In 2013-2014 Horror received a new anti hero. A likable, engaging dreamer who happens to deem his community wide citizen slaughter..........art. Meet Mr. David Long. Aspiring filmmaker, gifted in the ways of snuffing out human life all the while finding beauty around him. He sometimes comes across as the quiet kid that sat behind you in Algebra, as you feverishly just tried to obtain a passing grade. His few attempts at small talk were not impressive to you, and honestly, he was a bit 'off'. And now you use almost nothing of that knowledge you desperately tried to cram in your skull then. You opt for the trusty calculator, your phone, laptop. As your throat is being slashed, you wish you were friendlier to that kid behind you, and you think of that jerk teacher who ultimately failed you despite your efforts. "It's nice to be nice" repeating in your rapidly dying mind, in a voice sounding more and more like H.A.L. from 2001A Space Odyssey. Nice.....to be.......nice.
The number of critics showing love for the film Pieces of Talent is astounding. Equally as astounding is the amount of people who haven't seen nor heard of this gem. Talent earned it's place among several critics Years Best lists as well as Must See.
Director Joe Stauffer co wrote the screenplay with star David Long, delivering an engrossing tragedy involving a ridiculously, naturally beautiful waitress seeking her ticket to Tinseltown. Charlotte is convincingly portrayed by the wonderful Kristi Ray. Both herself and counterpart Long won awards for Best Female and Male lead. David also has been California dreamin', wishing to make films himself and well........fate ensues. But not without a body count, VHS tapes along with some very 'progressive' art. Ray received her award at the 2013 NYC Horror Film Festival as well as Talent dominating many categories such as Best Screenplay and Best Director. In the same year at the Bram Stoker International Film Fest, David Long laid claim to his award.
I have read in the past elsewhere that, Stauffer had a beauty and a precision behind camera which wasn't dependent upon budget size. He's truly a testament to the benefits of technical prowess and uncanny framing technique. Joe Stauffer had the solid, consistent background of DP work paired with editing on a plethora of projects. He was lucky enough to hear his calling in life pretty early. His extensive camera knowledge and skills began in his late teens / early twenties and simply continued to forge a quite formidable filmmaker. One whom is almost unbelievably humble, grateful, and sincere. Stauffer posted a Thank You video on YouTube that tested my fortitude. I didn't want to cry, but how could you not get a little teary eyed as he profusely thanked the fans and how much it meant to him and the rest of the team on Talent ,that it left him speechless to know that his project made it on some TopTen Lists. Some is an understatement sir.
Pieces of Talent won a s&%$load of awards, 17 awards were brought home to North Carolina I believe. I mentioned a few earlier, which were very high honors to achieve. Now please know this. Talent was the first feature film from Stauffer. That was almost too much for me to accept. This film was unique and art in itself, and it was the firstborn feature child. I dream of one day having the opportunity to fulfill my lifetime fantasy of making a feature film. I could only imagine all the range of emotions experienced. Only..........imagine. Yet through the success and notoriety ( not enough in my opinion ) Stauffer has maintained his low key, polite, respectful, and grateful attitude. This very attitude has either been adopted by the entire cast and crew or he hired everyone from the local Buddhist temple. Either way, how amazing and completely inspiring.
This is exactly the caliber of movie making and fan interaction I so desire from our genre filmmakers. It's so rare when you witness a person achieve great heights and them GENUINELY deserve it. I won't name names, but through acquaintances employed in the industry, gossip ( I know, I know. I never solely base judgement on gossip though ok ) and reoccurring themes within articles/interviews, there are ACTUALLY some stars and creators and even studios I refuse to give a dollar to. We are the ones who technically contribute a large portion of their income. We are the movie lovers, the horrorhounds, the comic geeks. We represent success or not at the box office. We count, we matter, and so do projects like Talent with an entire cast and crew of passionate movie lovers just like us. Give who matters your attention, word of mouth, hard earned cash, and praise. I very much hope to a Higher Power that Talent gains more momentum within the community, to ensure the return of David Long and Joe Stauffer.
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