This guy is crazy talented!

by Martin Hafer

I’ve written several articles about films I saw at the recent Orlando Film Festival.  Well, in the case of Super Hero Hotline, it played at the festival but I didn’t get to see it.  I wanted to, but with six theaters playing films at the same time, it’s inevitable I’d have to skip some of the films.  So, I contacted the filmmaker, Miles Levin, and asked if I could have access to his movie.  After watching Super Hero Hotline, I was impressed and wanted to do a very short write-up–short because the film is really too short to merit a lengthy review.  It’s exceptional but only a few minutes long.    Good…but a film that leaves you wanting more.

Since Miles Levin is a 20 year-old filmmaker, so I assumed that this was his first film–and a terrific first film it would be.  Little did I know that he was a very precocious teenager and actually began making his first movie, a full-length one at that, beginning the project at age 15!  Most teen movies consist of short posts on YouTube of someone throwing up or someone riding their bicycle into a tree or a drunk guy burping the alphabet.  These are not exactly cinematic masterpieces and certainly not what anyone would consider a movie.  But Miles made a 75 minute film along with several shorts in between Project: User and Super Hero Hotline!  He directed, wrote and produced a film…an entire full-length film!  Is it the best film I’ve ever seen?  No…it’s rough and could stand improvement.  But for someone completely self-taught, it’s actually pretty amazing…and the movie has some interesting plot elements and most of the acting is pretty decent.  And it’s ironic that the movie is about, of all things, a pair of precocious teenagers!  It seems fitting and is worth seeing if you are willing to cut it a bit of slack and can appreciate just how much he’s achieved with Project: User.

So what about the rest of Levin’s work?  Well, some of it is absolutely brilliant, these are all short films.  This makes sense, as for a young filmmaker wanting to make a good impression, these sorts of movies are perfect for film festivals and to show to investors.  My favorite of his short films is the terrific short The Hipster.  While it’s less than three minutes long, I have never laughed so hard as when I watched this clever film.  I loved it so much that I almost immediately got my wife to watch it and she loved it as well.  In fact, I enjoyed it even more than Super Hero Hotline….and I loved this film!  His Maize Runner, by the way, it also great fun and can be viewed below.

The bottom line is that you’ve got a young man who has already done more than most budding filmmakers who are quite a bit older.  And, not just more, but it’s very, very impressive stuff.  I sure hope Miles considers entering The Hipster in some film competitions as well–it’s a real audience pleaser.  What’s next for him?  I have no idea but I am sure he will build on these successes and create films that will be even better….which won’t be easy, as his last few films were awfully good.  Below are brief description of two of his latest projects, my favorites Super Hero Hotline and The Hispster.

Super Hero Hotline

This silly short begins in a dark room with a woman tied up and gagged–about to be blown up by a time bomb.  Using her foot to dial a phone and eventually being able to remove her gag, she does what any potential victim would do….she calls the Super Hero Hotline.  Unfortunately, it’s late in the evening and all the good superheroes are out on other calls so they send their only hero who isn’t busy…Blind Man.  However, this is no Daredevil…this guy really is blind…very blind.  How he eventually finds the place to help the woman, I have no idea but once there he isn’t much good–especially when he’s told by her to ‘cut the red wire’!  Is Blind Man able to save his first victim or will she have to save him or will they both be blown to bits?  Find out when you watch this odd little film which looks into what it really would be like to be a blind hero!

The Hipster Click here to watch

This simple film is like a nature documentary, with an appropriately stuffy narrator describing a hipster, ‘homo sapiens alternatis’, in his natural environment.  The subject is out in the woods thinking philosophical thoughts and acting cool–complete with a hipster beanie and all the hipster paraphernalia.  I laughed because the short addresses so many of the hipster clichés and includes references to Portland, Oregon as well as vinyl records!  Very clever.

Here are two more short films:

Project: User: Click here to watch
Maize Runner: Click here to watch

A Life of Your Choosing from Miles Levin on Vimeo.