On October 17th, 2012 I posted – “Impressive Short Films at the #NYFF” – a review of six of the films selected and shown at the New York Film Festival. A couple of weeks ago Vimi and I went to the IFC in Greenwich Village, to see the program of Short Live Action Films nominated for the Oscars. The six short films were on a par with the program that we had seen at the New York Film Festival in October… with one major exception. We had the good fortune to see, #CURFEW, by #ShawnChristensen, from the US, once again. The film is even better than we had remembered. Then …we held our breaths. We wanted it to win. Knew it would win. I hadn’t written about it immediately …give it a shout out … I was nervous for it … felt personally invested because of all the fine scripts my students write… it was close to home…didn’t want to jinx it in any way.
This Sunday was the big night, Oscar night… and…”Curfew,” won the Academy Award for the Best Short Film in the Live Action category. We could breath again and I can now Bravo it. A terrific short film. Good script … very well cast … and directed …and produced. As I had said before, the little girl Sofia, played by Fatima Ptacek is delicious. Shawn Christensen wrote, directed, produced, played the lead character and did a wonderful job all the way around. He deserves the award and everything that follows in it’s wake. He is out there now in a big way. All one can ask.
On October 17th this is what I wrote about it:
” Curfew,” by Shawn Christensen, from the United States, perhaps the best of them all, is a nineteen minute, character driven two hander. We see a young man in a bathtub full of bloody water. It is a shocking sight. We are watching a suicide. He sits sadly, determined, his wrist bleeding his life away. The telephone rings. He doesn’t notice. It rings…rings…rings. He looks at it disinterested…finally reaches for the phone on the floor next to the tub, a woman voice, desperate, pleads for his help. ”This one time,” she begs. She hangs up. He hangs up. He sits …sits…sits. It is funny in its absurdity. Profound in its overtones. He gets up slowly, binds his cut wrist and goes to an upscale apartment, where he looks completely out of place. His sister, Maggie, gives him instructions about baby sitting her daughter Sofia. We meet the precocious Sofia, nine going on twenty three. The adventure begins. Richie has been given a list of places they can go, and what the money he is given, can be used for. Sofia turns her nose up at Richie at Hello. Her disdain drips. Their journey, the stumbling, the reaching out, the tantrums, the fear of touching, is all there before us. Finally the honesty that alters their relationship is surprising, captivating, and ultimately, very moving. Sofia is delicious, played by Fatima Ptacek. Wherever Shawn Christensen found her, she is a keeper, and he is a young writer/director that will be watched with much interest.
There definitely is a future for the Short Film and it is a wonderful, and, I think, necessary step in practicing the craft of screenwriting before you tackle the full length form.
I’ll keep you posted.