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The Independent Critic

Victoria Ortiz, Kara Royster, Erick Lopez, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Justin Willman, Jasika Nicole, Joey Millin, Kylie Sparks
Carly Usdin
14 Mins.

 "Misdirection" Screens at Indy Shorts Pride Stride Event 

There isn't a false note to be found in writer/director Carly Usdin's heartwarming and funny short film Misdirection, screening during the 2019 Indy Shorts International Film Festival here in Indianapolis as part of its extensive and award-winning festival run that started in February 2019 at the Festival de Cine Latino Americano in Fort Worth. 

Misdirection has already picked up prizes at multiple fests including qFlix Philadelphia (Jury Award, Best Short Film: Female), FilmOut San Diego 2019 (Jury Award, Best Short Film: Female), and SENE Film, Music, and Art Festival 2019 (Audience Award, Best LGBTQ Short). 

The film tells the story of Cam (Victoria Ortiz), a college freshman with a passion for close-up magic that masks a raging case of OCD and her real passion - her roommate, Jessie (Kara Royster), whose interest in Matt (Erick Lopez) is a pretty strong indicator that Cam's fantasy is going nowhere fast. 

Part of the AFI's Directing Workshop for Women, Misdirection tells a somewhat familiar story yet does so in a vibrant, appealing, and immensely entertaining way centered around the absolutely endearing performance by the charismatic and generally awesome Victoria Ortiz. Ortiz fills the screen with a wide-eyed wonder that makes you completely fall in love with her and Usdin's honest, natural dialogue keeps everything warm, believable and immersive. While you may see the ending coming a mile away, you won't mind at all as Ortiz's Cam is so compelling you can't help but root for her along the way. 

Kara Royster is a gem as Jessie, tasked with portraying the widest emotional range in the film and doing so to perfection. Justin Willman gives a winning performance as Hunter, while Jasmin Savoy Brown shines as Robin. In smaller turns, both Erick Lopez and Jasika Nicole both shine. 

Moira Morel's lensing is intimate yet vibrant, while Jenny Owen Youngs' original music perfectly companions the film's rhythm and energy. You can't help but bounce along with it all. Kudos must also be given for Heidi Black's editorial work, Mauricio Abud's production design, and Kima Baffour's costume design. Production values are, in fact, rock solid throughout the film's 14-minute running time. 

Misdirection is continuing on its film festival run with quite a few more screenings lined up. Alongside Indy Shorts, Misdirection is screening at LA's Outfest, Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival, the UK's Shorts Out! LGBTQ+ Film Festival with several other fests on the immediate horizon. 

Part of the Indy Shorts Pride block of shorts, Misdirection is an absolute winner of a comedy short and if you get yourself a chance you'll definitely want to check it out.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic