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The Independent Critic

 2012 Heartland Film Festival: A-Z Reviews, Vol. 19 
One Split Second (12 Mins., Doc Short)

This inspiring 12-minute short will touch the hearts of anyone who has had a personal encounter with the devastation of cancer. Directed by Erica Henry, One Split Second shares the very special project of photographer and cancer survivor Leah Hoskins, who gives back to the cancer community by offering free photo sessions to families with terminal illnesses.

As someone who myself has long resisted photos and video as part of my own outreach efforts, largely a result of body image issues from my own disability, I found myself shedding more than a few tears at watching the way that Henry brings this story simply yet honestly to life in the matter of the film's twelve-minute running time.

Our World Inside Out: Brazil (20 Mins., Doc Short)

Directed by: Isabela Alzuguir

Taking a journey through Brazilian cities, U.S. photographer Alyssa Miserendino has been capturing images of abandonment represented by homes in foreclosure in her own country. This film documents the expansion of her project into a worldwide endeavor and, of course, this 20-minute short doc's focus is on her work in the nation of Brazil.

Directed by Isabela Alzuguir, Our World Inside Out: Brazil is a fascinating project if not a particularly fascinating short film. The film may very well have strong appeal for those with an interest in historic preservation or urban planning, but for most the film will feel more like a photographic essay than a short film. This isn't particularly a bad thing, but one can only hope that when the project becomes more fleshed it the film follows suit.

Passion (4 Mins., High School Film Team Competition)

Directed by: Lawrence North High School

In Lawrence North High School's entry into the High School Film Competition, a high school senior is torn between signing his national letter of intent for college baseball and pursuing his dream of professional ping-pong. Essentially a four-minute journey into that challenge that many of us face when choosing between going after our dreams and facing reality, Passion would have likely been a far more thought-provoking and emotionally satisfying film had the dilemma itself been fleshed out just a tad more. While the issue itself is certainly not worthy of a full-length feature, Passion journeys to the heart of the matter quickly and never really gives the audience a chance to truly feel our young man's passion.

Past Their Prime (23 Mins., Doc Short)

Directed by: Becca Friedman; OFFICIAL FACEBOOK

I couldn't stop thinking about my friend and fellow film critic Gina Wagner while watching the inspired and endearing 23-minute short film Past Their Prime, a film about geriatric zoo care at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium that focuses upon 55-year-old Colo, the oldest living gorilla in captivity.

Animals are Gina's things, probably to what I'd consider a ridiculous amount but, I'm sure in her eyes, it's not nearly enough. Watching her with animals is a spiritual experience, a realization that man and animals are irrevocably woven together in the universe and we really should treat each other more compassionately. Past Their Prime is really a love song to these elder animals, animals who are past their prime and, perhaps in most people's eyes, past their usefulness.

Past Their Prime is a film that will make you think and make you feel and make you, hopefully, appreciate more fully the world around you and the animals with which we share it.