Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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No Right Way, Chelsea Bo’s hard-hitting emotional rollercoaster about the complexities of sisterhood, shown at Alameda International Film Festival

Festival showcases local and foreign filmmaking
In+Director+Chelsea+Bos+first+feature-length+film%2C+half-sisters+Harper+%28left%2C+Chelsea+Bo%29+and+Georgie+%28right%2C+Ava+Acres%29%2C+thrown+together+by+circumstance+and+a+weak+blood+relation%2C+must+untie+the+knots+in+their+relationship.+The+film+won+Jury+Prize+Feature+at+the+Alameda+International+Film+Festival+last+week.+%28Courtesy%3A+Paxeros%29
In Director Chelsea Bo’s first feature-length film, half-sisters Harper (left, Chelsea Bo) and Georgie (right, Ava Acres), thrown together by circumstance and a weak blood relation, must untie the knots in their relationship. The film won “Jury Prize Feature” at the Alameda International Film Festival last week. (Courtesy: Paxeros)

Los Angeles-based filmmaker and director Chelsea Bo brought her 2023 film No Right Way to the Alameda International Film Festival on Feb. 22. The hard-hitting emotional rollercoaster, which invokes snarky comedy to soften its emotional blows, won the festival’s “Jury Prize Feature” award.

Bo stars as Harper, a chic Los Angeles career woman whose solitary life is interrupted when she has to drive to Las Vegas to pick up her “almost 14” half-sister Georgie (Ava Acres). As the two women’s lives collide, comedy ensues as Harper’s picture-perfect house and demeanor make contact with puberty’s rebellion.

Harper wants what’s best for Georgie. Or at least, she wants what she thinks is best for Georgie. Bo’s understated performance prevents her character from feeling too overbearing; you can hear the love in her voice when she fusses over her half-sister.

Georgie’s constant texting and a lack of ”thank you”s will give you immediate flashbacks if you’ve ever spent time with a phone-addicted teenager. Despite this, Georgie is never reduced to a stereotype, displaying a joyous inner-self around her friends and Harper as they bond. That’s what makes it all the more devastating when moments of pure tragedy come in like a punch to the stomach, especially accentuated by the way Acres perfectly portrays anguish.

The heart of the film lies in the relationship between the two sisters. A simple scene like Georgie and Harper sitting together in the park is elevated by how easily the two can joke and rib at each other, as if they’ve known each other for years.

This natural energy is helped by the script being mostly improvised. In the post-showing Q&A, Bo revealed that many scenes had intended arcs rather than written out dialogue, allowing characters to flow together easier.

Georgie’s mother Tiffany (Eliza Coupe) represents a foil to Harper. Where the latter is order, Tiffany is chaos and mess. There are moments when Coupe’s acting almost strays too far in this direction, adding mess for the sake of contrast rather than feeling like a real person, but she manages to tie together all the quirks and rawness of a single mother trying to scrape her life together.

Despite the film’s low budget, it uses its limited resources to build the audience’s intimacy to the characters, with many scenes using natural lighting or long car rides to seat us alongside these characters on their emotional rollercoaster. Which isn’t to say it shies away from visual splendor- the final shot which I won’t spoil utilizes the full potential of the beautiful desert scenery.

No Right Way shines in its ability to layer and knot together all the emotions that we experience in our lives, and sew them into a patchwork tapestry of the good and the bad. At the end of the day, our relationships will always be messy.

No Right Way featured at the Alameda International Film Festival

Left to right: Producer Sean Drummond, Director Chelsea Bo, Q&A moderator Heidi Hornbacher. (Photo: Arturo Espinoza)

No Right Way, Bo’s first feature-length film, was shown Feb. 22 as the kickoff to the weekend long Alameda International Film Festival (AIFF).

Following the film’s showing, Bo hosted a Q&A alongside her co-producer/husband Sean Drummond.

Bo, who alongside directing and acting in the film also edited and produced it, highlighted some of the challenges the film faced while in production, including issues with the original casting choice for Harper, which led to Bo starring in the film.

“I was not planning to act in the movie, but it wasn’t working,” Bo explained. “I chopped off my hair and dyed it red, and the next day I was acting.”

AIFF was hosted at the Alameda Theater, and showcased eight feature films and a number of short films throughout the weekend, including some by local filmmakers such as “The Lake Merritt Monster” by Oakland writer and director Benjamin MulHolland. Also shown was Red Monet, a Portuguese drama by director Halder Gomes.

Alongside Q&As, the festival also held workshops including a drawing class led by animator Bill Plympton. The festival ended on Sunday, where it awarded trophies alongside cash prizes to various filmmakers, including Bo.

About the Contributor
Ian Waters
Ian Waters, News Editor
Ian Waters is a Bay Area native, who has lived in the East Bay his entire life. He is interested in how and why things are designed, which often manifests in a passion for playing and analyzing games. He often fails to focus on a singular subject for long, reading to a plethora of interests such as reading, movies, and thinking about (but never acting) purchases of spices. In addition to The Citizen, he also writes play reviews for Theatrius.
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