WORDS hurt, heal in debut short

Sometimes, the act of preparing the New Art Film Festival results in a circumstance that ultimately does not allow us to play a piece that would have been right at home in our program. The last-minute inclusion of a teaser for the dramatic short WORDS, as an example, gave us a way to help spread the word for its creator, Jarrod Finn of Malachi Entertainment in Urbana, even though the NAFF submission period had long been closed. With his first effort as director, writer, and producer now completed and streaming online, C-U Blogfidential encourages our dearest viewers to take a look. WORDS examines “a young writer’s battle with depression and anxiety disorder,” per the official logline, “and how her writing and community help guide her out of her darkness,” apparently drawing from Finn’s own personal struggles along these lines. Days are filled with internal and irrational upheaval for lead character Jordan (Kimmy Schofield), toggling between solitary moments of unease, votes of confidence and support from her mother (Cara Maurizi) and friends (Dominique Allen, William Anthony Sebastian Rose II), and abstract nightmare moments staged like a theatrical play. Luckily, the light at the end of the dark tunnel Jordan regularly finds herself in can shine brightly with the proper positives in place…

The Malachi team also has present, past, and future projects in various stages of fruition. Shooting this month is NOTES OF RASPBERRY, Finn’s first comedic outing that is written by Thomas Nicol (WRITER’S BLOCK, NAFF ’17) and stars Evan Seggebruch and Jace Jamison. Restored to the schedule is a pilot for EMPOWERED, a proposed Web series to be directed by Kris Wilcox (RISE, NAFF ’16) about young women with superhero identities; auditions for open roles will take place at Collider CoWork, 123 W. Main St., Suite 220, Urbana, on Saturday, January 6, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. with callbacks the next day. In addition, Finn has begun drafting a script for a WORDS follow-up. Away from the camera, Malachi hosted a pair of short film presentations at the Urbana Independent Media Center in recent weeks including the ChamPain Indie Horror Fest on October 28. This outpouring of activity has come on the heels of Finn reestablishing himself in the C-U arts after spending several years in Atlanta, Georgia, for higher education; involvement with Champaign Movie Makers, Pens to Lens, Parkland Theatre, the Virtual Chameleon Internet show HELPETHAN.COM, and classroom teaching has certainly lit the fire for this fellow and his friends to pursue their low budget, high concept ambitions. More power to them!

~ Jason Pankoke

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