SUNSET EDGE (Daniel Peddle, 2014)
Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria
Saturday, August 9, $10, 7:30
Series runs August 8-10
In Daniel Peddle’s debut feature narrative, Sunset Edge, four disaffected teens go slumming in a supposedly abandoned North Carolina trailer park and run into an unexpected part of its sordid past, with the park itself serving as a character all its own, a constant threat always lurking right below the surface. Just looking for something to do, Jacob (Jacob Kristian Ingle), Blaine (Blaine Edward Pugh), Will (William Dickerson), and Haley (Haley Ann McKnight) hang around the dilapidated park and the surrounding woods, riding their skateboards, shooting paint-ball rifles, and making an enormous, vile mixture of soda and sickeningly sweet candies, trapped between childhood and adulthood. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, local boy Malachi Smith (Gilberto Padilla) is slowly uncovering terrible things about his family history as a mysterious old woman in white (Liliane Gillenwater) appears and disappears in the background. As the two tales begin to intersect, an uncertain immediate future awaits them all.
North Carolina native Peddle, who is also a high-fashion casting director and documentarian (The Aggressives, Trail Angels), was inspired to make Sunset Edge after his parents showed him the deserted trailer park; Peddle served as writer, director, producer, production designer, and casting director, sharing that last credit with his nephew, Jacob, who plays Jacob and brought along his real friends to play his cinematic ones, all of whom are nonprofessional actors. Peddle does an excellent job of developing the dark, foreboding atmosphere, evoking a kind of mix of Larry Clark’s Kids and Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick’s Blair Witch Project. The creepy film looks and sounds great, courtesy of cinematographer and editor Karim López and sound designer and engineer Ian Hatton, who also composed the moody score with James Corrigan. The sparse dialogue works well, but the ending is an anticlimactic letdown. Sunset Edge is having its world premiere August 9 at 7:30 at the Rural Route Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image, preceded by J. Christian Jensen’s White Earth and Àlex Lora and Antonio Tibaldi’s Godka Cirka (A Hole in the Sky) and followed by a Q&A with Peddle and members of the cast. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Rural Route Film Festival runs August 8-10 and includes such other place-centric films as Matjaž Ivanišin’s Karpotrotter, Josephine Decker’s Butter on the Latch, and Sergei Parajanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.