Here are my reviews of the short films that screened during the Toronto True Crime Film Festival.
Maybe If It Were a Nice Room (Alicia K. Harris)
Maybe If It Were a Nice Room can be best described a visual poem, showing many different styles of rooms. Each line of the poem gets into more detail about the true crime that it is referencing and the result is an effective two minute reflection on a horrible act.
Traffic Stop (Kate Davis)
Traffic Stop is an Oscar nominated documentary short about Breaion King, an African American school teacher in Austin, who was unjustly arrested for a traffic violation. The entire disturbing event was captured on the arresting officer’s dashboard camera and is a shocking demonstration of racism and police brutality. The video of King’s arrest is contrasted with her personal story as first generation college graduate, with her accomplishments now distorted by this one horrible incident that now dominates all web searches for the name Breaion King.
42 Counts (Jill Gevargizian)
Two girls discover a shocking secret about the apartment they are renting from their boss. 42 Counts a short thriller inspired by a 2014 case in Kansas City. The film is quite well produced and is quite successful at building suspense. However, the film doesn’t really feel complete, with the plot just ending at one point and the conclusion to the story being given through postscript.
Don’t Be a Hero (Pete Lee)
Lizzy Jo (Missi Pyle) is a lonely middle-aged woman, who has adopted a hobby of dressing up as a cowboy and robbing banks during her lunch break. However, despite having some level of success, Lizzy Jo still has to deal with her lonely life. Reportedly inspired by true events, Don’t Be a Hero is a character study about a woman, who gets brief highs from robbing banks. The film is quite well-produced and has recognizable character actress Missi Pyle in the lead role. However, I admit to not fully connecting to the story, which is essentially all about how this woman lives in an unhappy post-robbery loop.