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I have a confession.
You have one minute.
One minute is how long it takes me to reach my first "judgment" of your film. Within the first minute of watching nearly any short film, I have begun to form a solid opinion of your film.
No, I haven't reached a final opinion or rating or grade. No, I haven't started writing my review nor have I ruled out any certain final rating. I may still praise your film or I may still trash your film, but within that very first minute I've reached one very important conclusion - Is this film going to hold my attention?
Is this film an immersion film, where I find myself sitting there looking at the screen completely and utterly captivated, or is this a "distraction" film, a film where I find my mind wandering off towards the review or a funny line or the clock or the laundry?
Everyday Today is an immersion film. It's a film that practically grabbed my attention and refused to let it go until its 11-minute running time was over. It's a film where every image mattered, every word mattered and I found myself wanting to absorb everything it had to offer.
A product of Pittsburgh's Joliette Films and writer/director Sean Ferris (co-written by Michael Danehower), Everyday Today is an experimental, low-budget short that perfectly utilizes photos, sound, action and music in creating a journey not too far removed from that of the nameless woman (Kate Porter) who is featured in the film. Everyday Today is shot on Super 8mm in B&W, an excellent choice to convey the film's sense of despondency against the mundane experiences of everyday life.
It's more than a little ironic that in creating a film about the despondency created in an uninspired life that Ferris has created such an incredibly inspired film. The film centers around the aforementioned woman, a seemingly normal woman with a far too methodical existence. She has been placed upon a set path, perhaps pre-determined by society, and it's the daily rigors of this mundane existence that eventually lead to fractures in her function and psyche'.
Ferris creates this mundane cycle of life beautifully with a series of images and sounds and mumblings that command your attention. Even the sound of brushing one's teeth becomes like nails on a chalkboard ... an irritating auditory symbol of one's increasingly irrelevant life. There are times that Ferris, who also serves as the film's D.P., speeds up the action or slows down the action as the woman, beautifully realized by Kate Porter, gets caught up within the vacuum that has become her life.
While she never more than mumbles her lines, Porter's performance here is stellar in the myriad of ways in which she utilizes her body to physically bring to life her character's emotional and physical distress. She doesn't play it for laughs nor drama, but simply "as is."
While there are inherent challenges in directing a low-budget short, Ferris uses these challenges to his advantage with tremendous results as both the lighting and sound design complement the film's action quite nicely. Music contributed by Joseph Rusnak and Kurt Tierno also works to add perfect context and structure for the film.
Everyday Today will screen March 13th at Film Kitchen at the Melwood Screening Room in Oakland with a reception at 7pm and the screening at 8pm. For more information, visit the film's Facebook page listed in the credits. Fans of indie, underground or experimental shorts will simply love this short and one can only hope that festival directors discover this experimental gem.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic