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Film Review: Inner Peace

Written and directed by Severn Lang, Inner Peace is an inspirational piece that provides a glimpse into the everyday inner conversations each of us has with ourselves, deep inside our minds.

Through the voices of five characters, we meet ourselves. They speak to themselves but moreover - they talk to us, the viewers ("Can you hear it? I do"), and in addition, have a personal and intimate dialogue, each with himself. And in their dialogue, we can find ourselves - our excessive self-criticism, our lack of faith in ourselves, the fears, disappointments and anger that are repressed in our subconscious, and occasionally go out into the conscious, only to confuse and frustrate us even more.

The range of topics is wide, and deals with relationships, aspirations, education, regrets and more, but the common denominator is our inner preoccupation, and our perception, regarding those topics.

Technically, the minimalist choices of one location, black background, static close-up throughout the film, fit the character of the film well. The viewer has no elements to distract from the message, and the emotional connection created with the characters is relatively deep for a short film.

The editing is good, and the transitions between the characters sometimes create an interesting connection. The division of the character into three faces in the same whip creates identification with the character, with the two characters on the sides whispering to the main character all the same thoughts that go through her mind. Editing the voices in stereo adds to the viewing experience, as it makes the viewer feel within the mind of the middle character, hearing the voices of the characters on the left and on the right.

What we liked most was the development of the characters throughout the story. They do not remain in the same fixed and tormented place, but also let the positive thoughts emerge, and return to believing in themselves. The transition from the negative to the positive, is just like the transition that exists in each of us. We all have hard moments, and we all need to know how to lift ourselves up and get back to believing in ourselves. Sometimes each of us has to stop for a moment, and say "Well done. You are good. Keep it up," and that is an exciting and important message.

Inner Peace was nominated for Best Student Film at LAFA in August 2020.

Inner Peace - Trailer

About the director:

Severn Lang is a talented, driven director from Urbandale, Iowa. Growing up in a small town in the Midwest, life was a constant struggle for him. At a young age, Severn’s brother passed away and he was diagnosed with extreme dyslexia, making school much harder for him than his peers. Because the education system in Iowa was unable to accommodate Severn, he turned to other, more creative outlets to learn, grow and find his voice. Severn preferred hands on learning to the classroom, and was able to find solace in the Boy Scouts of America, art, music and mechanics. He became an Eagle Scout at sixteen and learned patience and leadership skills that he still applies to his directing and film endeavors today.

After graduating from High School, Severn got a modeling opportunity to work in both New York City and Italy. Working as a model, Severn found that he enjoyed the hustle of being on set, getting his first glimpse into the film industry through modeling for commercials.

In 2002, Severn got into a life altering car accident, causing him to have amnesia. Needing time to heal and regroup, Severn returned to his hometown in Iowa for a few years, before attending The Professional Cosmetology Institute, located in Ames, Iowa. During his modeling days, Severn would often help hair stylists on set and he discovered that he had a knack for the artistry in it. Severn graduated from cosmetology school in 2005, before moving to Las Vegas, NV for work.

While in Las Vegas, tragedy struck again when Severn’s father passed away. He turned to alcoholism and fell into a depressed, dark place. Fortunately, he was able to overcome his addiction though, finding strength and comfort in God, his faith and support from the friends of Bill W and Messengers of Recovery MC. From there, Severn was offered a job working for a salon in Beverly Hills, CA, owned by renowned stylist, Jose Eber.

Severn moved to Los Angeles in 2009, where he spent ten years working as a hair stylist, while simultaneously pursuing opportunities in film. Being in such close proximity to Hollywood, Severn’s passion for film intensified and he eventually accepted a spot in LA Film School’s Film Production/Film editing program. He quickly switched to the directing department, however, realizing that his skill set was much more geared toward those of a director. Severn fell in love with the hands on, creativity of directing. He found that, in this particular field, his dyslexia and the hardships he endured growing up, worked to his advantage. The unique way his mind works allows him to view and approach things in a brilliantly different way; his past struggles enable him to identify with characters in his films and inspire his actors to do the same.

Severn graduated from the LA Film School in 2020 and he currently resides in Atlanta, GA, where he continues to direct films. Severn believes that film is a way for anyone to create something out of nothing and he finds that it is the perfect outlet for him to express his thoughts and inner demons to the world in a wonderfully beautiful, complex way.


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