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The Independent Critic

Steven J. Wilson, Katie Groshong
Joel Wilson (as Joel Reid)
6 Mins.

 "The Present" Review 
An entry into the Diesel 100 Hour Film Racing Grand Prix, the 6-minute short film The Present was created in a mere 100 hours by writer/director Joel Wilson along with his cast and crew.

The film opens up with a man and a woman at a festive Christmas party. The woman (Katie Groshong) is taking photos of the party using her trust ole' Polaroid camera while being harassed by her companion (Steven J. Wilson), whose gift of a digital camera has apparently been left by the wayside much to his chagrin. Wishing that this moment could last forever, our man is suddenly surprised when, quite suddenly, time does actually stand still as those around him are captured by this moment.

If you've ever been around a time-limited film competition, you'll be able to greatly appreciate this well scripted and entertaining short film that accomplishes quite a bit in a short span of time. As the film unfolds, it would seem that our technology obsessed young man learns the lesson that sometimes capturing the moment means slowing down enough to truly appreciate it.

The Present features fine performances from both Groshong and Wilson, with Wilson especially shining after the moment itself has frozen and director Joel Wilson creates a brief series of truly beautiful moments. These two manage to convince as a couple despite the film's modest running time, and their chemistry together gives the film a warm and fuzzy feeling to match the holiday festivities.

Scott W. Hallgren's music fits the mood perfectly, while Joel Wilson lenses and edits the film quite well. While it's certainly arguable that the film could be spruced up a bit, a huge part of the joy of a time-limited film competition is that you get a definite sense of a filmmaker's strengths and weaknesses. For Joel Wilson, there's abundant evidence of an unique and imaginative cinematic voice who manages to take a simple idea and bring it memorably to life.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic