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Nashville Film Festival: Wannabe

Jada (Margo Parker) and her friends Sky (Daisy Lopez) and Bianca (Victoria T. Washington) are ready to take the music world by storm. It’s the 1990s and girl groups are all the rage. The Space Girls, as they call themselves, are preparing for an audition in front of an important music exec. They take the stage to perform their newest song and everything is going fine until Jada spots the exec. It’s Landon (Peter Zizzo), the man who raped her at a party months earlier. Jada must face the decision of whether to work with her assailant or to give up the dream she has long worked for.

Written and directed by Josie Andrews, Wannabe is a powerful short film, primed for the #MeToo era while also giving viewers a window into the past. It’s a reminder that these situations have been going on for far too long. The power dynamic in the aftermath of an assault has always favored the man and what Wannabe effectively demonstrates is how rape victims face impossible decisions for how they should live their lives moving forward. The film is a personal project for director Josie Andrews. In her director’s statement she says:

“Wannabe is not just a plea to believe those who have come forward, but a cry to consider the thousands who have not.”

Josie Andrews

I would love to see Wannabe developed into a full-length feature. But it’s also quite potent as a 13 minute short film. The three lead actresses are fantastic and by the end you’ll want to continue following their characters’ journey, wherever it may take them.

Wannabe is part of the 2022 Nashville Film Festival. Visit the director’s website for more information about the film.

kid 90

“I documented everything and locked it away from 20 years. I’ve never looked back at it. And so I decided to unlock the vault.”

Soleil Moon Frye

Actress Soleil Moon Frye catapulted to fame when at the tender age of 7 she starred in the hit TV series Punky Brewster. She was among a group of child stars who worked through the ’80s and came of age in the ’90s. During her teenage years, Soleil grabbed a video camera and a journal and began documenting everything: partying with friends, road trips, intimate conversations, flirtations, her experience having major surgery when she was 15 years old, family gatherings etc. Her circle of friends included fellow actors including Jenny Lewis, David Arquette, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brian Austin Green, Mark-Paul Gosselar, Stephen Dorff, among others. Soleil chronicled all the ups and downs of this stage in her life. More than two decades later, she’s ready to show this archive of tapes, diary entries and voice mail recordings to the world.

Picking up the camera was a way of controlling.”

Soleil Moon Frye

Directed by Soleil Moon Frye, kid 90 is an intimate documentary with a lot of heart. It captures a time before social media when teens, even those who often found themselves in the public eye, had some modicum of privacy and the freedom to be their most authentic selves. Soleil Moon Frye is front and center and we get to know the person behind the iconic character of Punky Brewster. Throughout the documentary, Soleil interviews her peers including Stephen Dorff, Brian Austin Green, Balthazar Getty, David Arquette and others. The most poignant aspect of the film is Soleil’s memories of friends who left us far too soon. I was particularly moved by seeing images and hearing the voice of Jonathan Brandis, whose tragic death by suicide is one I’ve never really come to terms with.

Through the tapes we see Soleil as a rebellious teen. As a Punky Brewster fan myself, it was difficult to see this other side of Soleil Moon Frye but I’m so grateful I did. It made her a more of a multi-dimensional person in my mind rather than simply a figure from childhood. Soleil Moon Frye exudes warmth and kindness. She’s someone you’ll want to spend with. 

kid 90 is a must see, especially for those people, like myself, who came of age in the ’90s. I hope Soleil Moon Frye will consider turning her archive of memories into a book!

kid 90 premieres on March 12th on Hulu.

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