A bald choice for a short film

A bald choice for a short film

Despite the consensus among actors and filmmakers that comedy is the hardest to master, this popular genre of cinema tends to be dismissed as a cheap art form by prestigious film awards and festivals.

The unique advantage of comedy is that real-life issues can be explored through a lens of absurdity that is capable of momentarily shifting our perspective.

“My friend Oliver, for years his worst nightmare was going bald,” says Michael Whyntie, who wrote and co-directed bald future with Reilly Archer Whelan.

“That, mixed with being fascinated by office culture, where people play games and you have to deal with infighting, I just thought it would be the perfect place for something as absurd as putting the hair of this dead, so you don’t lose your job.”

bald future, selected to premiere at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival, follows Peter, an outcast in his own work, who believes his baldness is the root cause of his colleagues’ contempt for him. He concocts a follicular plan, a last-ditch effort to regain his position at the office.

The film stars Jess Kenneally as Peter and Aunty Donna’s Mark Samual Bonanno as her boss.

“When you go into a movie, where the storyline is already so strong, the best way to do that is to first get what’s on the page, and then once you have that, you have the freedom to play,” says Bonanno, a veteran improviser. “That’s how we vibrated on set.

“As an actor, you have to walk that line between self-indulgence and the reality that time is money and both are incredibly limited.”

The difficulties on set and filming time constraints are enough to stress out even the most experienced filmmakers. However, with comedy, when you need your actors to maintain a sense of looseness and flow, that stress could threaten to derail the whole movie.

“Shooting a single improvisation with a camera certainly has its challenges,” says co-director Reilly Archer-Whelan. “Fortunately, we had a really great team and an incredibly meticulous script supervisor who kept our continuity in check.”

The trajectory of a comedy short can be limited, especially when it comes to the prestigious film festival circuit, which tends to favor dramatic and experimental shorts.

“Short film festivals are so dark,” laughs Bonanno. “But it’s the best place to screen a comedy because even if people don’t like it, they’ll laugh because they’re so happy to take a break from the horrifying glimpses of the human mind.”

bald future screens at Revelation Perth International Film Festival, July 12-16, 2023

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