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The Independent Critic

Julia Parker, Ellen Gerstein, John Tague, Kruiz Mauga, Kelly Zirbes
Linda Palmer
Linda Palmer, Mark Craig
20 Mins.

 "Passage" Continues Having Success on the Festival Circuit 
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Co-writer/director Linda Palmer's 20-minute short film Passage is a rather straightforward film, yet it's still one that defies expectations and predictability and delivers a story that is both intimate and universal. In the film, Jessie (Julia Parker) has a difficult time dealing with her largely unappreciated advice offered by her eccentric mother, June (Ellen Gerstein). When circumstances require her to spend an extended period with her mother, Jessie suddenly starts to realize the true worth in her mother's unique yet valuable ways. 

Passage is the kind of a film one expects from indie director Linda Palmer, a filmmaker with 10 credits to her name going back to her co-directorial work on 2006's Diabetes and Me documentary. Palmer has long valued meaningful stories over typical cinematic fluff, her films most typically telling a meaningful story told in a simple yet beautiful manner. 

Passage is no exception, though the film also benefits greatly from a terrific ensemble cast led by the definitely dynamic duo of Parker and Gerstein, whose chemistry is warm and believable and who both deliver characters you wouldn't mind spending an awful lot more time with. Young Kruiz Mauga is also a gem here as Paris, Jessie's daughter, a young girl who seems to carry forth best traits of both her mother and, yeah, her grandmother. These three are a delight together, serving up emotionally honest performances that resonate quite a bit even as the story takes a wee bit of an unexpected, meaningful turn. 

Olivia Kuan's lensing is relaxed and natural, while Nami Melumad's original music operates as a comfortable companion to the film's generally easygoing tone. 

Passage is early in its festival run, however, the film has already picked up a slew of awards and nominations at IdyllWild International Festival of Cinema including picking up the prizes for Best Supporting Actress - Featurette (Gerstein), Best Child Actor (Mauga), and Marshall Hawkins Awards for Melumad's original score and the film's producing team. The film also had a handful of nominations at the acclaimed Idyllwild, a premiere fest for low-budget indies. 

Passage is the latest winner for Palmer, who seemingly gets a little bit better with each project and who started out as a pretty darn good director anyway. With this film, she cements her status as a wonderful indie voice for quality storytelling and the ability of film to make a difference. If you get a chance, you'll definitely want to check out Passage.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

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