NB Film Fest – ‘The Penny Black’ Documentary: Curiosity Meets Authenticity

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Scene from “The Penny Black”

By Ian Simmons | Special to the NB Indy

“The Penny Black” directed by Joe Saunders and produced by Alexander Greer (who grew up in Newport Beach) tells a hauntingly honest yet curious story that will leave viewers wanting to follow the story even further.

Immediately, we are introduced to Will, whom the story follows, and we learn that the story this documentary tells was introduced to Saunders and Greer only a day before filming started. Saunders and Greer grabbed equipment and a small crew, and began documenting a story unlike anything you’ve heard.

“The Penny Black” begins as a look into a seemingly ordinary collection of stamps, but turns into a hunt for an old neighbor, which incorporates a reflection on Will’s childhood and his relationship with his father. Needless to say, this documentary has many layers, and certainly takes viewers on a constantly winding but ever-authentic journey.

Scene from “The Penny Black”

This documentary has a plethora of tones and moods throughout. There is wit and charm, confusion and skepticism, but above all else, passion and determination. You can truly feel the effort going into creating this story from both the cast and the crew, and despite the odd turns and setbacks that they face along the way, you can’t help but to keep rooting for them to keep pushing forward. Beyond the story itself, Will was a wonderful character to follow, showing a wide range of intention, emotion, and vulnerability.

Regardless of whether this documentary is something every viewer completely understands or loves, there are elements that everyone can relate to and be inspired by.

“The Penny Black” is not a perfect documentary, but it will fuel your love and passion for watching honest stories made by people who truly care about them. If you are looking for a genuine and captivating story, told by a passionate and dedicated cast and crew, “The Penny Black” is a wonderful pick.

“The Penny Black” is part of the 2020 Newport Beach Film Festival, which has gone virtual this year and runs through Oct. 11. For information on viewing “The Penny Black” and other films in the festival, visit www.NewportBeachFilmFest.com

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