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The Independent Critic

Anthony Stratton, Lindsay Waller
Ian Scott McCullough
Ian Scott McCullough, Alex Parobek (Based upon a play by Parobek)

 "Nesting Grounds" is a Powerful Short Film About Life and Grief 
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Noah (Anthony Stratton) is a reclusive young man dealing with the death of his mother while living in a home where everything and everywhere is a memory. As he struggles more and more, Noah begins to compulsively hoard even the most absurd things that have become logical in his mind and in his memory. Everything has a purpose and everything has become part of his fragile life experience.

As Noah clings ever more tightly to his memories, his hoarding intensifies and his thoughts and ideas become more disheveled and chaotic and agitated. As a coping skill of sorts, Noah begins building a home worthy of his beloved birds. When tragedy strikes and one of his birds dies, Noah is left to pick up the shards of memory with which he's been left and to try to make sense of life and death and memory and stuff.

Co-written and directed by Ian Scott McCullough, Nesting Grounds just played at the Gwinnett Center International Film Festival and one can expect tremendous things from this thought-provoking and emotionally honest film centered by a stand-out performance from Anthony Stratton, a critically claimed up-and-coming actor whose work here we might as well consider a one-man show.

What a show it is.

Stratton is dramatically resonant without ever crossing the line into histrionics, while he's also raw and vulnerable and heartfelt and simply everything you could ask an actor to be in a role that demands layers of complexity. McCullough's own lensing for the film is intimate without being invasive, while Samantha DeMaria's production design captures both the chaotic and isolative nature of Noah's world. The film is based upon a play by Alex Parobek, and it's a testimony to all involved that watching this 15-minute short film made me immediately want to check out the expanded work.

For more information on Nesting Grounds, visit the film's website linked to in the credits to the left of this review.

Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic