I’ve been following filmmaker Julio Ramirez ever since he wrote, directed, co-produced, and co-edited his feature film debut Nothing Against Life, which took home a Jury Prize at the 2013 San Marino Film Festival. Though Colombia-born, Ramirez’s Northwest connections have long run deep.
Nothing Against Life was filmed in Seattle, with a largely local crew and a significant amount of PNW talent in front of the camera as well. His latest short, Weekend Tide (which premiered on Vimeo yesterday), was shot in Switzerland, while its post-production was done in Seattle. Despite its international pedigree, Weekend Tide also shares a lot spiritually with Ramirez’s Seattle-shot work.
This latest short is an absorbing mini-movie about a group of friends dealing with the melancholy that accompanies the impending end of the weekend. Revealing much more about it flirts with spoiler territory, but suffice it to say that the protagonists’ lives are changed by one pivotal incident that irrevocably alters their friendship, and their lives.
The movie’s pivot point leads to a twist that’s telegraphed fairly early on, but like Ramirez’s feature debut, Weekend Tide is much more interested in exploring the psyches of his characters than it is in engineering ‘gotcha’ moments. Elias Kaiser’s cinematography gives a warm, naturalistic look to the movie, and Ramirez gets optimal mileage out of his small ensemble cast.
The final few minutes of Weekend Tide just might represent Ramirez’s best cinematic setpiece to date. His editing and Kaiser’s nuanced, intimate lens work combine winningly with closeups of actor Saladin Dellers’ expressive, misty eyes.
The situation that spurs Dellers’ emotions isn’t spelled out specifically, which makes Weekend Tide a Rorschach Test for each individual viewer. What’s indisputable is the vulnerability playing in Dellers’ eyes, and the sad but unerringly beautiful resonance Ramirez and his team have crafted. In less than twenty minutes, the director establishes an easy naturalness between these friends, tells volumes with their gestures and reactions to one another, and pulls you in solidly as you see them faced with tragedy.
Weekend Tide‘s enjoyed a strong festival run for the last year-plus, including competitive showings at the 2018 Bogota Short Film Festival, the 2019 Amarcort Film Festival (which garnered the movie a Best Film Award from the Fest’s Youth Jury), and even a market screening (outside of competition) at Cannes in 2018. It’s visually evocative to make you wish you could see it on a big screen, but strong enough to more than stand up to a view on the most modest of platforms.
You can get a look at Weekend Tide below.