By HTP Editorial
RUNAWAY is a narrative film short about a sex worker in Venice Beach and a young runaway girl who develop a friendship. The film was written and directed by Sylvia Saether and produced by Cartter Evans and Steven Berger. It was released by United Spirit Pictures. Acting credits include Anna Cordell as the sex worker, Tiger Blue Darrien Skylar as the runaway, David Lyons as the trafficker, and Julie Mond as a fellow sex worker.
RUNAWAY is a stunning work on virtually every level. In addition to writing and directing credits, Sylvia also edited the film, lending a unity to the writing, direction and editing that is breathtaking in its crispness and flawless simplicity. In just under 12 minutes of running time, the film manages to evoke powerful emotions of empathy and understanding, while at the same time offering ample reflective time to grasp the full impact of what we are witnessing. This is no small feat in a short film. Time is a hidden character here, as both girls see their past, future and present in the other. On a purely narrative level, this draws the viewer into the inner lives of these characters, puts us squarely– and uncomfortably– next to them, with judgment suspended and our awareness of their predicaments heightened. We know almost instantly what is at stake.
Sylvia’s vision and craft are magnificently supported by VanNessa ManLunas’ cinematography, which captures both the gritty night scene of Venice, California and the close interplay of glances between the girls. The shot of the two sitting in an alcove is just one of many which achieves perfect symbiosis between geometry and meaning. Ugo Derouard’s sound design is an equally beautiful evocation of public space and intimacy.
All four main actors give performances that are uncompromising in their generosity and commitment to the moment. They realize their characters with such faithful specificity that– paradoxically– we are thinking in the big picture about human trafficking, sexual exploitation and homelessness with an almost desperate sense of urgency.
RUNAWAY is a truly wonderful, small gem of a film. Not to be missed.
RUNAWAY will have its world premiere as an official selection of the Palm Springs International Shortfest 2017 on June 24. For information about the festival and tickets, click here
To learn more about RUNAWAY, click here