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The Independent Critic

Michael Stahler, Cynthia Bravo, Michael Keeley, Justine Herron, Rob Roy Cesar, Rayne Bidder, Oren Dayan, Marcos Esteves
Miguel Garzon Martinez
85 Mins.
To be determined

 "The Broken Legacy" Seeks Distribution After Fest Circuit 
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In Miguel Garzon Martinez's The Broken Legacy, award-winning Michael Stahler portrays Steven Stamos, a shy screenwriter whose first film has just bombed. When he gets the chance to volunteer with a group of fellow twentysomethings for a secluded trial of a new test drug, he takes the opportunity to get away for awhile and start working on a new script. 

Let's be honest. The basic premise behind The Broken Legacy isn't exactly an original one, though we're fortunate that Martinez has taken it in some unique directions by the end of his award-winning film. Having finished up its festival run, The Broken Legacy is moving toward an indie distribution and will hopefully be available in the near future. 

In the film, Steven meets Emily (Rayne Bidder), a pretty girl who is among the small group of guinea pigs locked away without outside contact for 30 days. An extreme introvert, Steven enlists help from the far more confident Tomas (Marcos Esteves), a philosphical egotist who is confident he can help Steven win Emily and will do so if Steven helps him by writing out a script idea he has. 

While The Broken Legacy has a few modest twists and moments of heightened tension, the truth is there's not too many places the film could go in a world where isolated survivors get outed as transgendered and a film like The Stanford Prison Experiment can show the mind-boggling impact of isolation and peer pressure in a similar situation. However, The Broken Legacy isn't necessarily trying to be earth-shattering cinema. It's trying to sell us a human interest story and, for the most part, it succeeds in doing so. 

Martinez has assembled himself a solid ensemble cast led by Stahler, who has picked up acting prizes for his performance here at the Gwinnett Center International Film Festival and the International Independent Film Awards. The Broken Legacy also picked up Best Feature Film at the Pasadena International Film Festivla and a handful of other awards in the International Independent Film Awards. 

D.P. Gonzalo Digenio's lensing is solid throughout the film's 85-minute running time, though the entire production is somewhat hindered by the film's rather sterile and intentionally unimaginative locale. As is often true in microcinema productions, The Broken Legacy is noticeably impacted by a hit-and-miss sound mix that occasionally makes for hard to hear dialogue and, in certain scenes, lessens impact of both dramatic and comic moments. 

The Broken Legacy is a solid indie effort from an up-and-coming director and makes me curious to see what he'll do next and what he'd do with a little more cash at hand. If you're a fan of inventive microcinema, you'd do well to check it out for yourself once Martinez lands a distribution deal. For more information on the film and to wait for that announcement, visit the film's official website linked to in the credits. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic