Among Wolves: A Film that Builds Tension In Slow but Structured Pacing

AMONG WOLVES is a film depicting the struggle to heal after conflict and post traumatic stress disorder.

The Wolves are a multi-ethnic motorcycle club led by Bosnian War veterans. In the mountains where they once fought, they now defend the threatened herd of wild horses with whom they once shared the front line.

In helping others, they discover a sense of liberty that heals themselves as they make amends to their society. In cooperative humanitarian mission, they and emerge from the pain of war.

Jennie Kermode at Eye For Film has called this work visual poetry, Alex Salivev has called it “a statement on achieving redemption in a seemingly doomed place.”  John DeFore in his Hollywood Reporter review called scenes from Among Wolves “psychic soothing.”  All three positions represent significant descriptions detailing what it is to engage with PTSD or traumatic moments and come out on the other side a little stronger.

I would additionally describe the film as “a visually pleasing work that lends itself to immense emotional release.” The colorist and DP rendered images that are full of saturated coloration in a pleasing way despite its gritty stylings and seemingly ugly moments.

In this sense, Shawn Covey has created a film that builds an excellent amount of tension in slow, but structured pacing.

After sold out screenings (all of them) and winning the prestigious Chicago Award at its Chicago International world premiere, AMONG WOLVES has spent two years screening to great audience approval at festivals spanning 4 continents and has been awarded Best Director, Best of Fest, and Triumph of the Human Spirit.

Chicagoans still have time to see it at Music Box Theater on Wednesday Feb 13 and 14 as part of a special “and Friends” event featuring related films on themes that portray the complicated emotional nature of masculinity.

Saving Brinton chronicles Michael Zahs’ journey to preserve cinematic history.

SavingBrintonWeb

A small-town Iowan collector cum hoarder, Michael Zahs, attempts to attract as much attention as he can to a treasure trove of American cinematic history in Saving Brinton — a documentary that chronicles his journey to share the contents of a box carelessly marked “Brinton Crap” found in a basement of a farmhouse in 1981.

When it comes to works that document a fanatic’s concern with details, that other people might have a harder time grasping (think Strad Style) this offering blends some awkward moments of rejection with moments of great reception from just the right audiences.

Tommy Haines and John Richard create a straightforward storytelling style makes this documentary one that delivers the facts with just a bit of wry humor.

The technology presented in Saving Brinton is fascinating. There are color projections and moving pieces that seem almost too advanced and complicated for the 1800’s that the Brintons were screening for sold out audiences across the American Heartland — that in many cases were a person or town’s first exposure to the moving picture.

But, unfortunately for Zahs, it seems people aren’t as interested in the minutiae of Victorian history as they used to be, unless they’re academics or film fanatics. The film literally depicts someone walking out on him as he’s explaining the painstaking detail of a Brinton production. Perhaps it’s a bit passe to be in love with the fruits of colonization that excluded other groups these days, even when they’re technological advancements. Maybe it’s just hard to capture an Iowan’s imagination.

I don’t get it. I’m certainly fascinated.

Zahs eventually makes some traction with the public once he screens the films at the oldest continually-operating cinema in the world — where they originally once did. That’s a long journey for films that almost made it to a dump if it weren’t for his intervention.

This offering out of Northland Films can currently be seen in Texas on Saturday 10/7 as part of Dallas VideoFest DocuFest.