underrepresented voices in film. The series presents one short film per month, handpicked by Williams, who introduces each episode and then returns for a discussion with the filmmaker. The films in the series cover an important range of topics, from coming-of-age stories on race and class, to chronicles of growing up Black in the South, all from exciting up-and-coming filmmakers.

The first episode is a short film with little dialog called Cherish: A Visual Poem.  The main character Cathedral attends weekly prayer services held in his family home where he witnesses intense displays of worship. Cathedral's imagination is ignited by what he perceives to be attempts at flight. And he is overcome by a deep-seated desire to break from his mundane reality and experience the miraculous.  The film is a beautiful one with some really great camera work and a charming at times, powerful at other times aesthetic.  Filmmaker Terrence Day crafts a visual short story, where everything going on is explained through context clues and expression rather than any dialog or explanation.  It is an interesting experience but one that might not be for everyone.  Although the film is a beautiful vision, it is light on much of what makes you connect to a film.  At least for me, I appreciated being given a window into Cathedral's world, but it was too short of a window and without the dialog it was tough to connect.  

But I love the idea of this series and the focus on highlighting underrepresented filmmakers to give them a shot to pursue their dreams.  And after the short film concluded, host Roger Ross Williams had a great conversation with Day about the short film and what his motivations were.  You really get a lot of insight from even this short conversation, which both shows how important the conversation was but also highlights why some additional discussion in the film itself might have helped at least me understand the movie.  But overall the series looks to fill an important void in Hollywood with the ability for young and underrepresented filmmakers to let their visions come to life.

One Story Up Episode 1: Cherish is a visual short story and conversation with the filmmaker that highlights why this series is such an important one.

Rent it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube.   One Story Up: Episode One premieres on Topic Thursday, October 15.

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