Get Adobe Flash player

PingWi-Fi Wraps Up Film Fest On Winning Note: ‘Jess + Moss’

April 11th, 2011 · Tags:Arts · Cities

Jeter, Hagan

Jeter, Hagan

My approach to viewing films at festivals is pretty nonchalant. Why stress out over seeing the best film, at the first showing, fighting the crowds and seeing everything under pressure. Instead, just get a pass, go to the theater and take a seat when I am good and ready and watch whatever is showing. If nothing else, my method assures me of a great cross section of the features. And yes, I sit through some bad ones … but the other day I totally scored.

Filmmaker Clay Jeter’s work “Jess + Moss” is simple … or is it? I’d say it’s one of the most interesting I have seen. It isn’t an extravagant production. On the contrary it is shot on Jeter’s family’s farm, with two characters primarily, and it relies heavily on improv dialogue and only a few special effects. But it works.

The story features an unlikely friendship between a young woman/child and an even younger boy.

The two run around just having fun, uninterrupted by other humans for the most part. At first, the audience doesn’t know why. The two could be survivors of a nuclear holocaust … or runaways … or marooned … or whatever. They sort of do whatever they want, hanging out together unsupervised all the time, almost 24/7 — talking about whatever.

Fun, huh? It certainly appeals to the Peter Pan envy in us all … memories of when fun was a full-time job … a wonderful time … and the coming of age …

Eventually, the plot reveals darker things at work. Jess & Moss share more than good times. They have both been abandoned in one way or another. Jess — the older of the two — has been so scarred by this, somewhere along the way, she pretty much has shut down socially and emotionally, failing to mature.

Therein lies the conflict. This friendship is both awesome and unnatural. But due to the circumstances it doesn’t seem taboo … much …

Sarah Hagan was not cast. She was born to play the role of Jess. She might pass for 15 or 30 on any given day. Austin Vickers, who plays Moss, is about 12, but does a great job providing a strong, supportive male figure in the relationship (if one can say something so politically incorrect in this day and time).

That’s all I am going to say about that.

Well … to use a phrase that was pretty good until Charlie Sheen got hold of it:  I found the film quite winning. Ha … Apparently so did The Dallas International Film Festival. “Jess + Moss” was awarded the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature. I concur — 7 pings — my highest (awarded before the festival results were announced … typically, I am not so agreeable …).

Know what I sayin?