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An American Journalist
by Erik Sean McGiven on Apr 04, 2009
"An American Journalist" is a short film that
weighs the guilt of a past event against a new encounter, that of writing an
article about the execution of a murderer.
We learn in snippets that his captors released the journalist, played
stoically by Michael Arturo, after the Iraqi militants beheaded his
associate/cameraman (John Gilligan).
What makes matters worse is that the journalist knew going into that
area was dangerous yet convinced his cameraman to come along.
After a period of remorse, he returns stateside to work and
his first assignment is to cover the bizarre media circus surrounding a former
child actor convicted of a murder, convincingly portrayed by David
Hayward. Too many themes muddle this
film and defect from internal tale of repressed guilt. There's the sensationalism of the Bill
O'Reilly like news commentator (Mark Arnold) placing more blame on the
Journalist for his partner's death. Then
his newspaper editor wants him to betray his ethics and reveal the intimate
details between the murderer and his son; again going for the sensational news
angle. These secondary themes take us
away from the one we want most to know about, how the journalist is handling
the death of his partner/cameraman. This
central theme is not fully realized and journalist becomes a passive observer
rather than a participant in the various story dilemmas. How do they affect him
and how does he change?
The film was shot mainly in close-ups. Director Mark Anthony Coger said this was
done to get around the lack of money for sets and production design. While it works nicely for the characters'
internalizations at the same time it diminished the quality of
inter-relationships. Production credits
are solid for a limited budget film.
CREDITS: Stars Michael Arturo, David Hayward, Mark Arnold,
John Gilligan, and David Alan Graf.
Directed by Mark Anthony Coger; Written by Michael Arturo and Mark
Anthony Coger; Cinematography by Jimmy Browning; Music by Nima Fakhrara; Edited
by Mark Anthony Coger; Produced by Michael Arturo, Mark Anthony Coger and Jared
White. Running time: 25 minutes 13 seconds.
April 3, 2020