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The Yonkers Film Festival 2022 In Review

A summary of the films featured in this annual event taking place in Westchester.

Bonnie Mukherjee
Bonnie Mukherjee
December 27, 2022

The Yonkers Film Festival 2022 is an annual event that takes place not too far away from New York City: the city that never sleeps. This article is a summary and review of all the films that took place during the annual event.

Finding Courage

finding courage cover image

Finding Courage

Finding Courage is a short film that tells the story of a young Chinese woman who fled China and made a new life in San Francisco, California, United States. This movie has a strong representation of Chinese people, especially women. In this movie, we see many Chinese representatives, as the topics and themes revolve around the struggles of Chinese people in the communist government. The main conflict is the young woman, who is the main character and narrator, along with her friends from China, who are trying to make new lives for themselves in California, while their family members are in prison in China. There is archived footage of the riots that took place in Beijing. The reason the family members were arrested is that they meditate.

The hardships people face in mainland China show viewers the importance of respecting Asian-American culture and Asian Americans themselves. In addition, this movie alerts viewers about racist attacks against Chinese and other Asians in the United States. The dialogue is in Chinese and English; some Chinese dialogue includes English subtitles as translations.

The scenes alternate between China and San Francisco to show viewers what was happening between the two countries. This shows how Chinese immigrants struggle to make a new life in the U.S. The young woman was encouraged to stay in the U.S. so she can survive and share her family's wishes and legacy. The woman describes how the laws in China are different from the laws in the U.S.

Monster Heart

Mary Shelley knows her death is imminent. For her last birthday at the seaside, she invites Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron, and Ianthe Shelley, the orphaned daughter of her husband Percy and his first wife, Harriet. Old wounds re-open and heal again in a testament to feminine solidarity.

This short film in the Yonkers Film Festival shows a strong representation of women, as the topics and themes revolve around feminism and feminist ideas. The film Monster Heart has English dialogue and is produced in the United Kingdom. There is a reference to Ada Lovelace, as she was known for being the first woman to have published the first algorithm. Feminism is explored deeply as the setting takes place sometime in the early 1800s, a time period when women did not have rights. The women characters discuss how to heal a wounded heart. The "heart" is a metaphorical statement that represents life and death, physical pain, and fixing broken bonds during a tragic or serious event. There is no background music; the sounds emphasize the emotions.

For those who support the feminist movements, feminist ideas, and feminism itself, this short film captures everything.

Wake Up The City

Wake up the city cover image

Wake Up the City

This short film is an animated short produced in Taiwan with Taiwanese dialogue. The animation style is drawn in simple, 2D, black-and-white imagery. The topics and themes of this film are people holding onto favorite childhood memories, starting a new life while learning to let go of the past, and getting used to a new environment. The main character is a farmer who grew up on a farm raising chickens. As he grows older, he tries to start a new life in the city but finds himself missing the sounds of the rooster and wants to recreate his memories from his childhood.

The farming village symbolizes a person's hometown. As the narrator describes the farmer hearing some of the sounds when he's living in the city, viewers can infer that a person's hometown is a memorable place. The hometown is where the person grew up as a kid, went to school, and played with other children in the neighborhood. Some memories fade as time goes by, but some memories last forever. The chickens and the rooster symbolize how nature works and how people rely on nature to guide them.

The Piano

A 10-year-old girl named Anna hates pianos. It’s her birthday and her mother, a professional pianist, is away touring. So, when Anna’s father salvages an old, battered, upright piano she makes him lock it in the shed, but Anna is about to discover that the piano is not what it seems in this sweetly surreal story about the power of love and music.

From looking at Anna, viewers see that she cries over the fact that her mother is nowhere nearby, meaning she has a close bond with her mother. She also has a stubborn personality; she refuses to play the piano. The piano music plays an important role in this short kids' film, as it emphasizes storytelling. We see how music plays an important role in film and movies. The piano may look old and useless at first but surprisingly works as the notes play a wonderful sound.

The piano surprisingly moves on its own, following Anna around. The pacing and volume of the piano music increase as the film reaches its climax. This references the song that starts softly and slowly, then increases as the melody keeps playing over and over. The message is "the world will end, but love and music will go on".

Below the Rise

Filmmaker Massimo Soto journeys to Costa Rica to uncover the severity of the sea level rise. He quickly learns that the extent of its effects is significantly worse than originally presumed.

From looking at the cover of this short documentary film at the Yonkers Film Festival, we see the high ocean tides rising up the beach where the land and sea meet. The high tides are increasing in height; global warming is the main focus of this short film. The setting of Costa Rica emphasizes the theme of nature, as Costa Rica is well known for its natural beauty and horticultural setting.

Playtime

This short film is about a little boy, played by an African American actor, who wants to grow up quickly. The topics and themes of this short film revolve around being in the present, enjoying life as a young kid, and being grateful for what you have. Growing up is a challenge for many, and for this boy, it is no different. He thinks about what he wants to do in the future, worries about growing up too quickly or too slowly than his peers, and wants to get stuff because his other friends have them. The message is that everyone grows up at their own pace.

Conclusion

Yonkers Film Festival logo cover image

Yonkers Film Festival logo

The Yonkers Film Festival is a local event in Yonkers that is held annually and is recommended for those living in Westchester. If being in New York City is a hassle for some folks, this film festival is a great way for people to get involved both in person and virtually.

Of all the films that were presented at the event, Finding Courage and Wake Up the City show a strong representation of Asians, as shown through unique animation styles, topics related to events happening in Asia, and unique dialogue. Wake Up the City has an old-fashioned animation style that has become popular among viewers, as this animation style symbolizes the good old days. Monster Heart shows a strong feminist point of view. The Piano shows how music plays an important role in films and movies. Playtime emphasizes the important message of enjoying the days when one is young.