It’s a special time of the year. Right now, the 16th annual Phoenix Film Festival is going on, and the Pulse Movie Crew has been out there to take part in one of the coolest celebrations of independent film in the nation! We’ll have a good amount of reviews of these movies along with a couple articles recapping our time and letting you know what we got to see. If you are a big movie fan or a fan of small budget independent films, the Phoenix Film Festival is definitely the spot to be this weekend and this coming week, and you can check out times and ticket prices here.
I am so excited for today because I’ve been able to do something I have never done before: attend a film festival. I haven’t just been at any film festival. I have been at what is known as the coolest film festival in the nation, and it is right here in Arizona: The Phoenix Film Festival. I am a huge fan of independent movies. The Pulse Movie Crew was lucky enough to talk to Phoenix Film Festival Director Jason Carney before the festival began, and he told us that the reason film festivals are so special is because a lot of the films are passion projects motivated by story. It is so fantastic to see passion in its rawest form, and I’ve had a great time so far! The minute we arrived we jumped right in with the first movie I will be reviewing, Dating Daisy. Honestly, I had never heard of Dating Daisy. We were able to pick some movies out when we were at the box office, and I had heard of very few, so a lot of my choices were based on convenient timing (which is one of my favorite parts of the festival) and the sound from the title. Let’s talk about Dating Daisy, which was made on a budget of $200,000.
Dating Daisy is written and directed by Neel Upadhye and stars Brennan Kelleher, Sascha Alexander, Erica Dasher, and Sara Amini. Brennan Kelleher and Sascha Alexander are the leads, Michael and Daisy respectively, and ex-lovers who have grown apart through time and distance. However, they may still love each other. After recently running into Daisy around town, Michael gets a chance to reunite with her as he gives her a ride to her parents’ house for Thanksgiving. Daisy’s family loves Michael, but he has to leave to attend his own family’s Thanksgiving celebration. As the both of them run into old friends and face their families, they start to realize that they still have feelings for each other, and there may just be a good love triangle in the movie. Yes, you just read that right. A good love triangle. I never thought I’d see the day.
First of all, I have to say that walking into these movies is just so cool. It is an event. It isn’t just a showing of your typical, everyday studio film at the local theater. These are passion projects, and you can feel the passion in the air. I really felt the passion from this movie. You can feel it from the writers, the crew, the cast, and everybody in the theater, and it shows. I really, really liked Dating Daisy. I have to begin with its screenplay. This movie has one of my favorite screenplays so far this year. It’s so real, quick, and hilarious. It reminded me of something that Quentin Tarantino would make, not in the stylistic elements, but the way that I could sit there for an hour and a half and just listen to people talk. There is not much for the eyes to behold like in a big, noticeable science fiction blockbuster. This movie mostly tells the story through dialogue, and characters sitting around homes talking to each other, connecting, and going through the little things in life like making small talk and talking to parents. It also has the bigger moments in life, but I won’t go too in depth about those. Purely based on the screenplay, I was so invested in the characters and the story, and the film kept my interests peaked until it cut to the credits. Speaking of the characters, that is another thing I loved about Dating Daisy. I felt for these characters, and I connected with them. They all fascinated me and entertained me, and the screenplay had a lot to do with that. This movie was also very well made. Director and writer Neel Upadhye put so much into this movie and I could tell the each shot was thought out, almost as if it was doing its best to portray both reality and beauty.
I did very much like Dating Daisy, but one of my biggest issues with the film was that I feel like I was watching actors. I don’t want to take anything away from the actors as I thought they did a fine job, and I think that they delivered the lines excellently, but something about the movie made it feel like I was watching actors. As I said, it’s not because the cast and crew did a poor job, but just something I felt inside. My only other problem with Dating Daisy was the conflict. It felt like the conflict was very shoehorned in, and it came and passed without ever being built or solved. One of the conflicts is the relationship between Michael and Daisy, which worked well for me, but another conflict in the third act of the film almost seemed out of place because it got rushed, and it took me out of the movie ever so slightly. Unfortunately, it was something that I really did not like, but despite those two elements, I had such a great time with Dating Daisy.
Overall, I really liked Dating Daisy, and I would definitely suggest checking it out! In my opinion, it is well worth the watch. The screenplay is so good, and the movie has characters I liked to watch on-screen and could connect with on a personal and emotional level. It was a very well made film, and the story sucked me in completely and thoroughly entertained me throughout the entire runtime. As I mentioned before, it even had a solid love triangle. I did have a couple problems with the movie, but they were not gaping holes in the movie that were disabling me from enjoying it. I’m going to give Dating Daisy a 7.8/10.
Will you be making your way out to the Phoenix Film Festival this weekend? Comment and let me know! If you are out there and you would like to come talk with us, definitely let us know either on this comment page or our new Twitter @pulsemoviecrew because we would love to talk with you. Also, if you would like some more information on the Phoenix Film Festival, you can click right here to see which movies are screening along with times, prices, and exclusive information about the festival. We are seeing multiple movies per day, so be sure to check back with periodically for more reviews and Pulse Movie Crew coverage! I love that I can be sitting here right now in a chair exposing this movie to someone who may have never heard of it, just as I hadn’t heard of it prior to the festival. It is what keeps passion alive and makes independent film one of the most interesting parts of the business. As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!