Dismiss a short film as simply a “filmmaker’s calling card” and you will lose me and any potential I may offer as a supporter of your work. Short films are as important to film as short stories are to literature. I know this is my opinion. But even the Academy Award have recognized the importance of short films.; and what film festival is complete without such films? To create a good one requires a masterful knack for story telling.
Dispensing with many of the elements that are offered in feature narrative, the filmmaker dispenses with backstories for the characters, B-roll to establish moving and changing settings, and what may often be a plodding plot line. Instead the filmmaker has to capture an audience’s attention, do so almost immediately and present just enough to get the viewer to fill in any visual blanks.
Working within self-imposed limitations, on a limited budget (which is a relative term), Robert Butler’s “The Girl on a Mat” achieves this with enough to whet the viewer’s appetite for a possible feature film development.
The winner of multiple awards, including Cineotpia and played at New York City International Film Festival, which is an Oscar Booster film festival Best Screenplay-Queens World Film Festival, Best Actress-Julie Kline-Queens World Film Festival, Audience Choice Award–Royal Starr Film Festival, Audience Award-Best Short–Glass City Film Festival, “The Girl on the Mat” has played at a total of 20 film festivals.
While Hayden grapples with male wrestling opponents for medals and praise, she must wrestle with the emotions of dealing with a drugged and drunk mother Although, surrounded by others, Hayden is alone. Although she feigns an interest in Hayden’s latest medal, Hayden’s mother, Rachel will not attend Hayden’s matches. Instead she wallows in her self pity and complains for her aches and pains. Hayden is clearly resentful. In the darkness of the house she shares with her mother, Hayden is surrounded by a gloom representing depression. You can see this as she lies upon her bed, or when she returns to the locker room after a match where she physically beats herself up. When her mother agrees to attend Hayden’s wrestling match, her mother collapses while fueling the car and is hospitalized.
I enjoyed this award winning short, and can clearly see why it received its awards. “The Girl on the Mat” delivers a gritty realism and features Aphrodite Nikolovski, Christine Marie, Cheryl Marie Freeman, Patrick O’Lear, Julie Kline, Harley Wallen, Yassie Hawkes, and Roque De Leon and a host of other Michigan actors. The extras present in the bleachers helped convey the atmosphere of high school wrestling matches complete with audience. Hayden and Rachel delivered rock solid performances.
This story, written by Robert Joseph Butler and Lucy Gillepsie, directed by Robert Butler, with cinematography by Robert Skates, and musical score by Bon Lucas, this short film establishes Michigan, with the people credited for all that they have offered, as a clear winner and Robert Butler as a champion story teller, with what promises a bright future. This is a joint Nu Wave Films and Ronin Revolution Films production.
If you have not had a chance to see this Nuwave production, or other of Robert Butler‘s short films, you will find them online and available for your viewing pleasure. As you do so, remember to share with others.
To view “The Girl on the Mat” click on this link here http://www.newradiomedia.com/the-girl-on-the-mat/
For more of Robert’s films, click on this link: https://www.nuwavefilms.com/nowshowing
This review was updated March 27, 2018