Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s why every week we’ll take a look at some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Lance Edmands’ visceral drama Strays.
The Plot: A city girl flees to the countryside to avoid making some very big decisions.
There’s a common misconception in cinema that something needs to happen in a film, but plot-driven stories tend to overwhelm nuance in the short film world. Lance Edmands’ Strays all but ignores plot entirely. The film follows a woman (Sarah Tihany) who seeks refuge from complicated personal decisions in her Grandmother’s abandoned country home. Upon arrival she finds unexpected guests and unexpected complications. Nothing much else happens. Still, Edmands’ film is thick with atmosphere, brimming with drama and packed with action. Emotional action, that is.
At the center of all that action is an elegant, understated performance from Tihany. The actress is on screen for nearly every moment of Strays, and her expressive, empathetic presence fills each frame with a natural, introspective intimacy rarely glimpsed on screens big or small these days. Tihany’s personal touch on the material is largely to thank for that. She co-wrote the screenplay for Strays with Edmands. Together the pair craft a complex, empathetic character that draws viewers in while challenging their perceptions.
They’ve put that character in an intelligent little movie that feels much bigger than it is. The film’s sense of intimate grandeur stems from the choice to shoot it on glorious 16mm film stock. DP Adam Newport Berra’s warm, crisp imagery infuses Strays with a stark emotional brevity that bolsters its earnest energy. Mark Henry Phillips enhances those themes with a deceptively simple sound mix and subtle but stirring bits of original music. And Edmands fits those elements together to form a tender, insightful cinematic experience that you do not want to miss. So see that you don’t.
Meet The Crew:
Directed & Edited by: Lance Edmands Written by: Lance Edmands & Sarah Tihany Starring: Sarah Tihany, Thomas Sullivan & Roderick Hill Cinematography by: Adam Newport Berra Music & Sound Design by: Mark Henry Phillips
I hope you enjoy Strays! And I hope you’ll keep an eye out for the film’s star Sarah Tihany. The actor anchored Strays with a beautifully muted performance that more than proves she’s got big-screen presence. With any luck we’ll see her in a big-screen project asap. As for director Lance Edmands, well, he got a bit of big-screen exposure a couple of years ago with the underrated indie drama Bluebird (2013). He’s continues to prove himself a passionate filmmaker with a clear vision. Let’s hope he gets a chance to bring that vision back to a feature project in the near future. Until then, you can check out some of Edmands’ prior work over at his Vimeo page. While you’re there, be sure to check out a few of the thousands of the other short films – animated, live action and documentary – the Vimeo team have made available for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device – SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting. And you may just stumble across the next great filmmaker.