Wylie Writes @ Inside Out 2014: The Impostors in a Sham

An Evening with the Impostors (DIR. Raymond Helkio)


By: Addison Wylie

Filmmaker Raymond Helkio takes a day-in-the-life approach and applies it to the Impostors, an all male performance group where the talent impersonate female celebrities.  Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin, and Cher are among the names in their roster.  We follow the gang as they travel to Port Hope for their largest venue yet – the Captiol Theatre.

While the performers remain professional with oodles of charisma, they aren’t afraid to admit how nervous they are because of the new setting.  However, you couldn’t tell that by their rehearsals, which reveal the thrilled actors performing without their costumes but with all the razzle and dazzle they naturally exude.

I’m puzzled by what I was supposed to take away from Raymond Helkio’s doc.  The film itself is a paradox.  It’s clear Helkio has a form for his documentary to take.  He starts in the morning and ends at the show stopping final number.  Yet,  An Evening with the Impostors lacks uniformity.  It’s a sloppy mishmash of behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and inadequately shot and edited concert footage.

The interviews are personal enough to give moviegoers insight into each performer, but Helkio seems to think the focus should be directed on the performances themselves – allowing each song to play out with minimal cuts.  For some reason, he also oversells the glamour of the show by slathering on video filters.  The show is classy and terrific without all those doodads.

If we’re supposed to be impressed with the Impostors’ show during the final third, Helkio undercuts it.  The camerawork is wobbly, the audio is dense, and the vantage point offers one of the worst seats in the house.

With festivals, the filmmaker can test out their film in front of an audience and on a big screen to see what works and what needs some polishing.  This is a film that needs some serious buffing up. Hopefully, the filmmaker will be able to see that.

Catch An Evening with the Impostors at Toronto’s Inside Out LGBT Film Festival on:

Saturday, May 31 at 12:15 p.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

Click here for more details and to buy tickets.

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