Directed by Naqqash Khalid Starring Chance Gabriel, Patricia McGuinn, & Dylan C. Digel Short Film Review by Jack Bottomley
"Casting with a catch"
Ask any independent filmmaker, budding writer or struggling artist and they will tell you that you have to give a lot of yourself before you even begin to make money or a difference with your chosen art form. Be it on an instrument or on the screen, page, or canvas, so many people work tirelessly to create something and so many more understandably have to abandon their dreams to get by. It is this very idea of giving a piece of yourself for your art that is the understated core concept of this impressive short film from director Naqqash Khalid, who recently won an award for Best Young Filmmaker at the Starburst International Film Festival. Parts is an interesting film, which chooses restraint over viscera to get its point across.
The film sees a young man (Chance Gabriel) auditioning for a role, only to once again find himself wanting, until his agent (Patricia McGuinn) comes up with an idea. At just 4 ½ minutes time is really of the essence in this short feature, which has ideas ripe for being explored in a longer work, especially as it leaves things on a rather ominous note. Centred around what it is to find work as an actor, the film’s message really can be applied to any artist, as can some of the statements Khalid makes. Opening in an interview scene, Khalid’s film suggests just how superficial the business has become, with notions of ‘character’ being deemed something only befitting certain acting jobs and the idea of a role making a difference being a role in a Drama. These statements are made with such passing flippancy that it is rather scary just how right they are and how accepted.
Chance Gabriel is believable at the core of the film and his awkward opening scene with Dylan C. Digel’s brilliantly smarmy advertiser (again a believable portrayal) is a situation that will feel familiar to many, as will the almost factory like nature (in, out, repeat) of how people are treated in this industry (and others) during interviews. Taylor Noble also plays a fellow aspiring actor but is seemingly more in the clear as to the industry, in part informing our lead of the way it all works. As a minor gripe, her unnamed (as are all the characters here – possibly to the effect of the film’s ideology of how actors are treated and perceived as just things) character does feel to be here simply to spur on the final leg of the short film but I can see why development was hard, considering the length.
Really it is in the final scene, just after a brief visual signifier well placed in a short scene beforehand, that we understand the double meaning of this film. As Stephen Richardson’s atmospheric composing leads us to the resolution, the core concept of the film becomes clear. Parts obviously refers to the mechanized business of auditioning for “parts” but it also comes to have a grisly connotation as this film closes. I enjoyed this short and think that as a slightly longer story, it could have benefited all the more, as these rich ideas could be developed, as could certain brief but powerful aspects that never really flourish here as much as they could. The story could actually be expanded into a Horror, Comedy or Dramatic environment and its chameleonship is to its credit. Khalid’s intimate direction and determination to instil the short with comments on an industry he is witnessing/breaking into, makes for a thoroughly intriguing viewing and suggests an equally enticing future.