This post was rather impromptu, but one that speaks volume to at least how I like to use my small insignificant little platform on here. I would like to share 4 short films, that are very diverse in manner but the one thing that ties them together is sorrowful and tragic. More on that later, for now how about we just take a look, and enjoy the show.
Creedy and The Bee
This is certainly an odd one. While it is mostly to really no end, it is a stylistic showcase. The Seuss inspired narrator does make this an oddly poetic affair, that does have a unique script despite probably, could afford to have some moments of letting the visuals develop on their own. Speaking of those visuals, it was interesting to have a hybrid of faithful silent era recreation, but with modern lens and camera techniques. I got to give props for having that much integrity in your own craft as most would be so focused in trying to imitate instead of innovate. The location just really seems fitting to be reminiscent of the silent era and again despite being shallow characters the acting is pretty on point.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Yeah, you honestly don’t get much adaptations in the short film world. I wonder if this was a story of some personal attachment or if that was the assignment at hand but it is worthy of an A in my book. Again, short films are an art within themselves and through adaptation this fails to capture the magic of them being an isolated scene with little meaning and purpose outside of “yeah, this is cool”. The use of this peculiar location is to a tee and the shallowing of the depth of field and out of focus is disorienting which is a rather fitting characterization of Hamlet. Honestly, just the mere fact that you did Shakespeare in The Great Depression and it didn’t seem goofy is an achievement.
It’s spooky, I’ll tell you that much maybe if you don’t like finger pricks or foreboding atmosphere you’ll hate this one. Honestly, a very impressive long take in this and what makes it impressive is the lighting design. Not only does it visit 4 or 5 distinct areas of light but it just looks so cool and impressive of what effect they got. I like how the night appears a midnight blue outside and the room is it’s own type of darkness to it. There’s a great use of movement and close-up to really always keeping you in dreadful anticipation. Plus, it feels like showing off to not only film in front of a mirror but be moving another mirror and never being exposed behind the scene. In fairness, this is more so a teaser for a potential web series so I will give it some forgiveness for being the most generic Bloody Mary, Midnight Man, Candyman story that has ever been told. The last scare is weak but I guess it wasn’t embarrassing or unfitting. Shame this is never getting made, as the short is enough to raise your curiosity as to what more it could do.
As frustrating as it is that something where nothing happens is now considered a really good short film, this at least portrays a message in a very nice way. It’s spending a day in the life with a character and while there’s no plot, it does hit beats and presents a narrative. Esi is an aspiring photographer and is just going through the motions of pursuing that passion. At first it seems underwhelming, working as an assistant in the studio and doing small tasks as an underling. Then the film transitions to a scene of isolation, piling on with the a call from Esi’s mother bringing question to her artistic pursuits. Finally, the emotional crescendo is a party with her fellow photographers and crew who transition into an encouraging and uplifting share circle. It can be a tad emotional manipulative but it never gets too preachy as it does leave a resonating impression of warmth in finding a sense of community and belonging.
Now the Tragedy
Yeah there’s one underlying common thing that each of these film share. These all feature recently deceased cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Hutchins the victim of an on set accident in which she was shot with a prop gun.
I don’t know, I’ve found a lot of major media coverage of this just being “some woman” is kind of insulting. It’s the kind of cruel de-humanization I would expect they give a production-assistant or a gaffer (which would be wrong as well) but the fact that it was a cinematographer, one of the major on set positions is kind of shocking. I mean do whatever headline generates the clicks right?
That’s kind of why I saved this until the end, as the last thing I want is for my coverage to seem opportunistic on my end. I didn’t upfront credit Hutchins because I wanted to give you an opportunity to appreciate her works without tainting it with her tragic passing. At the end of the day, I feel like people recognizing and exploring the content in which I helped create is what I would want people talking about. My opinions aren’t sugarcoated her, I’ll probably forget all of these shorts quickly but the camera work is nice and I can see how this led to getting to work on a feature film with a recognizable actor in Alec Baldwin.
I am not the most potent of writers and taking things seriously isn’t my strong suite, but I hope this gives you something to attach to as you see the name Halyna Hutchins float around. A grim reminder of how serious all filmmakers do or should take on set safety protocol. From one creative to another, my condolences are to those close to Hutchins, and affected by this tragic incident. Cinematographers often are able to let the pictures on screen do the talking, so I hope this catalogue was able to give you a glimpse of who Hutchins was, and remember the art that was constructed with this terribly short time spent with us.