Me wearing my press pass on the 2nd night of the festival

I arrived at Staller to attend a showing of Fort McCoy on the second night of the film festival, and as I waited for the film to begin, I did some research on my iPhone to see what the film would be about.

Upon finding out that it was another film about the Holocaust, I began having doubts.

The film that I’d seen the night before, though incredible, had dealt with the Holocaust and had completely drained my capacity to withstand emotional torment.  I had been feeling sick all day, and could not bring myself to sit through the entire film feeling sick and sad at the same time, so I did something incredibly rude and left about five minutes into the movie.

To be perfectly clear, my leaving had absolutely nothing to do with the film itself.  The few minutes that I did see of it, and the fact that the film’s creator and some of its cast members were in the audience, actually made me want to stay to see more; but feeling sick and depressed at the same time is not enjoyable, so I just wasn’t in the mood to sit through another heavy movie.


I did, however, stay long enough to watch the short film that was featured before the movie.  The 3-minute film was one made by Kristi L. Simkins and titled “Something Special.”  It tells the story of a young war veteran who travels to New Zealand to experience the natural world, and is reminded of a fellow war veteran who had urged him to explore New Zealand before he was killed.  The 3-minute film depicts the internal flashback of its main character, played by New Zealand actor Dan Musgrove, through dialogue and sound.

After the showing of the short film, its director took to the stage to answer questions about it.  One audience member asked her whether she considers herself a spiritual person (because of the conclusion of the film, at which its character looks to the sky to communicate with his late friend.)

Simkins said that she would say that she is spiritual, but not necessarily religious.  This was interesting to me because it made me think about what it means to truly believe in something.  I think that it’s important to believe in something, whether it is religion or not.  I think that believing in something makes us better people; I think it allows us to lead more fulfilling lives.

As the film’s protagonist grapples with the idea that he is enjoying the breathtaking atmosphere of New Zealand without his former companion, he hears the voice of his friend in his head.  It seems as if he decided to finally travel to New Zealand in honor of his former friend.  He seems to be living his life differently because he has been given a chance, and his friend has lost his.  If looking at life in that way is not spiritual and hopeful, I’m not sure what is.


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