Directed by: Josh Pickup
Written by: Josh Pickup
Starring: Lily Walbeoffe, Iona Champain
Two sisters embark on an emotional journey on foot in the countryside.
Ella (Walbeoffe) and her estranged sister Grace (Champain) are two young siblings who are going on a camping trip by themselves. They walk long distances every day, set up their tent and cook food. They cross huge fields and pass through towns. Although things between them are unstable, they have a few laughs, relax and talk about their lives and plans for the future. The atmosphere is more or less peaceful for a while, however things take a dramatic turn when the sisters start an argument regarding their parents.
This short could be described as a female buddy road movie drama. The main focus is the relationship between Grace and Ella and as the narrative progresses, more is revealed about their lives and past. The film explores themes concerning family, self-discovery, regret, reconciliation and coming-of-age.
Both Walbeoffe and Champain deliver terrific performances and they are very convincing as siblings with a troubled past. They have good chemistry between them and the result is great as they create scenes of heavy drama.
Pickup does an amazing job as the director and makes wonderful establishing shots of nature, including fields and forests. The methodical directing successfully captures the beauty of the areas. The screenplay contains very well written dialogue and interesting characters. There are well-constructed montage sequences and the filmmakers make effective use of jump cut techniques.
The soundtrack is one of the strongest aspects here. It includes a variety of beautiful songs by artists such as Marshall Ursinger, Nicole Reynolds and Nick Mulvey. The tracks were chosen wisely, as they help create the right atmosphere.
Gates deserves a great deal of praise and recognition. It tells a moving story and with superb acting and directing it is an experience that is worth pursuing.
Trailer for Gates: