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Once Upon a Lifetime

USA 2021
produced by
Cecily Jamelia, David Skato, Jensen Atwood, Magalene Sudduth (executive), Narlyia Sterling (executive) for Dirt Road Films, David Skato Productions, Slated
directed by David Skato
starring Arie Thompson, Jensen Atwood, Phoenix Nicholson, Marilyn Lucea, Raquel Reyes, Sophia Glemaud, Melanie Thompson, Cecily Jamelia, Joan Moten, Shelby Young, Krystian Alexander Lyttle, Aziah Von Harrison, Alejandra Mikulan, Melvin Ward, Narlyia Sterling, Tavarus Weems, Gigi Bolden
written by David Skato, songs by Emorie, Neon Beach, The Season, Centerpiece

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Thomas (Phoenix Nicholson) is a mere 9 years old, and already his life could be greater: For one he's bullied in school by one Clyde (Krystian Alexander Lyddle), and since Clyde's quite a bit bigger than him, he doesn't dare to hit back. But what's worse is, his family life is less than perfect, as while his mother Tatyana (Arie Thompson) feels overworked in the household, his father Joseph's (Jensen Atwood) is hardly ever home and treats mom like little more than an asset. And then Thomas meets a girl his age, Joy (Raquel Reyes), whom he feels somehow drawn even if she talks and acts weird. When he leaves, she follows him home and stays outside his house until his mom is pretty much forced to take her in. She's unable to answer who her parents are or where she has come from so Tatyana lets her spend the night - and the next day Joy wakes up a teenaged girl (and played by Sophia Glemaud). As this is an inexplicable thing, Tatyana takes Joy to the doctor the next day, but he thinks she's just pranking him, while social services suggest Tatyana keeps Joy for the time being. And Joy helps Thomas stand his ground against Clyde.

Soon, Joy is in her twenties (now played by Melanie Thompson), and at this age she and Tatyana make a discovery that shatters Tatyana's whole life, and while Joy ages rather rapidly (played by Cecily Jamelia in her 40s, Joan Moten in her 70s), her unique perspective on life that blends the naive with the very wise helps Tatyana deal with the situation, and become a stronger woman in the process ...


A heartwarming film that combines the comedic with the tragic, the fantastic with the all-too-mundane and tells its story in a light-footed way with a certain twinkle in the eye that keeps the film from going all tearjerker, and a healthy attitude against hammering home a message. And with a very likeable and able cast, and a fluid yet subtle direction, this has turned out to be a feelgood movie well worth a watch.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD