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The Independent Critic

Camrus Johnson, Maaliyah Papillion, Eric R. Williams
Camrus Johnson, Pedro Piccinini
Camrus Johnson
5 Mins.

 "Grab My Hand: A Letter to My Dad" Screens at Indy Shorts 

Every moment does, indeed, count in writer/co-director Camrus Johnson's touching animated short film Grab My Hand: A Letter to My Father, a short film screening as an official selection in the "I've Got Your Back" block of films during the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival wrapping up this weekend in Indianapolis. 

In a mere five minutes, Johnson beautifully explores grief, those we look up to in life, and how even those moments that may seem insignificant can end up shaping our lives for eternity. Johnson made Grab My Hand as a gift to his grieving father, a way to align hearts where words sometimes feel so inadequate. Yet, the words that unfold in Grab My Hand are filled with poignancy and meaning, substance and much, much love. 

The same is true for Johnson's seemingly simple yet extraordinary imagery of family life and devoted connections and the kind of letting go we all know we'll have to face one day but we're never quite prepared to do so. 

It's not surprising that Grab My Hand has already picked up a slew of festival awards including the Audience Award for Best Animation at Dam Short Film Festival, Jury Award for Best Animated Short at National Film Festival for Talented Youth, Special Jury Award for Best Animated Short at New York International Children's Film Festival, Jury Award for Best Animated Short at Spokane International Film Festival, and Best Short Short at St. Louis International Film Festival. 

There's no doubt more awards are yet to come. 

Co-director Pedro Piccinini's animation is filled with depth and feeling and truly captures grief and the love that makes us grieve, while Johnson's words are precise, intentional, deeply felt, and emotionally honest. Frazier Smith's original music keeps rhythm with the film's peaks and valleys of life and love and loss. 

A beautiful little film with heart and impeccable artistry, Grab My Hand: A Letter to My Dad will no doubt grab your heart.

*Editor's Note: Grab My Hand: A Letter to My Dad was named the recipient of the Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award and received an $1,800 prize during the awards program at the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic