Friday, April 10, 2015

"That Bites:" A Review

Attending Our First Film Festival

Have you ever been to a film festival? I hadn't, so I really didn't know what to expect. The venue was a renovated Spanish Colonial style theater. The main theater's "claim to fame" is being the first theater to show "Gone with the Wind," and we have been to a couple of productions there. I wasn't aware they had a smaller theater upstairs and this was where the film festival was held.

We were given ballots as "That Bites" was being shown with a collection of four other short films either about kids or directed by kids. James found it odd that considering the focus (kids), he and his friend were the only kids (although one other did arrive right before the viewing began). 

On to the Show

"That Bites" is a documentary produced by (at the time) 12 year old Jack Yonover, who, like James, was diagnosed with his allergies at age 10. During the film, you meet a variety of kids, all with different allergies and experiences, and they speak directly about their challenges and experiences in having food allergies. 

Jack also interviews Dr. Ruchi Gupta, so that there is some medical information and background given. 

Finally, without giving away too much, you travel a bit through some of Jack's own medical journey, which honestly, had both James and I on the edge of our seat, being a road we've traveled ourselves.

Here is the trailer to get a taste.

"That Bites!" trailer from Jill Yonover on Vimeo.

The Review

I am going to paraphrase an audience member at my viewing, because I do not think I could say it better myself - Stephen Spielberg was making movies at 12, but I don't think they were as high quality as what Jack Yonover has produced. Truly, this was a fine documentary, and as fine documentaries do, sparked a lively conversation among the audience members at the end.

Ultimately, I think this is an amazing strength of the film - to open up the doors of conversation between those who have food allergies and those who do not. I can easily see this being shared at schools or even among family members and being used as a springboard for discussion.

James's favorite part of the film was how supported he felt, not only in some of the comments made in the film (or especially in some of the establishments highlighted that cater to those with food allergies), but in the discussion held afterward with the audience members. People were shocked that the laws were not more protective of people with food allergies. In addition to him, two other adults shared their experiences with food allergies and how specific examples of dining out. He left feeling not so alone.

My only concern is that the information is presented by teens, and there were a couple of instances where something was said that I felt needed a more specific disclaimer than the general one at the front: a teen who kept his epi-pen in his car, an instance dining in at a resort and the mom needs to return to the room for the medicines. I think these can easily be addressed within the discussion after, but a knowledgeable person should be guiding that discussion, to make sure the proper medical information is presented.

All in all, I hope "That Bites" becomes available soon for wider distribution. I would love to be able to own it and use it for educational opportunities.

No comments:

Post a Comment