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Tribeca FF 2014 Films, On Your Radar: Gabriel
by Karen Pecota

In and out of a rehabilitation center for mental illness, Gabriel (Rory Culkin) longs to be connected with his family. To be normal, as he enters adulthood. Sadly, Gabriel's normal is skewed pushing him further from reality.

Gabriel desires to be married like his brother David (Matthew Call). He observes that David and his wife have a stable and happy existence. He reasons because they have each other. Gabriel recalls the last time he felt stable and secure. It was with his first girlfriend, Alice (Emily Meade). She was his happy place. It had been years since they connected but Gabriel longed to see her. He knew that once in her arms again his emotions and irrational behaviors would normalize.

Gabriel doesn’t remember the reason for the break-up but due to his condition Alice’s parent forbid the relationship to continue. His journey is to find Alice and to ask for her hand in marriage. This hope and dream will threaten his whole world. Gabriel hits one obstacle after another in his pursuit causing erratic behavior that eventually controls his destiny. Gabriel's fate of heartbreak.

Filmmaker Lou Howe writes and directs his feature narrative Gabriel, addressing the struggle one young man has with mental illness and his experience living in the world. Howe's inspiration came from watching a close friend struggle with the disease. Howe's story is personal. A firsthand account. Full of suspense. Howe explains, "As the audience follows Gabriel, they are never sure of what he is capable of. Gabriel appears charming but his behavior slowly becomes unsettling, even scary." The unpredictability of Gabriel's actions toward danger is Howe's ingredient for the right amount of tension in his narrative. At the same time, Howe brings authenticity to the silver screen so that what the audience’s fears can be replaced by understanding and compassion, for those trapped in a different world.