Film Review by Taylor Cox
I cannot help but feel a sense of familiarity with director Matthew Charof’s work. As a film maker, my personal goal in any project, is to achieve an emotional response from my viewers that can transcend age, race, and social class. And with this goal, lies a lifetime of fine tuning one’s craft. For accomplishing such a feat, can never truly be mastered, but only refined over time.
At first take, SCØUT, or the Mysterious Traveler who has Amnesia could be categorized as an art film. This short film breaks the Hollywood model of conventional storytelling. Charof establishes rich emotion by utilizing sound, visual dream-like sequences and carefully selected narrative, in a style that is unique to him. That being said, there are moments in the film when we ask ourselves, “What is going on?” This however, is what I find to be the most endearing element of this film. It has the ability to evoke feelings, which cannot be described in traditional storytelling. This is not easy to do. Like life, the tragedies such as depression and mental illness, cannot be summed up into a black and white picture. I find the scales of gray in the overall film, to be a more honest and real depictions of these said “life circumstances” than we typically see in the Hollywood model of filmmaking. We can all personally attest to, or have family members who have experienced similar matters in life.
To the soulful and powerful delivery of this short, we can certainly credit first time Producer/ Actor, Zachary Murdock as a major contributor. His musical album titled, SCØUT, was a direct inspiration in the collaboration of this film. And along with Charof’s evident experience as director, Murdock’s music, and bravely vulnerable performance, volleys the story off of the screen and into the heart of the audience.
The film is being presented by, Channel the Sun. Their brand aims to invite a blend of artists with various skill sets to come together for the creation of original and inspiring content. I feel that in reviewing their recent works in music, and now film, the trend is to cultivate creative freedom for artists. There is an open forum for diverse artists to get together and build, with an emphasis on learning from one another. This film is a clear testament for that model as it was built from the ground up with no money or traditional resources.
In closing SCØUT, or the Mysterious Traveler who has Amnesia, invites the sad, the challenging, and the wild sides of our lives, back into the light where it belongs. So instead of avoiding these problematic phases, which cause pain and suffering, we can begin to embrace and draw from them the gifts that they may present to us. This film is a rare feather to be added to Charof’s hat that he can be proud to wear.
The film is premiering today at THE AUDIENCE AWARDS. You can watch it there as well as vote for it as best film at the festival.
Written + Directed by: Matthew Charof
Story by: Matthew Charof and Zachary Murdock
Produced by: Matthew Charof, Zachary Murdock, Krista Worby
Executive Produced by: Jonathan Yaniv
Director of Photography: Matthew Charof, Htat Htut, Powell Robinson
Editor and Sound Designer: Matthew Charof
Production Designer: Jessica Labarbera and Jake Vantiger
Sound Mixer: Will Whatley
Original Music by: Zachary Murdock
Scout: Zachary Murdock
Nessa: Annabelle Cousins
Young Nessa: Alexandra Lenarchyk
Mom: Liz Samuel
Production Companies: The Eliot Agency + Whiteboard Pictures
Presented by: Channel the Sun