by Martin Hafer
I am currently attending the Gasparilla International Film Festival and one of the advantages of doing this is because you get to see a lot of small pictures. What I mean by this is that in addition to showing the big-budget extravaganzas from Hollywood, this festival gives you a chance to see quite a few independent films that might otherwise slip between the cracks…independent films that are shockingly good. A great example is last night’s debut of Waiting on Mary. This film was shot by a young director, Corey Horton, mostly over a period of two weeks! This was simply because it’s expensive to make a full-length film and he had to work quickly and economically. As far as the actors go, they were mostly local talent–folks who generally appear in local community theater. But here is what I loved….the film was still very, very good…better than most films I usually get a chance to review. I just hope that Waiting for Mary gets some attention and backing, as it really deserves to be seen outside of this and the Sunscreen Film Festival where it will play again at the end of April.
The film begins at a strange place for Florida, Jamestown Park. This park is a replica of colonial America and the folks working there all appear in period costumes and stay in character. One of these folks, Nathan (Brian Shea), is having a horrible day. Apparently the park is failing and his boss informs him that he’s being let go. To make matters worse, as he’s leaving work he stumbles upon his wife having sex with another man. This is a very rough way to discover she wants a divorce! Does he handle this by exploding or falling apart? No…he handles it by staying in character. This woman is not his wife, so he hasn’t been betrayed. And, he has not lost his job…he’s still Nathaniel…an 18th century American patriot!
Throughout the rest of the film, Nathan’s parents are naturally concerned and send him to meet an emissary from their colony….in other words, a psychotherapist! Throughout their sessions, he insists that he’s an emissary from the colony of Jamestown Park and that all this strange technology he sees about him are because this ‘other colony’ (in essence, modern America) is just more advanced than his beloved Jamestown Park. He also insists that a ship, the Mary, will one day return to take him back to his real home. So, as he interacts with folks in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, Nathaniel is always in colonial garb and speaks like a man taken out of time. Naturally, folks around him are shocked and think he’s a nut and this gets him a lot of unwanted attention! Despite these challenges, he meets a lovely lady named Allison…a photographer who accepts him for who he is and doesn’t feel threatened or afraid of his delusions. What’s next for poor Nathaniel? See the film and find out for yourself.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this is a low budget film and it needs to be seen. Corey Horton is planning on working on crowd funding so that they can afford to get this film out there so everyone will have a chance to see it. At this point, this Kickstarter campaign has not yet begun, but if you are interested, I suggest you try to Facebook page for Waiting on Mary. Here you can not only find out how you can help this lovely film but, more importantly, how and where you can find it to see it. I also plan to update this information here at Influx when it becomes available.
While the plot is pretty weird, the film is not strictly played for laughs…and that’s one of the reasons I really loved this picture. Instead, there is a lot of charm, a little pain and a bit of romance….and it all works well because the direction of the film was quite nice. That, and because Brian Shea really, really did a great job in the lead. He managed to play the part so that he wasn’t a buffoon, but a man who is simply too overwhelmed and heartbroken to accept what his life really has become. The rest of the cast also did a lovely job and the film certainly is a crowd pleaser.