Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I was able to catch last night a special screening of American Falls which is a short film directed by Bé Garrett based on a short story by Barry Gifford.  Director/Co-Writer Bé Garrett was there along with several of the Producers, Set Decorator, Composer, Costume Designer, and two of the cast members in Curtiss Cook and Taishi Hosokawa for a Q&A after the film.

The run time of the film is approximately 30 minutes and will hit various certain movie festivals.  The hope by the Director and Producer is that it gets picked up for a feature film.  I hope it does as well, because even though I wasn't expecting it to be so short, I really enjoyed the film.  Prior to attending the screening I tried to find more info on the film.  Aside from their own website,, there just isn't much information or buzz  on the internet aside from the synopsis of the film.

The synopsis reads...
"In a rural town in Southern Idaho a Japanese-American family owns and operates a small motel. The year is 1965, the height of the Civil Rights Era. One night a stranger sporting 'city clothes' checks in, the first Black man that Toru Suzuki's children have ever seen. Yoshiko, Toru's precocious 13 year old daughter, takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of this man, especially after two detectives come knocking on their door in the middle of the night." 

I have nothing but praises for the film from the cinematography, to the actors, to the set pieces and costumes.  The only thing I can complain about is the length.  The story and characters are so interesting, you wish that the run time was longer so certain questions can be answered.  As such, a lot of things are left for interpretation to the viewers as I'm sure was to the readers of the original short story it was based on.

As part of the Q&A, you learn a lot about how the film was put together.  That it was through Bé Garrett's internet savvy wife that led the crowdfunding effort to back the film.  They discussed about the necessity to film the motel from two separate locations (New York and California) to get the right look of the motel environment.  They also discussed the type of camera they used (Panavision Genesis) and the use of single camera set up as suppose to multi.  Actor Taishi talked about how this was his first film role and that his mother had signed him up for auditions.  The rest of the guests also talked about how they came to this project.  Amazingly, the entire approximately 30 minutes of film took about 6 days to film.  It seems half of the crew was brought together by Bé Garrett, and the rest by Producer/Co-Writer Josh Liveright.

Overall, if you have a chance to view it, I would highly recommend it.

Rating 4.0 Stars out of 5.0 Stars.

There is no recommended age group rating or release date at this time.  It is suitable for all ages in my opinion.




  • Kazumi Aihara as Maiko
  • Louis Ozawa Changchien as Toru
  • Curtiss Cook as Charles Bone
  • Sean Cullen as Detective Poole
  • Vincent D'Onofrio as Detective Foster
  • Amy Fujioka as Yoshiko
  • Taishi Hosokawa as Miki

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