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The Independent Critic

Jade Jordan, Norma Sheahan, Karen Healy
Claire Byrne
Karen Healy
11 Mins.

 "Ascending Grace" Has U.S. Premiere at Indy Shorts 
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Claire Byrne's Ascending Grace has its U.S. premiere during the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival going on this week in Indianapolis both virtually and in the socially distanced environs of Indy's own Tibbs Drive-In. An 11-minute comedy short from Ireland, Ascending Grace is set inside a small plane in the west of Ireland as a stressed out flight attendant, Sarah, tries to rein in a choir of singing passengers on the overbooked and overly restless flight. Inside the cabin, first-officer Maedhbh is practically bubbling over with excitement over this new route while the cynical captain, Cara, ain't havin' it. 

If this flight's going anywhere, it's going to take some divine intervention. 

With a zesty spirit and feel-good charm, Ascending Grace is a definite winner with a trio of top-notch performances from Jade Jordan, Norma Sheahan, and Karen Healy all bringing the laughs and bringing in the heart. Working from Healy's script, Byrne maximizes the film's quick and breezy 11-minute running time and keeps the pace moving perfectly without a dead spot to be found here. 

Eleanor Bowman's lensing is strong throughout, while Anna Rice's original music gives the film an extra spark of energy. The film is screening as part of the Comedy Block of shorts during Indy Shorts and also screened at Galway Film Fleadh earlier this month. In this pandemic-influenced festival season, we can all need a lot more laughs and Claire Byrne's Ascending Grace supplies them in abundance. Here's hoping the film captures some additional U.S. dates and snags the wider audience it definitely deserves. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic