The Surface

DIRECTOR: Michael J. Saul

World Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Michael J. Saul, Actors Harry Hains, Kyle Patrick Darling, Michael Redford, Producer Heath Daniels

An aimless young man happens upon a yard sale, where he’s drawn to a vintage 8mm camera. His impromptu purchase awakens unexpected impulses, both artistic and personal, which adjust his life’s course and set him on unfamiliar paths toward illuminating destinations.

Evan—played with great delicacy by lithe newcomer Harry Hains—is a waiflike, orphaned 22-year-old who grew up in the foster care system and is still feeling unmoored as he enters adulthood in Los Angeles. He is uninspired by his college classes, growing frustrated with his increasingly critical boyfriend, and eager to find something meaningful and fulfilling to connect to in his life. The 8mm camera quickly becomes the creative outlet he’d sought, and he dives headlong into his new hobby. Evan returns to the home of the elderly man who sold him the camera, in search of additional filmmaking equipment, and he ends up leaving with a stash of the family’s old home movies. The quietly poignant films feed Evan’s creativity, providing a (projected) family he never had and sparking not only an intimacy with the family’s past but also a surprising connection to its present.

As the film charts Evan’s emergence from indecisive ennui, director Michael J. Saul intersperses beautifully filmed water imagery with throwback 8mm home movie footage, making The Surface a visually rich homage to filmmaking, as well as an intimate account of a young man’s personal journey.

— Michael LoPresti
AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F133

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