Tallgrass Film Festival Review: Claire McKenna


Film festivals can be a great thing for short films. I’ve only had the chance to hit one collection this year (might be able to get another in today) but I was told about a short by a friend that I had to check out. That film happened to be Claire McKenna, a short film by William Price III. This appears to be his first major work, and it’s a doozie.

IMG_20181020_170657I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got a lot of personal experience with family going through drug addiction, and I didn’t know the subject matter going into this. The signs were all there, the nervous individual, the twitchy behavior, the loss of time, all of them give the hints that should lead one to understand what this is from the start but it’s parceled out so well that you grow to realization and suffering with the title character. Family support, the chaotic look behind the eyes, each of these things build such a stark picture of reality that it becomes hard to handle if you’ve experienced those things.

Bailey Hyneman is an absolute wonder here. Several short films are from green performers and directors, people who are still finding their voice and their ideas together and need time to work out the kinks. This woman, together with Price, has appeared fully-formed and ready to shine. She’s starred in two previous shorts (When Fools Fall in Love and Adipose, which have proven difficult to track down) but this is the first time I’ve seen her and I was moved beyond words by her performance.

I’ve linked the teaser for this film below. I’ve no idea if it’ll be anywhere you can see it anytime soon, but I hope it will be. Beyond just the performances I could go on about the pacing, the sound design, and the visual style that cuts between over-the-shoulder angles to dreamlike sequences to surreal waking nightmare worlds that feel so real you squirm in your seat. This is a fantastically done short and I can’t wait for it to pop up somewhere you can watch it.


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