NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 14, 2012

Double the excitement

Films drawing Oscar buzz have local ties

(Continued)

“Both of them have possibilities and both of them have national stature,” Mungo said. “Both will both find their place in the pantheon of important films.”

Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s “Somewhere Between” catches up with four young girls who left their native homeland as infants in a wave of adoptions that correlated with a controversial Chinese policy restricting families to one child.

Through the lens of Goldstein Knowlton, we meet them as young teens becoming aware for the first time of the social and political circumstances that separated them from their birth families, and follow them to the provinces of their birth, where the girls who liken themselves to bananas — yellow on the outside and white in the center — link together the missing pieces of their identity.

One of the girls is Jenna Cook — a hockey player, rowing captain and current student at Yale University — who goes on the record about what it was like growing up in the community of Newburyport, where she was one of only a handful of Asian children.

The film has been well received by critics and audiences alike, described by Variety as “delicately wrought, deeply-felt docu-profile” that shows a sensitive execution of material that is unique to a certain demographic, but should have widespread appeal.

In the film “Open Heart,” directed by Kief Davidson, a group of eight Rwandan children, whose hearts have been ravaged by rheumatic fever, leave their families and at great risk, embark on a life or death journey to Africa’s only free cardiac surgery center, the Salam Center in Sudan.

Aside from the compelling content, the film was created with the help of NHS theater department alum John Pouliot, who touts the film as his first real job upon graduation from Emerson College in 2011.

“I got really lucky,” said Pouliot, in an interview from his home in Los Angeles.

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