Law & Shorter: Short Film Unit @ Toronto True Crime Film Festival

Four short films of around 20 minutes each were put together in one screening called Law & Shorter: Short Film Unit. It is the first short film unit at the festival. Here are reviews for each of the films:

Adjournment directed by Nina Marissiaux:

We observe parts of a French court case. Starts off with the testimony of a man who came home after work one night to find his wife and three children murdered. Besides his emotional testimony we also get that of an expert witness – a doctor. Plus the arguments of the prosecuting lawyer.

This documentary gives us a window into what five strangers who are observing the case think about everything going on. A very interesting look at the different ways different people can look at the same crime.

Katie and the Black Robin Hood directed by Alessandra Giordano and John Richie:

A very movie piece about Katie Carter, who works as an investigator at the public defender’s office in New Orleans. The public defender’s office has seven lawyers while she is the only investigator. Typically the office has between 40 and 50 open cases at a time, so Katie has a ton of work.

For the past year and a half, she has changed the way she does her job. Katie has begun video taping clients. She has discovered it’s the best way to convey sympathy. With the films she is trying to create some humanity in this process. A process that is devoid of it.

Katie had been working on Chris Simm’s case for about six months. He was charged with a string of bank robberies in different states. Chris decided he was going to give the money to people in need. Chris does not believe that the film will truly help, but still goes along with it.

Chris’s parents were both addicts and were arrested many time. He had a violent home life. Both parents are now dead. Chris had been in jail since he was a juvenile. In one facility he had his jaw broken and had the courage to testify to the abuse.

He now faces from seven years to life in prison. Chris actually wants to go to federal prison to get an education or get killed. He knows he does not have the skill set to live in the world.

In the end the film made Chris believe that there are still people out there who care about him. He still ends up with an 18 year sentence.

Swatted directed by Ismael Jeffroy Chandoutis:

Focuses on online gaming world and swatting. Swatters select a player, access their information, and then call 911 posing as the player. A SWAT team often shows up, hence the name.

Streamers seem to be aware of the threat of swatters and yet still continue playing.

The swatters aren’t usually found because they use VPNs to hide their IP addresses.

Mr. Wash directed by Marisa Aveling and Sean Mattison:

Set in the Compton area of Los Angeles, this short documentary follows the released from jail after serving 21 years, Fulton L. Washington. He claims, like many others in prison, that he was wrongfully convicted.

While in prison he became a painter. Became known as Mr. Wash. He painted his fellow inmates. In his paintings see them as human beings. Fulton wants to paint life that is not covered by the media.

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