Short Films

Caroline : a short film about love, misunderstood.

Urban Kids.jpeg

A few years ago, my wife and oldest son left me and my two youngest at the time home for 265 hours. I had a stable job, was on vacation from school, and help from various friends. My wife was coming home soon.

When she finally did make it back, I was sitting on the balcony of our 7th floor apartment, trying to process the time. Here’s a piece of what I wrote:

If you know {a single parent}, show ‘em some love. Make them dinner, wash their dishes, or babysit their kids. At the very least, by their coffee because I promise, they drink more than you. A beer wouldn’t hurt either:)

If you are one, you’re my hero. (via).

This film has all the same feels. Only worse.

This film is terrifyingly brilliant. I literally feel the heat, the fear, and the panic in the little car, and I cannot help but ache for everyone involved.

The mother loves her kids, no doubt. But she’s stuck. No babysitter, no grace from work, and three little kids who need their mother to work, pay the bills, and rush them to the bathroom.

The spectators want to care for the kids. Because they’re good and decent people. Yet, they don’t see the whole and perfect picture.

The child loves her mother.

And everything is absolutely not okay.


How many situations like the above could be avoided if we all acknowledged the single parents around us and gave them an extra helping hand? How many children would be saved in the process?

If you know a single parent, show them some love. Make them dinner, wash their dishes, or babysit their kids. At the very least, by their coffee because I promise, they drink more than you. A beer wouldn’t hurt either:)

If you are one, you’re my hero. Sincerely.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Short FilmsOn Parenting : Single Parents

The film Caroline is produced by ELO films, a “co-writer / director duo Celine Held & Logan George. Their work as a team has premiered in competition at Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, and at South by Southwest. They were named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s ’25 New Faces of Independent Film’ of 2017” (via).

You can see more of their work here.

A Turning Point : Rebekkah's Story

“If making my detox public is gonna help somebody, even, literally, just one person, I’m all for it.”

With so much detachment and insincere living, I feel like these types of videos and “putting myself out there” moments will become more and more the norm. Which means the pendulum will be swinging into radical realism.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Real People  :  Short Films

Chanel just called, to say . . .

“Maybe not everything is supposed to be comfortable?”

Heavyweight “is the show about journeying back to the moment when everything went wrong,” and then trying to pick up the pieces, make amends, or seek forgiveness. It’s a brilliant show. I’ve listed some of my favorite episodes here, or you can listen to all of them on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Podcasts  :  Short Films

9/11 : Falling Man, and how we honor that infamous day

Most images of 9/11 depict destruction on a massive scale. But Richard Drew’s quiet picture of one man falling from the towers conveys the tragedy of every life lost that day (via).

For seventeen years, I’ve struggled on how teach this moment. Is it enough to watch a short documentary? Facilitate a discussion? Spend a moment or two in silence? Because it never does.

As the date gets further and further buried in our minds and history books, I fear we will lose this moment, this terrible occurrence that immediately changed America (much like Pearl Harbor) to “something that happened a long time ago.” To something future generations can no longer relate to or learn from.

Then, a recent email from a great teacher provided a possible solution.

It read:

Over the summer, I read this creative nonfiction account of one man's experience on 9/11. It's incredibly good for teaching language and rhetoric while also honoring those who lost their lives in New York City seventeen years ago, and I will be giving it to my AP kids tomorrow. Give it a read, if you're interested; it makes for such a perfect teaching tool on such an important day. 

“Leap”, by Brian Doyle

The Falling Man is a critical moment because it “it’s a very quiet photograph . . . {and} people react to it . . . they feel they can relate to this photograph. That they might have been in the same situation and might have had to make the same choice the man in the photograph made.” Taking the time to consider the perspective of him and them and those around honors them because it remembers them.

And perhaps, that is all anyone can ask for. Remembering and honoring those lost on 9/11.

The Tables, a short film by Jon Bunning

A look at the powerful connection between a pair of outdoor ping pong tables in the heart of New York City and the unlikely group of people they’ve brought together, from homeless people to investment bankers to gangbangers (via).

Love this documentary. The cinematography for sure is fantastic, but also it's message.  It reminds me a bit of the kids in Detroit who are waging paintball wars as a way to battle against gang violence. Give people something to do, a purpose, and a way to find community, and they will (I believe) stop destroying neighborhoods, their neighbors, and themselves. 

Also, Sergio is my favorite. 


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Documentaries  :  Short Films

Dead Dad's Porno Tapes, directed by Charlie Tyrell

To be clear, this isn't my dad. He didn't die nor does he have porno tapes. Also, this video isn't really about Charlie's dad's porn collection.

It's about forgiveness. 

When his father died, Charlie Tyrell realized he knew next to nothing about him. Tyrell and his reticent father hadn’t been close; as a young adult, Tyrell had been waiting for “the strange distance he felt between them to close,” (via).

Then, rather suddenly, his father passed away, and Tyrell was left to discover who his father was, by looking at what was left behind.

“I had this lingering impulse to make a film about him that looked at our relationship. Then, I found [his] porno tapes,” Tyrell told The Atlantic. “I thought it would be an absurd and funny way to approach the subject. It's hard to talk about a deceased loved one without sucking all of the air out of the room. So, by approaching it with a sense of humor, I found a way to invite people into the story in a less weighty way.”

And it works.

For Tyrell, the making of this video "was emotionally draining at times." Which isn't hard to imagine, but it was also healing.

“This was me exposing mine and my family's relationship with our dad. But the process of looking at our relationship and shaping it into a story for a film allowed me to articulate my thoughts and feelings in a way that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.”

Gene Roddenberry, the mastermind behind Star Trek, once said, "All art is an attempt to answer the question, 'What is it all about?'" 

I think Tyrell's answer might be, "Assume the best. Look for the good. Before it's too late."


Thanks for reading!


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Humanity

The clouds are singing, and we need to chase them.

"Mark, a 60 year old fledgling storm chaser recently diagnosed with lung cancer, sets out across the Midwest with his friend's nephew in search of a tornado before the two month season comes to an end.

The film was in competition at Tribeca Film Festival 2018" (via). 

My demons are smoking, depression, alcohol, cancer. There's a few. That's the way it is. Sometimes you get away in life and you don't have anything. Some people have a lot. That's just the way it is. 

There's something deeply intriguing about this video, about the parallel of a man dying, a man who loves and chases the destructive beauty of storms, tornados, and life. And then, when he catches it, he hugs a friend and smokes a victory cigar.

At times, our fear and pain may seem unbearable. Our instinct may be to run, to retreat to avoid the fear and the pain. We need a vision, that begins within us. A vision feeds the soul.

That's the way I like to live.

Me too. 


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  : A Peace with the Storm :  Storm Chasers in the Wild

The Mayor of Ghost Town (Population: 1)

We're a long way from being civilized. We ain't no different than man was, five thousand years ago except we have technology that he didn't. But our characteristics, the way we think, the natural human ways, they're no different than man was five thousand years ago. We haven't changed a damn bit. 


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Short Films  :  Inspiring Art


Cleveland's Balloonfest Disaster of '86

"Balloonfest in 1986 was a fundraiser for United Way and a chance to put Cleveland on the map, busting a record for simultaneous release of balloons set the previous year by Anaheim, Calif., on the 30th anniversary of Disneyland" (via). Instead, it turned into a disaster for the city of Cleveland, otherwise known as "The Mistake on the Lake."

"In the hours and days and weeks that followed,"  John Kroll writes, "the United Way executives who had engineered the feat were reminded of the basic law of gravity: What goes up must come down."

Down, in this case, on Burke Lakefront Airport, shutting down a runway there. Down on a pasture in Medina County, spooking a horse, whose owner would sue and later settle with the charity. Down on Lake Erie, blanketing the water just as a Coast Guard helicopter arrived to search for two missing boaters -- who would later be found, drowned; the wife of one of them also sued, and also settled. Down weeks later on the shores of the lake -- the northern shores, where Ontario residents found their beaches littered with thousands of deflated balloons (via).

I will say, that the initial picture, of the balloons wrapping around the dull city skyline, is pretty fantastic. It's also fairly indicative of humanity: the neglect of longterm ramifications for the pursuit of instant recognition and possible redemption.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Short Films  :  Inspiring Art