As High as the Sky

Starring: Caroline Fogarty, Bonnie McNeil and Laurel Porter
Directed by: Nikki Braendlin

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What a glorious film. And, it’s chickbabe driven behind and in front of the lens. Send the boys out. This one is for the ladies. Nothing will blow up and there's a lot of feeling here. 'Nough said?

Story goes…Margaret (Caroline Fogarty) has just gone through a bad break up. She is not coping so well. But her feelings are manifesting themselves in a nasty outbreak of OCD; she's in dire need of intense order from her immediate surroundings.

Hold on to that image... because in swings her older sister and niece, Josephine and Hannah (Bonnie McNeil and Laurel Porter) for an unannounced visit. And the duo is far from orderly. They are flamboyant, giddy, charming and boiling over with love and life. And, in a very real way, just what Margaret needed and dreads most.

As the audience, you know something is up, but can’t quite foretell the story’s end. Brilliant. When was the last time you did not see a film’s direction ten minutes in? As High as the Sky draws you in and gets very emotionally intimate.

The characters are delightful, the performances each a caliber not seen very often in “lower budget” films. And when you watch the extras, which you must, you discover 17 days and capelinni noodle-like budgets can still a masterpiece make. That is because these gals – all the leads are women – are exquisite. Laurel Porter is going to break your heart, and both Fogarty and McNeill will be etched into your spirit; they are so real.

Writer director Nikki Braendlin has really created an emotional powerhouse of a story and managed to place it (gorgeously) within the confines of a beautiful set/home. And this lady has built up an arsenal of talents tinkling behind the words. First up is composer Kristen Baum who gives each player their own theme no less); listen for the subtle instrument choices. In fact, every “key” person who worked on the film is a woman. That’s very cool, and unusual. The extras have a quick-but-wonderful discussion about key elements that help As High as the Sky blossom. Director of photography, Tarin Anderson, explains her techniques and use of camera - and film students buy AHSTS if only for the three featurettes that offer glimpses into how to make a very personal quiet and moving film pop to life on a big screen.

Buy a few of these as you’ll want to share it with your film club. You don’t have one you sniff towards your iPad? Start here.

Snack recommendation: Organic PB&J sandwiches on gluten free bread and a box of Kleenex brand tissues.

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