“Cancelled” and “woke” are two terms almost impossible to escape on traditional and social media these days. Two films took on these subjects, in a good-natured and funny way, at the Anthem Film Festival. Anthem ran this year from July 13-16 at the Mirage in Las Vegas.
Creation of both titles was supported by the Motion Picture Institute (MPI), whose past efforts have included Miss Virginia and Moving Violation. MPI, a charitable and educational non-profit, trains and assists new filmmakers. It describes itself as a “talent incubator that creates high-impact films designed to entertain, inspire, and educate audiences with captivating stories about human freedom.”
Melons, a short comedy, by writer/director Matt MacDonald, deals with what happens when a misunderstanding creates an Internet rage mob. We’re Doing Good follows the hilariously unsuccessful efforts of a couple to live a woke life.
In Melons, which features comic legend Martin Mull (The Cool Kids, Sabrina the Teenage Witch), viewers meet Nigel, played by Brian Huskey (Veep, People of Earth, Bob’s Burgers), manager of the local Sunnyside Grocers. Nigel, beloved by customers and co-workers, only wants to help people. One day, while assisting a customer in the check-out line, a woke Internet influencer misinterprets what he hears Nigel say.
The influencer thinks Nigel has harassed a female customer and while still in line takes to the web to take vengeance and fight for justice. Nigel becomes the target of an online mob. The film explores his efforts to save his job and reputation before cancel culture crushes him.
Viewers observe the consequences of jumping to a conclusion without all the important details.
We’re Doing Good
In We’re Doing Good, an MPI web series, viewers follow the adventures of Nora, played by Emily Pendergast (Veep), and Miles, played by Jonathan Braylock (Netflix’s Astronomy Club). The series is being directed by Elvira Ibragimova. Anthem screened two episodes of the series.
Nora and Miles have just moved to Los Angeles and want to live a good life. In the first episode, “Compost,” they spend the day driving around searching for a compost site while their frozen food scraps make a mess of their car’s back seat.
In episode two, “Go Vegan,” they enter an online vegan cheese-eating contest. They try to go viral with their nutritional virtue signaling, but you can only eat so much cheese.
The series, which will go live soon, suggests that it takes more than just good intentions to improve the world. You can watch the trailer below.
You can find out where to watch both of these films and other MPI productions at the MPI’s website.
The Anthem Film Festival, part of FreedomFest, has become my favorite venue for finding challenging, fun, and important films.