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Sundance Film Festival 2013 Recap: Directors to Watch

Entertainment 11 Feb 2013   »   by TheWhatItDo


Kahlil Joseph
“Until The Quiet Comes”
Sundance Film Festival
Short Film Special Jury Award

The visually stunning “Until The Quiet Comes” depicts a hauntingly beautiful portrait of Los Angeles’ Nickerson Gardens projects. With its wide overhead views, underwater footage, and vibrant night shots, the production value of director Kahlil Joseph’s film surpasses that of ordinary online videos and evokes a truly cinematic experience.

Hailed as an experimental music video, “Until The Quiet Comes” is truly an homage to the album of the same name by musician Flying Lotus.

Its climax and Joseph’s stylistic pièce de résistance is the film’s final sequence, which shows what appears to be a soul dancing its way through death and leaving behind the life that likely struggled as a resident of one of Los Angeles’ roughest housing developments.

A mother braces her child and shields him from the horror that is a man lying in a pool of blood. Three boys listlessly stand to her right fixed in the direction of the corpse.

All the while death gently brushes past them.

It is in these final moments where it becomes evident that this scene is not a flashback but rather a dying man’s exquisitely choreographed last breath.

And it is also here where Joseph poetically reveals a mystical truth.

That is, even in death there is beauty.

Directed by Kahlil Joseph, “Until The Quiet Comes” features music by Flying Lotus. To view the film and a list of full credits visit

Erin Li
“To The Bone”
Slamdance Film Festival
Official Selection

Beautifully crafted, “To The Bone” portrays an intimate day in the life of a migrant farm-working family of three — a father and his two young children, who work days as long as his. Valencia, a defiant 11-year-old, walks a fine line as both the caretaking older sister and rebellious pre-teenager.

The film’s bucolic establishing shots perfectly place viewers in the middle of a vast vegetable farm. Valencia is seen wading in a row of leaves, her face dirtied from the beets she’s pulled and piled into her wooden crate.

There is a sweet sadness in the juxtaposition of a young child set against a farmland setting. If only she was roaming the fields to play, the scene would be sweeter. It is here where Li’s narrative takes shape.

Due to loosely-regulated labor laws for agriculture, children as young as 12-years-old are allowed to work with little oversight and limits outside of school hours. When a labor inspector arrives at the farm, Valencia’s father instructs her and her brother to lie and say that they’re 12-years-old, if asked their ages. Like most defiant children, Valencia disobeys her dad, yet unlike many of her peers the consequences are severe.

The harsh result of her choice suddenly hits Valencia in the heartbreaking final scene as the family walks down a long, dirt road at sunset. At this moment she learns that they must find work and a home elsewhere, and the viewer learns that the film is more than a reflection on labor laws.

It’s an exquisitely-executed, tragic tale of the sacrifices that such families endure in order to survive.

Inspired by events about child migrant farm workers, “To The Bone” was one of six films greenlit by Film Independent for its Project:Involve Fellowship. Li, a Project:Involve Directing Fellow, is currently developing a feature film based on her previously acclaimed short, L.A. COFFIN SCHOOL.

Review By: Sela Foukimoana
Twitter: @selaviie

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