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The Independent Critic

Derek Siegel, Francis Ceschin, Patricia Corby, Noah Weisfogel, Grayson Whitehurst, and Brad Merk
Grayson Whitehurst

 "Not In My Beans" a Fun Little Short 

While it's certainly not uncommon to receive a review request from an up-and-coming filmmaker, I'll confess it's not often that they come in randomly along the lines of the request I received from 17-year-old Grayson Whitehurst, a filmmaker out of Virginia Beach, Virginia whose summer participation in a program at NYU resulted in his making what he feels like is his best work yet in terms of both story and production quality. 

Since the film in question was less than five minutes in length, I thought to myself "Why not? Let's check it out." 

Boy, am I glad I did. 

Whitehurst's Not In My Beans is a five-minute delight of a film that manages to make you think while entertaining you along the way. While the film's low-budget nature is obvious, Whitehurst already proves to be wise beyond his years in terms of balancing story and his ability to effectively produce it on the big screen. Not In My Beans centers around Charlie (Derek Siegel), a quirky yet wonderful young man who learns that his life may not be everything it seems to be. 

What does it all mean?

Whitehurst wisely doesn't, ahem, spill the beans with his filmmaking and allows the viewer to come up with their own conclusions in this five minute story that feels both beautifully retro and yet remarkably contemporary in terms of subject matter. 

Are we exploring the impact of fame?


Are we looking at the impact of technology?


Are we wrapping our minds around what it's like to live under a constant microscope?

Could be.

The truth is that you'll reach your own conclusions and that appears to be exactly how Whitehurst wants it. Derek Siegel gives a terrific performance as Charlie by never steering us in any particular direction but, in a sense, playing out Charlie as if he himself isn't quite sure of the truth. It's a deceptively straightforward performance that holds the entire film together quite nicely. 

Whitehurst's lensing is creative and vibrant, while the film's sound mix and music far surpass what you'd exect from a low-budget indie short. 

So, you've heard it here first. Remember the name.

Grayson Whitehurst. 

I have a feeling we'll be hearing from this young filmmaker again. 

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic