Really, I wasn’t sure to expect when I went to the St. Pete premiere of Loren Cass, a film based in St. Pete in 1997 and shot entirely here. It spoke of being about the influences of the race riots in south St. Pete in 1996, but was more of an art film and inspired the same discussions most art films bring out.
Guy and I agreed on some things and bluntly disagreed on others. He found it to be the kind of film he wanted to make back in his art school days. I found it to lack a storyline and to be very discombobulated. Both are true. The cinematography is great, it was shot so well with a feeling that you are there and the gritty lives of the characters. The acting was good with people in front of the camera for the first time reliving what I feel that some experienced during that time.
Guy, paraphrasing the sound bite of the local Times critic, urged me to see that it reflected how the city felt at that time. I disagreed since I lived here at the time and this emptiness and panic only encompassed a few neighborhoods. It was more a punk rock saga of youth disconnect, either homeless of middle class, finding fault in the system and looking for pity from those who pulled their head out of their asses and did something about it.
The scenes were separated by clips from news interviews of the riots, poetry snippets from William S. Burroughs and the like as well as a great punk rock soundtrack. I enjoyed it on the whole since it was great to try to pinpoint what each location was and to see my city on the big screen. St. Pete is a great location for so many kinds of films and TV. Plus, the local film commission is incredibly helpful to all film makers with a staff that is more than knowledgeable about the industry and the location sites throughout the county.
As a first-time film maker and young impresario, I think Chris Fuller has a long and prosperous career in front of him. If you get a chance to rent it, do and just sit back and let it was over you, with maybe a beer or two.