Almost a year ago, I attended the local film festival Dances with Films to see a short film that my friend Austin Highsmith acted in called DRINK. I had met the director, Emily Moss Wilson, once at a party but otherwise didn't really know much about her or her film. When I found out the short was 23 minutes, I got a twinge of the same gut reaction I'm sure some of you might be feeling.
"23 minutes?! In the short film world that might as well be Gone With The Wind! Who makes a short that's the same length as your average sitcom sans commercials? If you're gonna take that much of my time, you'd better deliver!"
As far as I'm concerned DRINK delivers. I was rivited to the screen the whole time. The production value is fantastic, the acting is great, the visuals are appropriately unsettling at times. I completely bought into the world that Wilson and her team created. This might be one of the best shorts I've seen.
In talking to Emily post-screening, she cited The Twilight Zone and The X-Files as two of her big influences and said that one reason DRINK came in at the length it did was because they wanted it to play like a pilot for a Twilight Zone-like anthology series. For my money, it works.
Every now and then, we see some flashy VFX-driven short somehow get featured on Deadline or some other website and everyone seems to "ooh" and "ahhh" over the VFX that was done at a pittance, if not a total favor, and gives a total pass to the story. I'm tired of viral shorts that are little more than sizzle reels for stunt teams or VFX wizards. You want to impress me? Tell me a story.
If some film school punk can upload a 3-minute showcase of his knowledge of After Effects and suddenly have studios fighting begging him to come in for meetings, there is no reason that DRINK shouldn't be a fantastic calling card for Emily Moss Wilson. She sustains the tension and intrigue for a full 23 minutes - not an easy feat. I want to see what she can do with a feature. This is a helluva lot stronger calling card than most short films I see.
Please check out DRINK, "A Twilight Zone-inspired cautionary tale about a young mother forced to come face-to-face with her deepest desire."
STARRING Austin Highsmith, Nolan Gross, Noah Swindle, Jake Muxworthy, Carter Jenkins, Virginia Tucker, Ron Harper
Directed by Emily Moss Wilson
Written by Emily Moss Wilson and Larry Soileau
Produced by Greg Wilson and Benjamin Grayson