Highlight – The Runner

You still have almost a week (until the evening of 11/6 at 7:00 Central time) to enjoy the virtual festival—that’s about as long as some virtual festivals are online in total! I cannot believe how quickly this time has flown by. I’m still going to try to do capsule reviews of every film (am trying to learn brevity is a writing skill) and be sure to check out some great ones on the Director’s Club site which has been following closely as well for some ideas of what to watch: https://www.directorsclubpodcast.com/reviews/mentalfilmness2022. Of course, I recommend watching as many as possible while they’re still freely available!

Matthew Ferraro’s The Runner is a masterful and unflinching look at depression and suicide. The subject of the film gives a harrowing account of finding his mother’s body after an overdose when he was a small child. Unsurprisingly, when he grew up he later had to grapple with his own depression and attempt at suicide. With the help of friends, therapy, and all kinds of exercise, including running, the determined narrator was able to set himself on the path to healing. That distinction seems important to him: he repeats a couple of times “healing, not healed.” Maybe that’s part of the significance of running as well—not running from the past necessarily, but always making strides in the direction of who you want to be.

This is another one of those shorts that, as you can see, manages to pack a lot of ideas and information into a mere six minutes. One of the most impressive qualities of the short however is the audio-visual style and just how the story is told. The California Arts Council dubbed Ferraro’s unique form of art “orchestral journalism.” This is the first time he has used orchestral journalism to create a visual documentary and the blend of pre-recorded and symphonic sound along with photographs and ghostly images is a quite stunning sensory experience.

The Runner plays in Shorts Block No. 5 of the virtual festival until November 6th:


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