Friends of Mine
This is one of those films that just makes you happy that people like that exist. A wonderful, feel good film that makes you smile.
Hello everyone Kevin here with Film Fervor bringing you part three of the Fandependent film Festival. Today we will be discussing the third place winner of the festival, Matthew Palmer’s 2013 family documentary Friends of Mine.
Friends of Mine features the lives of two extraordinary young councilors (Jordan and Brian)as they work at a camp for developmentally challenged young adults and children. It focuses not only on how they helped the campers but on how they themselves grew as people with the help of their amazing friends they met during their summer internship. Friends of Mine to me is a very inspirational story and shows a respect for the human condition that is sometimes lacking in today’s nihilistic society and left me with a feeling of optimism for the human race. That said I found it very difficult to rate this film as it is not really a movie but a look at real people doing real things and how can one person judge another in such a situation?
From a production standpoint Friends of Mine is masterful work of professionalism that very few Independent documentaries manage to achieve. The Cinematography is crisp, clear and expertly shot. The camera is never shaky or more importantly intrusive into the lives of the young people working with campers. It shows what a truly dedicated and skilled operator can do when they care about the project they are working on.
The sound quality of Friends of Mine is also masterly done with none of the fades and drop offs that plague low budget independent films. Even when there were unexpected shifts in the decibels due to excited people experiencing new sensations they audio department kept it level and perfect. (A good thing as I always watch these movies with headphones on and there have been many times when I thought I was going to go deaf due to poor audio work.) The music used during Friends of Mine never felt overblown or just used for dramatic effect and always kept the film’s hopeful and cheerful tone at the forefront.
When I first loaded up Friends of Mine I was skeptical at best as many of the documentaries I have watched over the years have been dry and could barely keep my attention but it was not the case with this film. I myself use to work with special needs children (And young adults) and could really relate with Brian and Jordan’s experiences. When you are a high school student just hoping to get by with your community action points you have no idea what you are signing up for when you volunteer to work with Special Needs people. It can be very frustrating and difficult to work with people who may not even be able to speak with you in a verbal capacity and it takes a special kind of person to look past themselves and really dig deep to find a way to make these amazing people happy. When they first introduced themselves I had an instant dislike for Jordan who to me came off as a pompous and arrogant teenager who didn’t really care for his camper and was more worried about his image. I have to admit I didn’t think he had what it took and wrote him off as a lost cause but watching him grow into a responsible adult who not only stopped looking inwardly at himself but genuinely grew to care for his camper filled me with joy as I deeply care about special needs people and now I truly admire this young man and the growth he showed.
Friends of Mine is a very heartwarming tale that is very much worth watching not only from a production standpoint but as a life lesson that every young man or woman should be shown. While it is not a film for entertainment it was in my opinion truly worthy of the third place nomination it received from Fandependant Film Festival and I very much look forward to director Matthew Palmer’s future work. I give Friends of Mine a very well deserved five out of five stars due to it’s educational nature and flawless execution production wise.
Check out the film here: http://www.friendsofminefilm.com/