Lauren M Schneiderman, Raishad Hardnett, Astrid Rodrigues, Kristen BalderasThe Philadelphia InquirerJudges Comments
Opening visuals are varied and interesting, and playing off the multitude of voices, plus the choice of music creates a cinematic, compelling effect, title design is really nice and also adds a level of polish. So many poignant visual details that help tell the story. Shots are thoughtfully composed (though one or two times the focus was on a less-relevant foreground element instead of the primary action in the scene); Pat's info about the plant during its heyday could have come earlier in the story so the viewer knows the backstory of what is being lost here; and having his more informational segment in the middle of the more poignant pieces somewhat breaks the spell. Clear winner. Wonderful tribute to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Well structured, with good pacing that captures the positive energy of the workplace even at its time of closure. Hearing the stories of the people working there gives it a very personal touch and what the whole experience means to them. Tight editing, and great use of music.
Cheantay Jensen, Thomas R. CordovaLong Beach PostJudges Comments
Inspiring story! Well shot B-roll with good interview footage. The REAL focus of the story, however, starts a bit late into the film. As the title suggests a story of emerging from the ashes, I felt the sequence of how the restaurant burnt down and the narration around it can come much earlier, building from there. I appreciate the emotional quality of the film, bringing across an important story of resilience of a catering community. Well-shot, especially the video portraits, interview shots, and food shots. Since this story is about rising from the ashes, the part about the fire could come much earlier; it could also be shortened to be more impactful.
Lauren Frohne and Bettina HansenThe Seattle TimesJudges Comments
Strong opener, great story/character that offers a different angle on the pandemic and highlights a voice and a group who haven't been widely heard. Detail shots, interview shots and video portraits are beautiful, wish there were more shots of her in action. It was moving to hear about Abigail’s experience. She is a strong speaker who expresses her thoughts powerfully. It would have been nice to see some more B-roll though, as most of the film we see her face as she’s talking. To add dynamism to the narrative, seeing Abigail actually build the ribbon dress as she talks about it, rather than seeing parts of the finished piece, would have left a stronger impact. Also, consider adding some movement to the stills. Overall, a unique story with potential for improvement.
Judges: Mika Chance/OceanX & Zulfiya Hamzaki/Documentary Filmmaker