Written and directed by Shane Ryan, My Name Is A explores the lives of a few average young and teenage girls. Ryan dives into their problems that my not be seen from the surface. This is a dark film that includes rape, violence, and even eating disorders. The characters in this film all come from differing backgrounds and social statuses, but as each of their stories are told individually, they all converge sooner or later.
The story has the ability to drag as it starts out slow and maintains that lingering speed for the most part. This kind of pacing is not for everyone and is difficult to harness for many filmmakers, but in a film with such depressing topics, a BAM-BAM-BAM editing pace would just not work. Apart from the actual content of the film, Ryan choose some very unique options regarding film style. If you are into the classic film style of masters and medium shots followed by close-ups, then My Name Is A will not be your cup of tea. The film cuts from a number of different cameras including the use of a cheap flip cam style camera. The girls in the film use these small handheld cameras, so it was a interesting and fun choice to see their actual point of view on life. So, from the full frame footage, we may cut to the DP’s widescreen camera that could be either a very ascetically pleasing shot or even a jerky, all over the place shot.
It camera work used in this film is what sets it apart from others. It is unique and ever-changing and helps keep the attention of the audience. With the slow pacing and long scenes, this film benefits greatly from the simple, yet odd filming style. Many times when I see an indy film that uses the handheld way of filming, it’s obvious that the creators were looking for the easy way out. Trying to copy ways of Blair Witch and others alike, many filmmakers feel that if they own a camera, then they can make a cheap and quick movie. I do not however believe this is the case with Shane Ryan. It is plain to see that this project was well thought out and meticulously designed.
This film is not going to be embraced by the general public. The topics at hand are not easy to view and the and film style can be argued about. But, is you think you can swallow this pill, then by all means check out this indy flick. Support of independent films is needed now, more than ever.