Sunday, February 28, 2021

Anatomy of Wings - 2021 Slamdance Documentary Review

The Documentary: Anatomy of Wings

The Directors: Kirsten D'Andrea Hollander and Nikiea Redmond

The Story: What is only supposed to last 10-weeks turns into a 10+ year journey for 10 Baltimore City Girls who frame how their cinematic story is shared with the world.

The Review:
This documentary is a fascinating look at a group of young women  who literally grow up before our eyes thanks to their involvement in the Wings program which was founded by Nikiea Redmond and Kirsten D'Andrea Hollander. The two ladies also directed this documentary which seemed to evolve in such an organic way as the program itself was originally intended to only be a ten week course not a ten year journey. The duo seemingly had no idea what this effort was going to turn in to but ten years later, they literally changed lives and created a community of strong women ready to take on a world that is set up to see them fail.

This story really should be looked at as a blueprint for every school to have some sort of program like Wings or maybe run by some community or non profit organization. You really see a difference in how the girls interact with each other and with their own families and communities. The number one thing I see as a result of the program is an ability to communicate in authentic and open ways which also helps to build the emotion and drama of the documentary. These women are bold and fierce and they hold nothing back whether it's having fun and celebrating, or throwing down the emotional gauntlet during a touch time. These characteristics are generally not taught or encouraged and especially when it comes to girls.

As a documentary, I really liked how the production maintains a DIY feel all the way through. The texture and production value is consistent all the way through which actually enhances the growth and transformation that the people in the doc go through. Not sure if that was intentional or just a byproduct of how the documentary took shape but it definitely works. I can't imagine what the editing process was like going through ten years of footage and then creating a concise and coherent story would surely not be an easy task. Job well done though as the heart and emotion of the story along with the strength and resolve of all the women in the movie is what ultimately shines through.

To keep track of all my reviews and festival coverage please go to: TwoOhSix at Slamdance 2021.

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