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“Don’t Be Afraid” An explosion at the Anticensura Film Festival…

BCIFF TEAM

“As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. … That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life… Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualising mind.” ― Anthony de Mello Ideology is a system of definite views, ideas, conceptions, and notions adhered to by some class or political party. Ideology is always a reflection of the economic system predominant at any given time. (Soviet Philosophical Dictionary, 1954) and the nature of this is ever changing. Ideologies form the core of a human being and help one to make decisions in their life. Nothing is constant in this world and what seemed ideal around forty years back, might come across as something irrelevant. Protests are one of the most relevant forms of the outburst of a group of people – it is an integral part of ideology and its interpretations. Protests are extremely relevant in a democratic society as it brings forth a sense of unity and creates a space to exchange thoughts and help a generation to strengthen its values. Matthew Winters’ short movie “Don’t be Afraid” is a heartfelt conversation between a father and son regarding a protest. In this movie the director tries to show the core essence of protests and its importance irrespective of time. In the movie, the son, Ben, is looking forward to joining a protest, and he opens up to his father about his next steps. Then they share a little conversation about how time has changed and become more dangerous. As the son gets ready to depart for the protest, the father assures him and asks him to not worry about the outcome. It is evident that the father still nurtures the days of his activities. The film is just one minute long but Matthew has successfully conveyed the parent-child relationship within that little time. Ben Cable as Hank and Christopher Michael Rose as Ben compliment each other well. Ben’s supportive father is a prime example of a good parent and his character shows how important it is to support your children no matter what they do. The movie might be very short, but it’s relevant and leaves a lasting impact.

Jewel D Smith

It does not have any presentation titles or any technical clarification, it lasts just l minute 34 seconds, the camera only records a conversation between a father and a son that is almost a monologue of the father. But “Don't Be Afraid” breaks with a lot of cinematographic structures, and perhaps without meaning to. A lot of people know what concept art is all about, but it's worth remembering. When the support or the final result of a work of art is of no importance, and the only thing that matters is the message, that is called conceptual art, because the concept is the only thing that matters and not even the quality of the invoice . This short film is pure conceptual cinema. Innovative par excellence. Some fans will remember the films of Von Triers, the Dane who directed “Melancholia”, the one who made Nicole Kidman walk on a town drawn on the floor in “Dogville”. Well, the idea of conceptual cinema is to make cinema in any way, with whatever is at hand. The only thing that matters is the idea. In any case, the smooth movement of the camera at the beginning, the lighting and the framing are perfect. Ben Cable shows us, perhaps the fragment of a longer talk, where he talks about an upcoming protest and fears. The talk is political to the extent that almost all talk is political. But I don't want to tell that talk because it deserves to be seen and heard, especially at a time when nothing seems to work to solve fundamental things. “Don't Be Afraid” won the prize for the best political short film at the festival. Very deservedly.

Alan Ng

A father and son meet at a diner for a serious heart-to-heart in Ben Cable’s short film, Don’t Be Afraid. Running at a brisk minute-thirty, Hank (Ben Cable) talks to his son Ben (Christopher Michael Rose) about what protests were like…back in his day. Not so long ago, protests were dangerous, but Ben reminds him, “…not for the allies.” Either way, everyone came together to stand up for a common cause. “Not so long ago, protests were dangerous…” With a short film that ends so quickly, it’s hard to critique its filmmaking technicals appropriately. Though filmmaker Cable doesn’t speak to a specific issue, the storytelling of Don’t Be Afraid speaks directly to what compels us to protest and accept the consequences for standing up for what we believe is right.

Lafa Awards.

A budding activist decides whether or not he should participate in a protest in Don’t Be Afraid. Though under two minutes, this film hits you in the gut with an engaging ethical conflict at its core. Don’t Be Afraid starts in medias res without any explanation of the main characters nor their relationship. A young man and a middle-aged man have been speaking at a diner for some time. It appears at first as though the middle-aged man might be talking down to the young man. Surprisingly, though, it turns into something unexpected: an encouraging pep talk from father to son. In media Americans are overexposed to the trope that parents are old fogies who believe the youth are ruining America with social justice. All stereotypes are fallible, however, and creators of Don’t Be Afraid, Ben Cable and Cristopher Michael Rose bulldoze this stereotype. In fact, they offer representation on how a parent may successfully engage in a supportive conversation regarding protesting. The material feels particularly heartfelt in that the creators also star as father and son, Hank and Ben, respectively. Cable and Rose’s sincere performances hit the heart. Audiences receive reprieve from the toxic masculinity in exchange for emotionality and encouragement. The healthy dynamic between father and son is so refreshing to see on screen. At the mention of the Hank’s experience with table sit-ins - images of the 1960s civil rights come to mind - that of Greensburo and Stonewall, the march in Alabama. What starts out as possible contempt for Hank turns into utmost respect for his struggle. Moreover, in the face of danger, Hank encourages his son Ben to not be afraid of something like a police arrest if what Ben is doing is for the social fare of others. Again, in media there is so much reinforcement of putting familial safety first no matter what. Don’t Be Afraid encourages the opposite. It takes the viewpoint that sacrificing your own safety for the sake of others is paramount and worthwhile, that humanitarianism goes beyond the immediate blood relation. Don’t Be Afraid doesn’t skimp on production value, and it's clear that competent people are not only in front of the camera, but behind it as well. It’s almost as if viewers are watching a clip from a larger movie or television show. It does leave the watcher wondering if this idea could have something more to it. Though this short may be simple, its emotional depth and representational value makes it a meaningful watch. It leaves the viewer thinking about their potentiality as a parent and how they might handle a conversation if ever tasked.

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