Around the Bay

 A Family drama

  • Written and directed by Alejandro Adams

Sparse and utilitarian, Alejandro Adams’ low-key drama gets right to the point, then tells its dysfunctional family story without pyrotechnics. Single dad Wyatt (Steve Voldseth) is so remote and disconnected from his five-year-old son (Connor Maselli) taroundthebay hat he leaves the child home alone–and that’s in a house with an unfenced swimming pool. Looking for a way out of his responsibilities, he asks his estranged 21-year-old daughter (Katherine Celio) to move in as caregiver. Slowly, they work out some of their problems, but by no means all of them.

This sort of story depends on the acting, and Adams’ cast delivers. Voldseth takes a character who could be a simple villain and turns him into a confused, insecure man in a world that values self-confidence. Celio performs just as well as a young girl with responsibilities and emotional conflicts she’s not ready to handle. Even young Maseli seems like a kid just being a kid rather than a child actor reciting his lines and hitting his marks.

Adams made Around the Bay for very little money, shooting it on standard-def video. The low budget shows, but doesn’t hurt the film. Technology is putting feature film-making into the hands of people who couldn’t have afforded it just a few years ago. It’s nice to see that some people are making good use of it.

But don’t trust the title to tell you anything about Around the Bay. The Bay Area setting hardly matters. Set almost entirely in one house and yard, and shot mostly in close-ups, this picture could be set anywhere.

Cinequest will screen Around the Bay three times: March 1, 7:45 at the San Jose Rep, March 4 at 4:15 at the Camera 12, and March 8 at 7:45 the San Jose Rep.