Firecracker (film)

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Firecracker movie.jpg
Directed by Steve Balderson
Produced by Beth Wittig
Steve Balderson
Clark Balderson
Jennifer Dreiling
Daniel Holmgren
Jerry P. Magana
Written by Steve Balderson
Starring Karen Black
Mike Patton
Susan Traylor
Jak Kendall
Music by Justin R. Durban
Cinematography Jonah Torreano
Edited by Steve Balderson
Distributed by Dikenga Films
First Look Studios
Release dates
October 11, 2005
Running time
112 min.
Language English
Budget US$350,000

Firecracker is a 2005 thriller film directed by Steve Balderson, starring Karen Black and Mike Patton.


Firecracker is a tale of murder in small town Wamego, Kansas. The film portrays abuse, suffering, denial, and dreams of escape. Jimmy (Jak Kendall), meek, reclusive, and talented, is emotionally imprisoned by his abusive, alcoholic older brother David (Mike Patton) and fanatically religious mother Eleanor (Karen Black). At night Jimmy finds escape in a traveling sideshow carnival. Unlike its drab, depressing daytime reality, the carnival becomes a nightly glittering solitaire on the prairie, beckoning all around to its illusions and make-believe. With a guise of red satin and a heavenly voice, Sandra (also Karen Black), billed as an “oddity of nature,” is the carnival’s premier attraction. Yearning for a way out, Jimmy befriends Sandra, unaware that her imprisonment and degradation, at the hands of Frank (also Mike Patton), the carnival owner, mirrors his own. Sandra, taken by his innocence, finds her own inner strength and suppressed dreams. When David disappears, the metaphorical white-picket fences collapse, leaving raw emotions exposed.

Throughout the film Police Chief Ed (played by Susan Traylor) searches for truth, uncovering bits of evidence suggesting deceit, abuse, murder, and cover-up. Through her investigation she is led closer to the truth and the lives of those involved.

Critical reaction[edit]

Finished in 2005 and released in the first-ever "Freak Show Tour" exclusively in Landmark Theatres, and was released on DVD in 2006. Film critic Roger Ebert called it "Brilliant" and gave Firecracker a Special Jury Award on his list of the year's best films.[1]

Hailed as a “masterpiece”[2] and “told by a story teller who has a nascent finger on the pulse of contemporary cinema“ (Aftertaste magazine), Firecracker premiered at London’s Raindance Film Festival, to sold out crowds, where it won a Jury Prize nomination for Best Picture. It also won numerous awards on the festival circuit worldwide including: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Actress for Karen Black, and director Steve Balderson won the 2005 Domani Vision Award for emerging talent at Tribeca’s Visionfest.




External links[edit]