Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck
It's really not surprising that Charlie and the Rabbit co-directors are featured on the cover of the latest Filmmaker magazine as part of their "25 New Faces" feature, given their exceptional work on the 10-minute short Charlie and the Rabbit, a dramatic tale in which Charlie (Elias Graham) goes a huntin' for wabbits after having watched a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
After having met as undergrads at CSU Monterey Bay, the two have managed to nicely blend their distinctive styles resulting in a commitment to making high quality, visually appealing and quietly character-driven dramas. It is their latest film, Charlie and the Rabbit, that may very well garner the directing duo their most attention yet. The film was selected for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and is currently playing at the HollyShorts Film Festival, as well.
Maintaining a faithfulness to the innocence of a four-year-old while never dropping the inherent drama of the unfolding scene, Machoian and Ojeda-Beck have created a film that is simply hypnotic, as true a character study of a four-year-old as one could possibly expect. Of course, part of this credit also goes to the sure and steady performance of young Elias Graham, a true picture of childhood in all its frightening and mischievous glory.
Machoian and Ojeda-Beck capture simple yet powerful imagery in a deceptively serene setting that only moment by moment reveals the underlying tension of a young boy, a potentially tragic mission and a faithfulness to the normalcy of this all unfolding in a small town right next door.
In a warped universe, Charlie and the Rabbit could be considered a variation of Home Alone, a MUCH more humor-centered take on what happens when a young boy is left to his own devices in a world that is infinitely bigger. However, in this world the ultimate threat isn't played for laughs and the young boy's determination is played against the backdrop of the very real world. Home Alone was ultimately a childhood fantasy, while Charlie and the Factory is an uncomfortable yet mesmerizing balance of innocence and stark reality.