Review: ‘A Kid from Somewhere’

Inclusive doc premieres at TIFF Next Wave Festival

3 mins read

A Kid from Somewhere
(Canada, 54 min.)
Dir. Adam Beck and Paul Johnson


It’s nice to see images of Millennials that go beyond entitled avocado toast eating brats. A Kid from Somewhere follows three young creatives as they make their mark on the world and defy convention. The film encourages youths to escape their over-parented shackles. Bumps and scratches are all part of growing up.

The three subjects in A Kid from Somewhere are succeeding without training wheels. However, they consistently reassert their merits to industry veterans and, ultimately, themselves. 23-year-old photographer Olivia Bee still reassures clients who doubt her qualification despite a portfolio that features campaigns for brands like Nike and Adidas. Toronto-based skateboarder/photographer Patrick O’Rouke shows symptoms of Imposter Syndrome as he doubts his skills despite having a great eye for composition. LA Timpa, finally, a Nigerian born and Toronto-raised gender-creative musician, tells stories of homelessness and couch surfing while forging a recording career that includes opening gigs for artists like Cold Specks.

These subjects don’t have any pretensions about their success. They grasp how fortunate they are to be pursuing creative careers while their peers struggle with useless arts degrees and crippling debt.

Directors Paul Johnston and Adam Beck film the three stories in a fleeting style that floats from one narrative to another interchangeably. Dreamy cinematography makes handsome use of natural light to create warmly optimistic outlooks for the subjects as they share their stories in voiceover. The imagery offers a mix of work and play. The doc conveys the pleasure in having a rewarding career as the subjects engage in frisky photo shoots, dance sessions, or simply debate life over guacamole. A Kid from Somewhere uses the power of positive images to encourage audiences to one embrace the reckless possibilities of youth.

The doc speaks so plainly and directly to young audiences, but A Kid from Somewhere is ultimately more stylish than substantial. One finds more depth in, say, Maureen Judge’s take on the generation in My Millennial Life, although the lucid style of Kid inspires viewers to live in the moment.

A Kid from Somewhere offers a reassuring voice that says it’s okay to explore a life outside of conventional nine-to-five jobs and two-car garages in the suburbs. (It’s fine if one wants that, too.) But when traditional jobs aren’t around anymore and aren’t paying the bills, young people need inspiration to forge their own paths.

Part of it comes from seeing their lives and aspirations reflected in the images that circulate daily. The three subjects provide valuable representation for young voices. The warm, accessible stories of A Kid from Somewhere offer an encouraging nudge for the creators of tomorrow to take a leap.

A Kid from Somewhere screens at TIFF Next Wave Festival on Saturday, Feb. 17.



Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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