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Vimeo Short Film of the Week: ‘Growth’

Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s we’re taking a weekly look at some of some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Sil van der Woerd’s one-shot wonder Growth.

The Plot: Over a 20 year span, a family slowly falls apart.

The Film:

Most filmmakers would tell you that making movies is a constant balancing act between style and substance. They’d probably also tell you that, in the end, style usually takes precedent. This is not always a bad thing. While the goal of any filmmaker is to tell a good story, a bit of style can often elevate a story above its shortcomings. Such is the case with Sil van der Woerd’s Growth.

Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with the story in Growth. The film offers a penetrating look at the disintegration of a loving family that’s likely to hit close to home for many viewers, even if that tale is rife with the most obvious clichés that accompany most family dramas (i.e. money problems and infidelity and screaming parents and sullen children, etc.). Luckily, the drama within is bolstered by van der Woerd’s stylish approach to the subject matter.

That drama (which spans a near epic 20 years in the life) is presented in a single take, and is set almost entirely in a single room of the family’s suburban home. As such, Growth often feels like an experimental film bent on the manipulation of time and space. Both shift frequently throughout with van der Woerd skillfully utilizing Lennert Hillege’s effortlessly inventive camera work, Selle Selnik’s deceptively complex sound design, and subtle shifts in make up and wardrobe to construct cinematic tapestry of one family’s downfall. That he presents that downfall in a seemingly unedited take is a minor miracle.

Of course, as with most one-take films, there are a few well-hidden cuts throughout Growth. If you can spot them, well, good for you. Our advice to you is not to waste you’re energy looking for those edits on first view, and to let Growth wash over you as a singularly immersive experiment in drama. That’s what it’s designed to do, after all. But if you’re dying to find out where van der Woerd pieced that experiment together, well, that’s what second and third screenings are for.

Meet The Crew: 

Directed & Edited by: Sil van der Woerd Written by: Philip Delmaar and Sil van der Woerd Starring: Gijs Blom, Sil Bosch, Medi Broekman and Egbert Jan Weber Cinematography by: Lennert Hillege Sound Design by: Selle Sellink

We hope you enjoy Growth! We really hope you’re noting Sil van der Woerd’s name as well. The up and coming Dutch director has spent the past few years building a reputation as one of the more visually arresting filmmakers around. With any luck, that reputation will land van der Woerd a job on a feature film project in the very near future. While we’re waiting for that project to materialize, you can have a look at some of his prior work (as well as a behind the scenes look at how Growth came together) over at van der Woerd’s Vimeo page.     

While you’re kicking around, be sure to check out some of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – team Vimeo 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 your new favorite filmmaker.

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Patrick Phillips is a Staff Writer for CutPrintFilm, looper.com and geekinsider.com. He reads a lot, drinks too much coffee, buys too many records and loves writing about movies. Find him on Twitter at @savagedetectiv. Follow his movie tastes right here - https://www.taste.io/users/patphiltaste/ratings.