What does a person leave behind when they die? In 306 Hollywood, filmmakers answer that question in many different ways, all focused on their recently deceased grandmother Annette Ontell. The film is centered around home video footage and interviews with Grandma Annette over a ten-year period from the time she was 83. Coupled with re-enactments of audio recordings and a few flights of fancy, this documentary is a tender look at family, history, and legacy.
The film was created by Elan and Jonathan Bogarín, two of Annette’s grandkids. Elan got the bright idea to interview her grandma during film school, and the interviews provide most of the meat of the film. There’s a strong eye towards imagery, and Elan and Jonathan do a great job of mixing up their techniques, aspect ratios, and the overall appearance of the film.
At times it seems a bit much, like during a surreal dancing scene in the front yard or when they use a telescope to look back into the past. The two also converse with each other via voice-over, which works sometimes but usually just ends up feeling a tad too scripted and unnatural. To this, add some bizarre interviews with various “experts” that seem to be there to move the siblings forward on their philosophical musings.
All stories come to an end. In 306 Hollywood we get to see Annette Ontell’s story end and feel the effects of that ending. It is a heartwarming little musing on a traditionally morose subject matter, and for that the Bogaríns should be commended.
Wednesday, May 2, 4 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Saturday, May 5, 3:30 PM, Scotiabank Theatre