Audie T. Rhodes, Esan Skeete, Shaun Malik, Rasheem Luchie, Sabine Simon, Oscar Lewis, Vanessa Denis, Cassandra Jeudi, Demetrius Haynes
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE
Written and directed by Mansu Edwards, Texting in New York City is an experimental 10-minute short film wrapped around a college student named Winnerbeme (Shaun Malik) who loses his cell phone while distracted by an attractive woman on a train station platform. The loss of the cell phone triggers a chain reaction ranging from amusing a downright bummer. Fredo (Oscar Lewis) finds the phone and texts Patricia (Sabine Simon), who thinks the text is simply a text from Winnerbeme's BFF, Wisdom (Esan Skeete). In another part of town, yet another scene unfolds. It goes on and on.
Does Texting in New York City actually work?
It's a curious little film, an intriguing idea by Edwards that was only recently completed and is getting set for its festival run. One of the curious but very true facts about low-budget indies is that they tend to be tweaked along their festival journey and, quite honestly, I have a feeling that Texting in New York City isn't quite complete in the tweaking department.
If it sounds like I'm intentionally trying not to bash the film, you're partially correct. The truth is that I enjoyed the idea of the film more than I enjoyed the actual film. Edwards has assembled a laid back, fun ensemble cast and there's a definite vibe going on with the film that I enjoyed quite a bit. The film is likely to experience most of its success on the microcinema circuit, where audiences tend to be more used to more fundamental sound and special effects that can be distracting for your more casual moviegoer. The film is companioned by a texting sound effect that, for me, turned the 10-minute experience into more of a gimmick than it needed to be. The effect wasn't particularly, well, effective and I got the sense the cast was more than capable of selling the story that Edwards was trying to tell.
John Morgan's lensing for the film is particularly effective, while I really did catch the vibe that Edwards is going for in the film. If I were sitting in a small theater somewhere during a block of similarly-themed shorts, I'd likely find myself respecting what Edwards is going for here even if it doesn't feel like it completely works.
Texting in New York City is actually filmed in New York City, a fact that gives the film a fresh, urban aura that feels perfect for the film. While the film's sound design is mostly comprised of its texting rather than the spoken word, the ensemble cast is clearly in touch with what Edwards is going for here and seems to be having fun with the project.
You can get a good sense of what I'm talking about here by checking out the trailer above, while you can also follow the film on its Facebook page linked to in the credits. If you get a chance, definitely check it out. Even when an experimental short doesn't completely gel, it's important to support these up-and-coming filmmakers. This is a promising short film and I look forward to seeing where Edwards goes to from here.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic