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Three Days At The Movies-Snake Alley Film Festival

By Virginia Ross

Wow! Three great days of short, independent films-the Snake Alley Film Festival at the Capitol in downtown Burlington, Iowa!

I had gone last year and realized what an opportunity the festival offered-a chance to, perhaps, preview tomorrow's famous stars, directors or producers as well as an opportunity to view the world through a different lens. From a narrowed down selection of 300 films, 85 were shown in segments for three days. Burlington and the festival were on film festival map.

Coming from around the world (Germany, Australia, Turkey, Canada, Iran, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Singapore, Israel as well as the USA) they all had something to say. First of all, I did not see every one-I missed four sessions, but here are my opinions on what I saw. European films (Germany, UK and France) love "pain and hardship and love to suffer," but generally, the backgrounds are great scenery tours. (Thank you, Dr. Jones who spent half of my Shakespeare class at the University of Missouri reviewing movies and emphasizing the importance of the set and props.)

Many films addressed society's problems straight on-"Black Irish"(discrimination and standing up for your beliefs), "Bishtar Dz Do Sant" (social mores in Iran that causes a young woman to commit suicide), "Intersection" (relationship of parent and child and their own secret lives)," Just a Favor" (bulling and how trading favors has unforeseen consequences), "Little Buddies" (the importance of having someone in your corner), "Sahashi Chori" (how an unsuspecting girl is lured to the big city by promises of exciting lifestyle and money and in reality is given into prostitution) plus many more. At times you are riveted to your seat wondering how it will all turn out.

Oh, yes, there were comedies too-"Being Frank" (the perils of being a replacement mailman) and "Felix (every action has a reaction)-just two of many.

Using animation in "The Rose of Turaida" the filmmaker told a true story set in 17th century Lavia of the tragic tale of lovers.

Here are my picks of the best that I saw (remember, I did not see all of them).

"Sahashi Chori" and "Little Buddies" (described above), "Far" (a science fiction tale of a man who goes on a date with a young woman from outer space; at times it was really funny), "Any Moment Now" (a crime story with a twist in the end), and "Paper People" (a suicidal U. S. Marine is saved by a young girl and in turns saves her).

So many more films and each had a story to tell. Plan to attend next year and expand your mind.