‘The Hater’ Has an Earnest Heart

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 showed that real life had become more like a season of television than ever before. Two years into Joe Biden’s presidency — and in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection — our identity as citizens in this country has become increasingly fragmented from each other. What is best for our communities has fallen to the wayside as it has become harder to find common ground. So when The Hater — written, directed and acted by the multi-talented Joey Ally — finally ended and credits began to roll, I finally realized what had been missing in so many other pieces of media about politics in the world of Fake News and political team sports. 

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NOC Review: ‘I Love My Dad’ is Endearingly Funny and Real

Having a falling out with a family member you are close with can be difficult and the same can be said when you fall in love with a person you’ve never met online. Both experiences can leave you with the empty feeling of realizing you don’t really know them as well as you thought. In I Love My Dad, writer-director James Morosini crafts an endearingly funny and real film that displays that feeling honestly and cathartically.

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‘Bundle for Ukraine’ is a Stellar Deal to Support a Great Cause

Have you been looking for ways to help people in Ukraine? Do you also like playing interesting and unique games from indie developers? Then Necrosoft Games have the perfect bundle for you. The Bundle for Ukraine is a itch.io bundle hosted by Necrosoft Games with content from 732 creators containing over 1,000 games, tabletop RPGs, books, and soundtracks aimed at helping the people in Ukraine through this tumultuous time of Russian forces invading their country: all at the starting price of $10 with the option to give more for the goal of raising $2 million.  

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‘Solar Ash’ is Introspective and Beautiful

Solar Ash on the surface feels ethereal yet familiar. The premise of trying to stop a world ending event has never looked so beautiful, and in conjunction with smooth controls and a haunting soundtrack, Solar Ash solidifies itself as a serviceable gaming experience on a console that has been in desperate need of unique games since its launch.

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‘Nightshooters’ is One of the Best Action Films This Year

The trials and tribulations of indie filmmaking are taken to their absurd, action-y, lengths in Marc Price’s Nightshooter, a story about a film crew finding themselves at the scene of a harrowing gang (mob?) execution at an abandoned and soon to be demolished business center on the last night of shooting a zombie film.

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‘You Can’t Kill Meme’ is a Genuine Attempt to Pull the Curtain on Meme Magic

Chaos Magic, 4chan, the 2016 election, and Egyptian gods were not the things I ever thought I would experience all at once but in You Can’t Kill Meme, a documentary film by Haley Garrigus that explores the idea of memes being magic and the magicians who use them. My third eye has been opened and I am looking deeper into the images I find funny and retweet on the internet.

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The Haunting History of Vampires and Blackness is Captured in ‘Black as Night’

In the film Black as Night, screenwriter Sherman Payne pens a haunting and alluring tale of vampires and their victims through a lens not much often looked through. Crafting a story that centers Shawna, a 15-year-old African American woman, as she battles vampires in a modern day New Orleans against a backdrop of not only the history of Hurricane Katrina but also the generational and systemic trauma of being Black in America. 

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Super Smack is Ready to Smash Stereotypes and the Industry with New EP

Super Smack is a Filipino American rapper that has been leveling up in the music game ever since his first ep, Neon Red, hit streaming services. With a unique blend of gaming culture, anime references, good vibes, and a message for change, Super Smack’s pens music that blend pop and rap in ways that make the nerd in any of us step on the dance floor.

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DevTalks: Solo Developer Stephen Ddungu Talks Amazing New ‘Sword of Symphony’

Stephen Ddungu recently took social media by storm for the work he showcased from his newest, independently developed JRPG video game called Sword of Symphony. Music is at the heart of Stephen’s personal journey but also the incredible indie project that first had thousands talking on TikTok.

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‘When I’m A Moth’ is Beautiful but Doesn’t Say Anything

Waking from a dream never felt so unfinished as it did when I reached the end credits of When I’m A Moth, an independent film directed by Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak, written by Cotler. It’s a film that on paper has all the markings of being an arthouse darling — a small cast, eerie poetic dream visuals, pontifications on choice and fate with a going nowhere protagonist and yet, as I rose from my seat afterwards, it felt as if I was remembering a half dream. Unable to finish the thought of what it wanted to be but fascinated by the parts I could remember.

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‘Language Lessons’ Is A Lesson To Behold

Two people from across different continents use webcams to build a beautiful friendship rooted in understanding each other, both linguistically and emotionally in Language Lessons. Natalie Morales directs, co-writes, and stars alongside Mark Duplass in a film that is both incredibly simple in production execution and completely captivating through its narrative and strong performances.

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DevTalks: Deana Galbraith and Barbara Sotolongo of Captilight Games Studio

The Nerds of Color loves us some indie games and our latest DevTalk is with a studio that looks to capture Japanese culture in organic and mesmerizing ways. Path of Kami by Captilight Games Studio is a heartwarming story about family, mortality, and culture. In it, you play as the spirit of a wolf, Kazeyo, who has passed away and sets off on an adventure to navigate trials of the Mortal World.

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DevTalks: Fabien Weibel, Indie Game Developer of ‘Haven Park’

Indie game development is a precious process, especially for Fabien Weibel. The animator and game developer took to focusing on his passion project during last year’s pandemic, and after pouring hundreds of ours into the making of it he finally released Haven Park this summer. We had the chance to catch up with Fabien to talk Haven Park and also his approach to creating the Animal Crossing-like game under the conditions of the pandemic.

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‘Nebulous Dark’ Can’t Time Travel Enough to Be a Strong Movie

A nightmare-fueled time-traveling plot unravels in Shahin Sean Solimon’s new film, Nebulous Dark, a sci-fi movie about the world’s last human man as he wakes from deep sleep to find the Earth has been conquered by aliens. This sounds pretty straight forward for a plot, but this is only how I could fully understand the film after watching it and reading the synopsis again. If you were to watch Nebulous Dark after only seeing the trailer, as I did, you would find an almost surreal, nihilist nightmare of a film that I can’t tell if it’s poorly edited and poorly written, or if it’s actively trying to attack the viewer on a subconscious level. What I was left with was an art piece that genuinely intrigues me and is unintentionally funny, by a film that takes itself incredibly seriously.

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DevTalks: Davionne Gooden is One of the Dopest Indie Developers You’ll Meet

As I prepped my Zoom background with a gorgeous wallpaper of She Dreams Elsewhere game art, I hadn’t really anticipated the kind of indie developer I’d be sitting down with. Oftentimes you’ll hear stories of conversations that turned sour because of personalities that couldn’t share the same room but the cameras turned on and Davionne Gooden and I were vibing.

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Indie Developers Thrive Despite Post-Pandemic Challenges

If this year’s E3 expo showed us anything it’s that indie game developers are built different. Throughout the span of the four day long event, viewers were shown dozens of new titles coming to consoles and PC, and many of those titles came from small studios turning passion projects into marketable content. Between this summer’s E3 and the 2021 Wholesome Direct, gamers saw first-hand the hard work put in by indie game development studios who were also coming off one of the most damaging events to the industry and globe as a whole.

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Flight School Studio’s ‘Stonefly’ is a Must-Play Indie Game

This week, the folks at Flight School Studios and MWM Interactive released their indie mech title, Stonefly. The adventure game is a chill yet wholly beautifully exploration of legacy, resource gathering and mech building, as players follow Annika Stonefly in her search for her father’s stolen rig. After a late-night excursion, Annika mistakenly leaves the garage door storing the mech wide open, leaving it victim to a theft that launches our main character on her journey through dangerous and captivating flora and fauna.

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Kickstart This: ‘I Will Make You Mine’

The world of cinema is replete with great trilogies. From George Lucas’ original Star Wars to Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic Godfather and modern classics like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy. Well, my friend Lynn Chen is adding to that list with her directorial debut, I Will Make You Mine, the third chapter in the saga of Surrogate Valentine. But she needs your help!

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Interview with Byron Yee, Filmmaker of The Aliens

Byron Yee, a first-time filmmaker, grew up in Oklahoma, moved to San Francisco to pursue stand up comedy, and later headed to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Getting tired of waiting for Hollywood to create interesting roles for someone like him, Yee decided to write his own film. His new release, The Aliens, is a film about a UFO believer who must choose between the aliens above he has never seen or the mysterious guide who appears at his campsite week after week.

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Dwayne Perkins and Lynn Chen are Dying to Kill

The new horror film Dying to Kill, starring stand-up comedian Dwayne Perkins, will make its debut this Tuesday, December 13 on Hulu. On this week’s Hard NOC Life, Dwayne — who also co-wrote the film — is joined by his co-star Lynn Chen, as well as the film’s writer/producer Koji Steven Sakai, and writer/director Raymond C. Lai to talk about the process that went into making the film.

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‘Snakehead’ Filmmakers on the Search for Sister Sze

The filmmakers behind the upcoming independent movie Snakehead — director Evan Jackson Leong (Linsanity) and producer/actor Brian Yang (Hawaii Five-0) — join the show to talk about media representation, building community through crowdfunding, and the evolution of independent Asian American film.

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