Web series ultimately harmless

Kitchener Sync is amateur, but offers a substantial platform for local artists

I can’t hate this. The critic in me tells me that I probably should, but no fiber of my rational being says this is where I should focus my energy.

The second episode of the webseries Kitchener Sync, which premiered at the Apollo Cinema in Kitchener on November 13, is wholly representative of the type of work inexperienced filmmakers put out every day.

It ranges from the bad — where threatening inflections read false and actors cannot stop smiling during the shtick — to the passable — in that it is about on par with most YouTube video acting. Performances were hollow, soulless and supported by trying-too-hard-to-be-funny writing, in which a nerdy character refers to a barn as a “horse temple” and the protagonist arm-wrestles with an old man in order to get her intellectual property back from Google.

It consists entirely of subplots, and although the two main ones have some sense of cohesion (as they are both about the retrieval of what belongs to their respective characters) there is a completely asinine third about the scintillating photography of semi-shirtless men in cowboy getups.

It goes nowhere and does not fit in with the focus of the series, which is the struggle of the creative young person in a corporatized and industrialized world. There’s nothing in the short that stands out as interesting or exceptional, as even the competent production values are used to no visceral or intellectual effect, but I don’t regret going to this event. And that is because of The Short Films.

That is the band who composed the music to the series and although I remember none of it, they stick out to me as a group worth talking about.

After the screening they came up and performed a set of songs and immediately this reviewer took notice. On the surface they seem indistinguishable from the hundreds of indie bands out there, but they mold and morph their genre into something arrestingly affecting. They turn the typically angst-ridden “white woman with piano” subgenre and breathe life into it with drums and bass punctuating the featured keyboard.

The singer, typically a teenager in adult clothing, sounds experienced instead of sophomoric, damaged instead of hurt, mature instead of posturing as such. Their song “Naked People” stands out as a heart-wrenching look at the vulnerable position people place themselves in love and how much it means to the other person to be willing to do that.

Some of the members starred in the short and while The Short Films represent professionalism, honesty and sincerity in independent art, Kitchener Sync needs to expand in these areas in order to become something worthwhile.

After walking out of the show, I bought a download card for one of The Short Films’ albums. I hope Kitchener Sync does well in its hometown and elsewhere, simply so I can see more of what this band has to offer.

So while the short is lacking in much of anything to recommend, it has shed light on a music group that would never have come to my attention otherwise and that is part of why I can’t hate it. It is a minor work of amateur art made by a community looking to establish themselves — especially in the case of The Short Films. I hope that such a desire comes to fruition.

The next episode of Kitchener Sync will premiere at the Apollo Cinema on December 11.

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