By CATHERINE HIGGINS-MOORE
On November 19 I walked four artfully grafittied blocks from my apartment, through biblical rain, past neighbourhood restaurants and construction sites boasting new high-rise apartments, to the sleek Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. I was there for the opening night of the sixth annual Williamsburg Independent Film Festival – a festival that boasted entries of over 220 films, shorts and features, submitted by writers and directors in twenty-five countries. The aim is to "nurture and celebrate new and independent filmmakers in the mecca of hipster and progressive culture, Williamsburg Brooklyn”.
Relieved to be inside, and out of what New Yorkers simply refer to as “weather”, I took my seat in time to catch the festival's opening short, In Transit, directed by Justin Van Voorhis. In Transit tells the story of two “unique individuals” who meet on a “fateful day” in a bus station. It was disappointingly saccharine; the script inchoate, the acting of the sort that makes leads in films you’ve never heard of on Netflix look Oscar-worthy. In film number two, We Just Met, directed by Khawaja Muneeb Hassan, it distracted me that the Irishman whose “surprise visit to his NYC girlfriend results in being snubbed, then inadvertently involved with a conniving, thieving fun loving female” was played by an antipodean. I waited for this to be explained; to be a plot point. It wasn’t. I waited for the female lead, short film’s answer to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, to morph in to more. She didn’t.