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 Dylan Allen’s hard rocking, sci-fi farce The Privates.
The Plot: There’s a new band on the scene. They’re called The Privates. And they’re on fire. Literally.
As far as genres go, “rock & roll/sci-fi/comedy” is one that doesn’t see a lot of new entries. That’s likely because so many elements need to fall into place for the combination of genres to work. The film needs to have believable characters and a compelling story. It has to incorporate the sci-fi element in a relevant way. It’s got to feature some kick ass music. And yes, it actually needs to be funny. To date, only a couple of films – The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across The 8th Dimension and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World – have managed to effectively blend all of those elements. Get ready to add Dylan Allen’s The Privates to that list.
In truth, part of me wants to run The Privates up to the top of that list. Not because Allen’s film is that much better than the aforementioned films, but because those other films had the luxury of a feature-length runtime to pack all of those features into their narratives. That Allen manages to do so in under 13 minutes – without his film ever feeling slight or overstuffed – is akin to a minor miracle.
He achieves that miracle by keeping the film’s narrative relatively simple. At its core, The Privates is a straightforward tale of a no-name band trying to break out. In the band’s effort to push the limits of their music, they begin to generate unexpected results. That’s it. It’s a testament to Allen’s writing that the film’s simplicity never comes across as cheap or easy. The writer/director jumps between rock & roll cliche and sci-fi sensibility with uncanny ease. That he also brings the laughs every step of the the way is what makes The Privates such a complex and satisfying experience.
Of course, The Privates wouldn’t feel so effortless if not for stars Lilli Stein, Rachel Trachtenberg, Omar Maskati and Alex Herrald. To that point, the film owes a genuine debt to the work of Casting Director Rebecca Dealy, who pieced together the members of the titular band. Those members take a distinctly deadpan approach to the film’s more absurdist moments and manage to keep the action grounded in the realm of some pseudo-reality. As The Privates unfolds, the mix of sci-fi silliness, slacker comedy and not-quite slapstick energy make Allen’s rock & roll fantasy one you’re not likely to forget. And yeah, the music kicks ass too.
Meet The Crew:
Written & Directed by: Dylan Allen Starring: Lilli Stein, Rachel Trachtenberg, Omar Maskati and Alex Herrald Cinematography by: Evan Jake Cohen Visual Effects by: Peter Feigenbaum and Perry Kroll Casting by: Rebecca Dealy Songs by: The Privates Original Score by: Dave Paulson
I hope you enjoy The Privates! And I really hope you’re taking note of the film’s entire principal cast. Given their work here – and the exposure provided by The Privates‘ lauded 2017 festival run – you’re likely to be seeing their faces on the big screen in the near future. With any luck, they’ll be appearing in a new project from Writer/Director Dylan Allen, who is fast becoming a filmmaker with uncommon vision. For further proof of that, you can check out some of his prior work over at the Amalgamated Picture Co. Vimeo page.
While you’re kicking around, be sure to check out a few of the thousands of the other short films – animated, live action and documentary – their team has curated 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.