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Movie Review: “Skid Row Marathon” at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival

Skid Row Marathon is an amazing feature-length documentary Judge Craig Mitchell and his running club in DTLA’s Skid Row. Judge Craig Mitchell is a judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County appointed by by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. As a Superior Court Judge he’s confronted with a daily task of officiating over people with sentencing for deplorable crimes: which include criminal cases of murder, rape, sexual assault with very are with very long prison sentences. Judge Craig has a great passion for running and a faith-based social conscience that eventually led him to offer Skid Row indigents and victims a way out. These are seriously marginalized men and women living on the streets getting another opportunity at putting their lives back together withJudge Craig’s Running Club through The Midnight Mission on Skid Row. Skid Row Marathon chronicles the ups and downs of these homeless folks as they run to retrieve and revitalize their destroyed lives with purpose finding, both success and self worth again.

Judge Craig leads a large group of  Skid Row runners now, but it wasn’t alway that way. The number runners has built up over the years. Those individuals included in the telling of this story are: Moby Diop, David Askew, Rebecca Hayes, Rafael Cabrera and Ben Shirley. This is a personal movie with real 3 diminutional people inhabiting and overcoming their flaws, crawling back off the streets, regaining their self-esteem and self-sufficiency. Everyone of these people have stirring heart breaking story that brought them to the gutters of LA.  For the most part each of them finds a way to redefine themselves, reconnecting with meaning since of purpose by running with Judge Craig and the support provided by Midnight Mission.

Judge Craig’s running club strives to achieve meaningful life moments to motivates his crew runners. Because of his unique vision he has taken them to the Accra International Marathon in Ghana, the LA Marathon and the Rome Marathon. It has all the ingredients for amazing and meaningful story fleshed with real human beings.

Photo by Billy Bennight for The Los Angeles Beat

Skid Row Marathon is a substantial feel good documentary. But beyond these great individual’s stories is an exceptionally well made film with remarkable direction by Mark Hayes. There are really nice camera moves and some stunning crane shots that elevates the visual experience and the story telling in this movie. The cinematography choices a make the movie more theatrical or artistically pleasing and that direction really moves the story along in such a beautiful way.

Skid Row Marathon is wonderfully made movie with a solid transformational message that resonates with anyone that has an ounce of humanity. Judge Craig’s bring together a remarkable mix of social responsibility that embraces meaningful practical application. This is an elevating and substantial film that will inspire and transform anyone who takes the time to experience it. I highly recommend this documentary without reservation!

Author: ninja
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