On Friday, February 15th 2019, Nerds and Beyond had the pleasure of attending the first “cast, crew, friends and family” screening of Matt Cohen’s short – Mama Bear. The event was held at WeedMaps Studios in the HQ Creative Office landmark building in Hollywood. There was beer, wine, and even a special meet and greet for fans that donated to the Indiegogo campaign for the short film.
The space was huge, (it was formerly a famous studio prop house in the 1970s) and had a fun and colorful atmosphere, with the seating set up on risers that were covered in astroturf and brightly colored pillows. In fact, that is where the meet and greet took place, with everyone sitting cross legged amongst the pillows. It was a sweet and intimate experience to witness, with a feeling of casual ease that was refreshing to see.
There was an excited energy that built throughout the space as more and more people began to trickle in, eventually becoming a tidal wave of joy and celebration as the place became packed with supportive family and friends. Several cast members of the short film were in attendance, including: Mandy Musgrave (the titular “Mama Bear”), Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Asmodeus, Supernatural, and Carlos Rivera, General Hospital), Adam Fergus (Mick Davies, Supernatural), Briana Buckmaster (Donna Hanscum, Supernatural), David Haydn-Jones (Ketch, Supernatural), Donavan Darius (Dog Eat Dog), Hayley Erin (Kiki Jerome, General Hospital), and of course Matt Cohen (the “bossman”) himself. A large portion of Cohen’s cast starred with him in both Supernatural and General Hospital, and as a result, a lot of the cast from both shows came out to show support. From Supernatural we had Rob Benedict (Chuck), Clark Backo (Patience Turner), and Ruth Connell (Rowena MacLeod). His General Hospital family that came out to celebrate were Maurice Benard (Michael “Sonny” Corinthos Jr.), Finola Hughes (Anna Devane), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante Falconeri), Ryan Paevey (Nathan West), Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix DuBois), and Garren Stitt (Oscar Nero.)
The crowd was enthusiastic and warm, with several people joking around (*cough cough* Adam Fergus *cough cough*) on the step and in the seats. After the screening ended, it was a veritable rush to Cohen and Musgrave to congratulate them. Luckily, we were able to chat with Matt a little bit about his process after the adoring crowds had departed. (You can read our interview with Matt here.)
The short has already garnered some acclaim and awards on the festival circuit. It has already won “Best Picture” and “Best Director” from the Olympus Film Festival Los Angeles and Musgrave won “Best Actress” from the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards.
So let’s talk about the short itself! Or as Cohen would say, “it’s not a short. It’s a rollercoaster.” Without giving away any spoilers, the short is about a retired hit-woman turned soccer mom who, when her son is grievously injured and in need of a liver transplant, must track down her powerful crime boss of an ex in order to take his liver. The film is fast paced, action packed, and often hilarious. Nothing beats the comedic timing of Richard Speight, Jr. as a coked out mercenary, except for maybe the banter and chemistry between him and Parise’s prisoner. Their lightning fast retorts crackle back and forth and you can feel how much fun it must have been to shoot those scenes. Parise’s drawl makes for an intriguing and enticing voice over narration. The action sequences are tightly paced with excellent fight choreography. Musgrave shines as an action heroine and all around badass, imbuing emotion and a lifetime of backstory into only thirteen minutes. Supernatural fans will love the cameos from some of their cast faves (like Jim Beaver, Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, and David Haydn-Jones), especially because they often subvert the roles audiences have come to know and love them in. Overall, it feels like it’s meant to be a feature length film (in the vein of something like Kill Bill or Peppermint) or potentially a series, like we are just dipping our toes into the Mama Bear universe. There are still mysteries in her backstory, and battles ahead of her to fight, and I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Mama Bear.
Stay tuned for more updates on Mama Bear!