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The Independent Critic

Geoff Davis, Jackson Cole
Hannah Lindgren
Geoff Davis, Hannah Lindgren
9 Mins.

 "50 Little Birds" Has World Premiere at Indy Shorts  

This year's Indiana Spotlight films in the Indy Shorts International Film Festival have really raised the bar in terms of the quality of locally produced cinema. Hannah Lindgren's short doc 50 Little Birds is a tremendous example, a beautifully photographed journey with Indiana folk artist Geoff Davis and the extraordinary art experiences he creates. 

50 Little Birds is having its world premiere at the Academy Award-qualifying Indy Shorts and this simple, meditative film filled to the brim with refreshing honesty deserves to be seen far and wide. As an artist, Davis translates his experiences in nature into art. This seems especially true for his long canoe journeys, quiet and introspective experiences that connect with him in nature, spark his inspiration, and help empower his own healing journey from the life he was living and the man he projected but, in his own eyes, never really was. Davis reflects on, in essence, finding himself in his 50's and turning away from the asshole that he used to be. There's remorse in his voice as he openly reflects on the wife he mistreated, but there's also a sense of gratitude in his voice at a continued marriage and a chance to get things right. 

50 Little Birds is a breathtakingly beautiful film shot in Noblesville and Anderson, Indiana along with Indiana's Shades State Park. Lindgren herself is an Indy resident and the film's entire crew is from Indiana. 50 Little Birds is screening as part of the Indiana Spotlight 2 program during Indy Shorts, a virtual festival this year due to the pandemic but, alas, there's still a filmmaker Q&A and the opportunity to get to know this obviously up-and-coming filmmaker. 

To watch Davis woodcarving is to see a man who's discovered his peace, a peace that seemingly evaded him for years as he tried to fit into the traditional teaching formula and found it too strict for the kind of teacher he wanted to be. Now, he creates beauty from his beautiful experiences and teaches others how to do the same thing. 

Jackson Cole appears in the film as young Geoff Davis, a visually appealing approach to realizing Davis's childhood reflections that adds a sense of wonder to the film. Phil Larson's original music serves as the perfect companion to the film, while lensing by Kyle Fisher, Christopher Keaton, and David Neidert is pristine and sublime throughout. 

For more information on 50 Little Birds, visit the film's official Instagram linked to in the credits. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic