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The Independent Critic

Danny Gomez, Julia Arian, Michael Vaccaro, Shannon Dieriex
Carl Hansen
Andrew Horng
6 Mins.

 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Winner "Check Mate" Plays Indy Shorts 
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Carl Hansen's six-minute short film Check Mate picked up the Best Film prize during the 2018 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge and is screening this weekend as part of Heartland Film's inaugural Indy Shorts International Film Festival being held July 26-29, 2018 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. 

In the film, Whitney (Julia Arian) has to find a new roommate when her current one decides to move to New York. Unbeknownst to her, two bitter rivals, Chad (Danny Gomez) and Zack (Michael C. Vaccaro) show up and suddenly the interviews for a potential roommate turn into an all out, and completely hilarious, war for the domestic roses. 

Check Mate is, indeed, the true gem of the four Easterseals Disability Film Challenge winners, a complete package of a film with an abundance of humor, quite a bit of heart, more than a little disability awareness and an absolutely terrific cast across the board. 

Screening as part of the Comedy Shorts program, Check Mate will make you absolutely adore Chad and Zack while also being immensely glad they're not your roommates. 


Gomez and Vaccaro riff off each other beautifully, their spontaneity and energy remaining spot-on even as the closing credits are rolling. Julia Arian is an absolute gem as Whitney, while Shannon Dieriex rounds out the cast in fine fashion. 

Nicolas Roark's lensing is also terrific throughout the film, while the entire production crew deserves credit for putting together an immensely entertaining film that looks like it took quite a bit more time than the allotted weekend in which the films go from concept to final product. 

Check Mate is screening twice during Indy Shorts:

  • Saturday, July 28th at 4:30pm inside DeBoest Lecture Hall at Newfields
  • Sunday, July 29th at 7:30pm inside The Toby

For more information on Indy Shorts, visit the Indy Shorts website. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic