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The Independent Critic

Sarah Snook, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor and Indianna Gregg
Jennifer Perrott
23 Mins.

 "The Ravens" Picks Up Best Narrative Short at Heartland Film Fest 
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Australian filmmaker Jennifer Perrott's The Ravens picked up the prize for Best Narrative Short, along with its $5,000 prize and Oscar qualifying status, at the 2016 Heartland Film Festival's Awards Reception. 

A mesmerizing film and further proof of Heartland's widening of the scope of the extraordinary films that can fall well within the framework of its mission, The Ravens shares the powerful story of young Ruby (Indianna Gregg), whose father (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) returns unexpectedly from the war in a volatile state that makes it difficult for the family to reconnect. 

The film, making its U.S. Premiere at Heartland, was shot on location in Berry, NSW, Australia and weaves together D.P. John Brawley's exceptional lensing design with a script by Perrott that is poignant, insightful, aching and utterly captivating. 

As the young girl, Indianna Gregg infuses young Ruby with a vulnerability that makes you practically want to run up to her and wrap her in your arms, while Jeremy Lindsay Taylor's difficult turn as a father returning from war with PTSD is occasionally difficult to watch and always impossible to not watch. As the mother/wife struggling to hold it all together Sarah Snook is simply sublime. 

The Ravens is the kind of film that, very likely, would have been set aside a few years ago by Heartland Film Festival, a festival dedicated to celebrating the human spirit and the power of film to transform. This would have been a shame, of course, as the film fits picture perfect within the Heartland world and paints, amidst the wounds, an undeniable hopefulness and relentless optimism that we can love each other back to life. 

A deserving winner of Best Narrative Feature, in fact I'll dare say I'm quite excited about this win amongst several truly top notch shorts this year, The Ravens is early in its festival journey and should have a rewarding road ahead. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic