By: Vernon Nickerson
“CREEDMORIA” by Film Fatales filmmaker and Dances With Film alumni, Alicia Slimmer, is a powerful film that I hope will be seen by every adolescent who’s ever wanted to get up the courage to escape a soul-killing existence. Those of us who survived our adolescence in places like the Borough of Queens, New York where the story takes place, and South Paterson, New Jersey where I served out my adolescent incarceration in the late 1970’s and 80’s will also find this film transporting them immediately back to their old neighborhoods. Cinequest just honored the film with its Jury Award for Best Feature Comedy. It also received the 2016 Brooklyn Film Festival’s – Audience Award and the 2016 Dances With Films – Industry Choice Award.
Australian-born actress Stef Dawson (THE HUNGER GAMES) does a stellar job as Candy, the younger of two sisters in a clan of four siblings. Dawson’s character Candy Cahill is the quintessential awkward teenage girl, Her soulmate and younger brother Sean is masterfully played as an effeminate-but-not-yet-out-to-his family by actor Ryan Weldon. Giuliana Carullo plays her long-suffering adult sister Marie, a nurse at nearby Creedmore Hospital, a warehouse for persons labeled as developmentally disabled. A group of Creedmore patients on an outing appears at multiple times reinforcing the idea of life in a prison without bars because they never venture further from Creedmore than the burger joint where Candy is employed. James Kennedy does a short-but-memorable turn as substance-abusing-cross-dressing older brother Danny. Actors Ray Abruzzo and Rachel DeBenedet play the parents of the Cahill clan, Ernest and Marie, respectively. Ernest is a loving and slightly nerdy patriarch. Marie desperately wants to be seen as the “perfect” 60’s sitcom mom– and she’s got an eye for married neighbor Harvey, appropriately and smarmily portrayed by veteran actor Arthur Gerunda.
Much to my delight, Writer-Director Alicia Slimmer did such an outstanding job of evoking family life in Metropolitan New York/ Northeast New Jersey in the 80’s that I caught myself disassociating multiple times watching the film. Escape was my standard operating procedure (augmented with closet drinking) while watching Saturday Night Live after the rest of my church going family had gone to bed. Depicting Sunday service as a series of fast forwards was EXACTLY my remembrance of the intensely performance-oriented and picture-perfect church-going in the predominately Black American Baptist Church I attended in Paterson, New Jersey. It’s a small dysfunctional world, after all.
Immersing myself in booze and music, like Candy’s brother Danny in the film, was actually in part how I survived being a gay and completely closeted gay teen. Many years later, a very wise man told me that losing one’s self in good books is the way we remind ourselves that we are alive. Immersing myself in “Creedmoria” produced the same effect, for which I am eternally grateful. Now please get out there and see this and as many other Independent films as you possibly can this summer!
CREEDMORIA 1h 30 min
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/88400211″>Creedmoria Trailer 01</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/creedmoria”>Creedmoria Productions</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>