Kyle J. Steenblik

Strangers is a moving short film

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Strangers is a short film written and directed by independent filmmaker Joe McClean.  Joe just showed this piece at the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, I don’t know what the reaction was there, but mine was substantial.  Clocking in at 10 minutes and 38 seconds there is not much time for a drawn out exposition, which is all right, good even in this case.  If we knew too much about these two characters, it would lose the emotional impact it carries.

Strangers2The film is about Dave (Brendan Brandt), meeting his estranged biological father, Richard (T.R. Shields III), for coffee.  At the onset, we don’t know who initiated the meeting, or why they are meeting, or even the nature of their relationship if a relationship even exists.  The meeting is tense, uncomfortable to watch at times.  The dialogue is smooth and natural, and delivered well.  These two actors managed to form a familiar yet cold and distant relationship in a very short time; it was both easy and difficult to witness.

Joe McClean says of his film, “In the end my movie is about forgiving things you have no control over and moving on.”  I would have to say he achieved exactly as he set out to do.  In a film that appears to have been written filmed as earnestly as any film could, the end result was a film Joe should be very proud of, and that I feel happy to have watched.

Personally, I can say I was not able to walk away from this short film unaffected.  That is something to say for a 10-minute film.  I will be thinking about my relationship with my son and my father a little harder now.  I would suppose that is the ultimate compliment I can pay a filmmaker.  This film was moving, frustrating, and very real.  I’m glad Joe made this film, and I am glad he is sharing it.

Editors Update: As per the creator of this short film, Joe McClean – Strangers has been picked up for distribution and sales by a French company called Gonella Productions. It will be casting a wider release net in Europe over the next few months and now it can be RENTED HERE. We support Joe 100% on this film, check it out!

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