Fresh Coast Film Festival showcases top talent

Welcome to all who came to town specifically to attend the Fifth Annual Fresh Coast Film Festival which is taking place at a variety of venues throughout Marquette through Sunday.

While there is a plethora of fine films, many which feature outdoor-related themes, we are especially drawn to one called “Iron Family,” a documentary about Jazmine Faries and her family who hail from Iron River.

And Matthew McConaughey. No, that Hollywood star does not have a role in the film, but he does play a part in it — as inspiration.

The documentary centers around Jazmine Faries, who isn’t letting Down syndrome stop her from being creative. According to a synopsis at ironfamilyfilm.com, the 32-year old woman with Down syndrome is obsessed with soap operas, Barbie dolls and McConaughey.

The synopsis reads: “For the past five summers, her family has performed her original stage plays for a small audience in their town of Iron River. In this sixth season, we follow the creative process of writing, rehearsing and performing the play. Family bonds between her brother, Chad, and her mother, Kate, are strengthened and put to the test by the mishaps and chaos of coordinating a production with limited resources.

“Along the way we see Jazmine’s personal struggle for independence, her yearning for a romantic partner and how a single spark of creativity can spread joy throughout a community.”

Watching what ensues in the documentary sounds like a great way to spend 90 minutes, doesn’t it?

In a story published this week, Jazmine Faries said she took on the project to “take her own take” on her experience.

“I thought it’d be really kind of cool, inspired by all these TV shows,” she said.

Thus began her play, “The Double Life.”

The family’s efforts brought in Patrick Longstreth as the director of “Iron Family.” Longstreth was visual effects supervisor for three seasons of “Adam Ruins Everything” on TruTV and “Iron Family” is his first feature documentary.

Jazmine Faries has been writing and directing this play with her family and friends going on seven years now, he said.

“The play has kind of a running storyline about her celebrity obsessions,” Longstreth said. “So, it stars Matthew McConaughey as her husband. In this season, she cheats on him with Mark Wahlberg and gets pregnant, and a lot of drama ensues.”

Longstreth plays John Travolta, while Chad Faries plays McConaughey.

“We throw it together pretty quickly every summer with very little resources in this small community, and the community kind of rallies behind her and helps us,” Chad Faries said, with the family renting the Windsor Center in Iron River for the play.

It’s all part of making Jazmine’s dream happen.

“There’s all kinds of other things that you learn about the family and love and disappointment and successes and all of that, that go with anything,” Chad Faries said. “I think it’s a beautiful portrait of the Upper Peninsula as well.”

“Iron Family,” which recently won Best Documentary Feature at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival, will be shown at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Peter White Public Library and at noon Sunday at the Upper Peninsula Masonic Center in Marquette.

For more information about the Fresh Coast Film Festival, visit www.freshcoastfilm.com.

We offer our thanks to all who contributed content to the festival and to all those planners who worked so hard to make it happen this year.


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