A story about friendship, dreams, and depression, writer/director/producer Ella Greenwood's 11-minute short film Faulty Roots centers around Lola (Greenwood), a young girl with depression whose well-meaning but meddling mother (Sarah Eastwood) arranges for her to visit with a friend she hasn't seen for quite some time, Zack (Sani Thabo), whose own life is dramatically impacted by a life-limiting genetic condition.
Created by Greenwood when she was 18-years-old, Faulty Roots is a low-key yet energized and inspired film with tremendous performances from co-leads Greenwood and Thabo as friends who can't quite seem to understand each other's situations yet still manage to connect in ways that will impact each other's stories forever.
Nominated for Best Film Script by Film the House, Faulty Roots tells a simple story but tells it well as Greenwood seeks to bring light to the issue of depression in teens and create mental health awareness with the film. Greenwood serves up a performance that brings to mind that faux brightness so often found in those who are depressed yet determined to appear with some sense of normalcy to those aorund them, while Thabo brings a natural lightness and optimism as Zack, a young man who is just as mightily challenged yet prone to fits of positivity. Both performers are a delight and their natural chemistry makes their friendship feel honest and true.
Gaby Ambler's original music fits the varying nuances of the film's story quite nicely, while Ash Lang Wen Li's lensing for the film does a nice job of balancing the differences in each character's story. The film's production design, especially in Zack's room, is especially effective and the use of color drives home the film's layers of meaning.
Only recently completed, Faulty Roots seems destined for a solid indie festival run and one can't help but be enthusiastic about Greenwood's cinematic promise with such a strong effort here. With a significant message beautifully brought to life by cast and crew, Faulty Roots is a definite winner you should watch for on the festival circuit or when it eventually arrives via streaming.
For more information on Faulty Roots, visit the film's original website linked to in the credits.