Girl Model follows two women: a model scout named Ashley and her model hopeful, 13-year-old Nadya. Looking for girls for the Japanese market, Ashley “discovers” Nadya during a cattle call session in Siberia. Nadya fits the bill: young and skinny and photogenic. A former model herself, Ashley expresses her cynicism about the business, saying it’s “based on nothing,” but this doesn’t hinder her recruitment and involvement. Cross cutting between Ashley’s work and Nadya’s disillusioning experiences in Tokyo, Girl Model quietly but convincingly reveals the exploitation and lies that fuel the industry amidst the hopes of those with stars in their eyes.
Equally sobering, Downeast chronicles the fortunes of Boston entrepreneur Antonio Bussone. After the last US sardine factory closes, he endeavors to reopen the Prospect Harbor, Maine, plant as a factory processing lobsters. Local politics, bank practices, conflicts of interest, and double-dealing impact his work, despite its support by many extremely hard-working residents who love their new jobs. A study of democracy in conflict and a financial system in dysfunctional disarray, Downeast is presented with a journalistic restraint, though the egregious short-sightedness quickly exasperates the thoughtful viewer.
Girl Model screens at Webster University’s Winifred Moore auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 24th and Sunday, August 26th. Downeast shows August 25th at 7:30 and August 26th at 9:00 p.m. After the screenings August 24th and 25th, the filmmakers will be on hand for a Q&A. The documentary workshop takes place Saturday, August 25th at 1:00 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made at kdhx.org/mediaarts. For more information and the current schedule, you may call 314-968-7487 or go to the web at: Webster.edu/filmseries.