2018 Kamloops Film Festival: Shut Up and Say Something

Each year, The Omega reviews the films presented at the Kamloops Film Festival. The festival runs through March 10.

This years opening film has an ending that is almost too perfect in its simplicity. A raw, emotional cut of minimalist filmmaking that epitomizes that epic, emotion spanning maturity Shane Koyczan carries with his poetry that unfortunately eclipses the rest of the film before it. The documentary follows Koyczan as he traces his upbringing by his grandmother to his orchestrated reunion with his absent father. Directors Stuart Gillies and Melanie Wood paint a wide encompassing look at his life through mixed footage of performances, with interviews and the updating quest to connect with his father.

There is no doubt that Shane is an extremely interesting subject of current Canadian iconography. A man of immense storytelling prowess who has made a name for himself through the power of his wordplay alone and yet it is to no surprise that this man would be immensely interesting to watch. So it is unfortunate that these filmmakers never truly attempt anything too out of the bounds with their style. An over reliance on their subject certainly allows him to shine through and truly become the main propulsion of the story while disparaging the the quality of the filmmaking with its over-reliance.

Also the way how Shane’s nephew learns of his own father’s other children comes as an odd moment that frames this young man’s revelation in a moment that is heartbreaking and cruel in its execution. The raw feeling gained from the moment undercuts the empathy the film had been building that is only stranger in its relative proximity to the outstanding climax of this well meaning but stumbling film.