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The Independent Critic

Constance Towers, Brooklyn Rae Silzer, Samantha Colburn, Cassidy Mack, Kristina Wagner
Joe Crump
Joe Crump, Rachel Noll
89 Mins.

 "The Storyteller" Screens at 2017 Heartland Film Festival 

The love of an enchanted young girl brings wonder and healing to a broken family in Joe Crump's warm and winning family drama The Storyteller, one of the 2017 Heartland Film Festival's Indiana Spotlight films that is not only directed by Indy native Crump but also features Crump's sister, Kristina Wagner, a Northwest High School grad and former IUPUI student who chased the big dream and snagged with her long-standing role as Felicia on television's General Hospital. 

Already proving to be wildly popular on the film fest circuit with screenings at nearly a dozen festivals with several more lined up, The Storyteller centers around a young girl, Abby (Brooklyn Rae Silzer, General Hospital) who is on the run from a mysterious past and guided by a fairy that only she can see. Welcomed, at least sorta welcomed on a temporary basis, into the home of Maggie Stevens (Samantha Colburn, Best Night Ever) and her daughter, Jen (Cassidy Mack). Filmed on location in Indianapolis and Fishers, a rarity given Indiana's continued misguided lack of a tax credit for filmmaking, The Storyteller is accurately described by the filmmakers as "a women-centric, multi-generational film and a fascinating exploration of reality and the true definition of family." 

The film lives and breathes on the central performance of young Brooklyn Rae Silzer as Abby. Fortunately, Silzer is more than up for the task and gives the film a heartfelt naturalism that draws you into her story even if you don't know exactly what her story is going to end up being. Silzer is surrounded by a terrific cast, as well, including Samantha Colburn's cold turned warm performance as Maggie, Kristina Wagner as Dr. Gordon, and the remarkably charismatic James Snyder as John Griffin. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Cassidy Mack, whose own story of spending her early years in the foster care system before being adopted at the age of six adds a layer of depth and meaning to her top notch work as Jen. 

The Storyteller has captured a couple of significant prizes along its festival journey including the PAGE International Screenwriting Award and Best Family Feature at Lady Filmmakers Festival. 

The Storyteller isn't necessarily the kind of film that wins a slew of awards, yet it's the kind of film that leaves you feeling better as you leave the theater than when you entered it. Intelligent and inspiring, The Storyteller will also screen at the following upcoming festivals - Twin Cities Film Festival, Orlando Film Festival, Southern City Film Festival, and Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. For more information on the film, visit its official website linked to in the credits. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic 

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