10 years later

Filmmaker Aaron Metchik did not go to his 10 year high school reunion.  Maybe it is just as well given his imagination on what a 10 year high school reunion might be like.  Aaron’s movie, “10 Years Later” was the last film shown during the opening weekend of The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and they left one of the best films of the weekend for last.


The average moviegoer has no idea how difficult it is to get a movie made, even an ultra low budget independent.  It is even harder to make one that can maintain our attention throughout and keep us entertained, but Metchik manages to do both with his first feature length film.


The movie focuses on six high school friends getting together at one friend’s house before heading out to their 10 year reunion.  Those plans hit a snag when one of the friends, Kyra (Rachel Boston) runs into her abusive ex-boyfriend, who is now a local cop.  The next thing she knows is she is force to defend herself against him since he hasn’t changed much over the last decade and ends up kidnapping him.  She brings him back to the house and the rest of the friends must decide whether to help her or turn her in to the police.

Metchik’s success starts with his screenplay.  He takes his time establishing each character and to give them their own voice.  He also manages to fit in some drama between the friends, “My spouse is cheating on me,” one friend reveals to some fun when all the friends pull a prank on an unsuspecting neighbor.  The filmmaker laid out a good blueprint with his script and all he had to do was execute as the director (and actor too).


He does so by finding a very good cast.  Many independent directors will cast their friends and family, often with terrible results.  Metchik had his movie professionally cast and benefits.  Besides finding Boston, he also cast Jake Hoffman (son of Dustin).  Aaron Metchik understands the fundamentals of story structure as well, his strong suit for sure.  The movie avoids being a one note film.  Even while the main plot is unfolding he layers the film with small subplots to help keep things flowing.  He manages to balance the darker elements of the film with the lighter ones fairly well.  Although he is an actor too, he seemed to allow the other actors to perform through their own devices.  No one in the cast seemed to be stretched to somewhere they haven’t been to before.  It is almost funny to wonder if an actor, who is also a director, would be a good actor’s director, but that question will remain until Metchik gets a chance to build a longer body of work.


Matt Egan was the cinematographer and does some exceptional work.  The movie even involves some special effects shots and although they may not be flawless, they are quite good given the budget restraints of the movie.


There have been a number of studio movies this year by first time directors that turned in some pretty lame work.  Aaron Metchik shows great promise as an up and coming filmmaker and we’ll have to see what he does to follow up this very solid first time outing.  Maybe he will return to FLIFF someday or maybe he’ll find himself at Sundance (Pack your winter coat, Aaron!).