Oldenburg 2016. Review of “A Beautiful Day” by Phedon Papamichael

The recipient of the 2012 German Independence Honorary Retrospective Award, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael returned to Oldenburg with his latest directorial effort and debut short film, “A Beautiful Day”. Hot off its world premiere at the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival where it won the Best Narrative Short Award, the film played in the Sunday Shorts program at the Oldenburg International Film Festival where it had its international premiere before hitting hard the fest circuit.

A friend of his, Angeliki Giannakopoulos, wrote the story and asked him to read it. Sensing its potential he suggested she direct it, but in spite of her experience writing and directing for the theater, Giannakopoulos was daunted by the film medium, so Papamichael sat in the director’s chair between his work on “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” and his preparation for Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing”.

Co-written by Giannakopoulos and producer Casey Cannon, “A Beautiful Day” follows Gene Thompson, an eighty year-old widower stuck in the monotonous everyday existence he has lived since the death of his wife ten years earlier. He is aging fast from illness and loneliness and has given up on the future. But, on this particular day, he makes a decision that will shape the latter.

Papamichael’s touching and thought-provoking chronicle of a day in the mundane life of this widower is a visually beautiful and coherent short that uses its plot to make a timely social commentary on gun control and domestic violence. Papamichael’s short gracefully captures the life of a man’s suppressed feelings, regrets and final reckoning. His message is brilliantly, surprisingly and powerfully conveyed. In terms of directing, Papamichael deftly shows the logical continuum between director and cinematographer, thus displaying his evident directing skills. Gaffer-turned-cinematographer Cory Geryak whose camera department credits include “Her” and “Ted 2” served as Papamichael’s DP here and succeeded in creating a visual delight. Acting veterans James Brolin and Frances Fisher round off this cinematic gem.

Highly recommended!



Production: Human Revolution Entertainment, RanchWorks Picture Show (USA 2016)

Executive producer: Paul Deason

Producers: Casey Cannon, Angeliki Giannakopoulos and Phedon Papamichael

Associate producer: Koyaki Ampah

Director: Phedon Papamichael

Screenplay: Casey Cannon and Angeliki Giannakopoulos

Cinematography: Cory Geryak

Music: Nick Athens

Editing: Genevieve C. Butler

Cast: James Brolin (Gene Thompson), Frances Fisher (Bev), Rick Rossovich (Jack), Kelly Tighe (Cheryl), Juju Journeu Brener (Cheryl’s Toddler), David M. Edelstein (Dennis), Michael Gonzales (Arturo), Cooper Layne (Man at Bar), Iris Svis (Sue), Tommy Villafranca (John)

 Color – 21 min.

Premiere: 09/08/2016 (Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival)

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