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In the Middle of the River
Germany/U.S.A. 2018

Opening 16 Aug 2018

Directed by: Damian John Harper
Writing credits: Damian John Harper
Principal actors: Eric Hunter, Max Thayer, Nikki Lowe, Matthew T. Metzler

Angry and frustrated Gabriel (Eric Hunter) returns home, after years of disappearing, to find his sister murdered, and, as he swings the first punch, vows to find out what happened to her. A vow that is easier said than done. He finds himself surrounded by three broken communities that lie on the Mexican-American border. He points the finger at his arch enemy Trigger Finger (Matthew T. Metzler) who controls the drug scene in the area. As he returns to his grandmother’s trailer house, we learn just how complicated his life is. His American-Indian mother is trying to raise his twin sister`s kids, while taking a beating here and there from his Caucasian father who rides in and out on his motorcycle while spewing words of wisdom out of his mouth. His ex-girlfriend (Nikki Lowe) is furious at him for walking out on her and her daughter.  

The hand-held camera focuses on each character to reflect each one’s inner emotions. We see their struggles, their flows and their wisdom. The plot moves with energy fueled by anger, hate, and frustration but has glimpses of hope, love, and a sense that it is worth the fight for healing no matter how impossible it seems. This realistic film turns our reality upside down while we try to grasp the complications of living at the border in one of these communities whether you are Mexican, American Indian or a Caucasian. At the Berlinale talent campus, the Colorado born-Damian John Harper was spotted as a screen writer talent with his first script Los Angeles. His second film, In the Middle of the River, has already been recognized as a success with its true hard line look at life.

This movie truly is a very emotional movie and, since it focuses on the misery of the family of Gabriel and his surrounding people, I would have thought that it’s not an easy movie to watch, in spite of which I enjoyed it. It describes the scenes in detail and close up. In fact I almost felt it has sharp and good cuts in the movie as well. I thought it was also beneficial that they didn’t hold back on the language, especially during the teenager scenes. It really expressed the reality and the hardship they live in. I hope that many people will watch the film. We can learn lessons in life like how to respect and understand each other despite our differences and would heal our society.  (Adrian Schoeneshoefer)

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