DIRECTING REVIEWS FOR JEFF KAO
"Made with love and wisdom, writer-director Jeff Kao’s Knowing Nothing Cold channels bittersweet 70s teen angst with a lively combination of breeziness and exactitude. Kao and his amazing cast capture not just the look
and feel of a specific place and time, but the metabolism — the very essence of how it felt. Not that past tense really applies here; the real beauåty of this film is how it remains eternally immediate. "
-Jonathan Kiefer, San Francisco Film Critics Circle
“Knowing Nothing Cold” embodies a substantial vision and a wholly original voice. It is downright obscene that American festivals have ignored it until now, in favor of fashionable, larger-budgeted trifles that lack the ease, control and poetic efficiency that Kao exhibits here. It is one of the best films of 2017, and is finally (thank the Lord) getting some of the play it deserves.
-Daniel Kremer, Director
"Jeff Kao's Knowing Nothing Cold reminded me of Richard Linklater’s films like Dazed and Confused and Everybody Wants Some — the movie follows the daily lives of a group of Midwestern teenagers in the 1970′s. The one way this movie differs from Linklater’s retro teen flicks is that writer/director Jeff Kao’s screenplay only has about a quarter of the words Linklater packs into his chatty films. Knowing Nothing Cold is an impressionistic film that slowly unfolds in a series of loosely connected scenes that don’t constitute a typical forward driving plot. This is the kind of film formula that can only work with interesting characters brought to life with great performances. Luckily, for Knowing Nothing Cold‘s audiences, Kao and his cast fill this film with scene after scene of sincere, affecting, haunting moments. "
-Joe Nolan, Joe Nolan's Insomnia
ACTING REVIEWS FOR PENNY WERNER
(For Raise your Kids On Seltzer by Daniel Kremer)
"The stunning naturalness of the dialogue, the actors, the quiet poignancy of each scene, allows us to approach the film as though it were a dense novel. There are moments of extraordinary storytelling in this film, and the talent of the actors to make us believe them is abundant."
-Theo Alexander, Unsung Films
"The heart of the film exists in the naturalistic dialogue and domestic details painted by Penny Werner and Jeff Kao. They make amazing choices with their characters and the collaborative writing process yields very specific moments. The scenes between them crackle with authentic intimacy. While Raise Your Kids on Seltzer is an ambitious and sometimes unwieldy effort, it is grounded by strong editing, solid 2.35:1 cinematography, and most importantly by the profoundly moving performances."
-Paul Busetti, Rogue Cinema
"Never did I feel like I was watching a scripted film. The lead characters came across as real and imperfect. Like all the real people I know in the world."
"The relationship between Terry and Tessa is strained and feels it, sometimes almost too well; one feels that awkward moment at a party when a couple snipe just a little too personally at one another. Penny Werner is mainly at the front and center as the emotional focus of the film. Werner is outgoing and an open book in many ways. Her Tessa is the kind of Jewish woman that makes the world a better place; she’s funny, pretty and pragmatic."
-Carlos deVillalvilla, Cinema365