Filmmaker Todd Peters sends up amateur documentary filmmakers in his meta-mockumentary "Fell, Jumped or Pushed." He takes jabs at his bumbling characters, including a version of himself, but it's a mostly gentle skewering.
Peters stars as Todd, a loser who decides to take up filmmaking after reading a book by Ivan Libragi (Andre Belgrader), and Ivan, in turn, decides he can't miss the opportunity to witness this train wreck, so he takes his own crew along to document the proceedings.
It's a mockumentary of a documentary that skids off the rails instantly. Todd's film, "A Journey to Courage," centers around the vague notion of women's empowerment, as he attempts to interview the women in his family. He's soon usurped by his mild cousin Marcy (Blair Sams), who finds her voice and her calling on the film set, and directs the story toward the disappearance of their grandfather, Curly, who vanished off a San Diego cliff in full military dress decades ago.
"Fell, Jumped or Pushed" works because of its quiet specificity and the performers' commitment to these outrageous but engaging characters. As the film progresses, their placid, pleasant surfaces are peeled back to reveal more and more insanity, ego and grasping desperation. Peters lays bare the unraveling psyche of Todd as his film slips away from him, and Sams is excellent as the power-hungry Marcy. For anyone who's been on an indie film set, "Fell, Jumped or Pushed" is deeply relatable, and very funny.
'Fell, Jumped or Pushed'
Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood