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Shannon Amen (2019)- Short Film Review

Star Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

Directed by: #ChrisDainty

Written by: #ChrisDainty

Starring: #ShannonJamieson

Short Film Review by: Thomas Jay

A harrowing tale of an individuals struggle with identity as a whole, Shannon Amen is a short that juggles various forms of animation, spliced in with love action footage to tell the tragic tale of artist Shannon Jamieson, put to film by friend Chris Dainty.

A true example of film being an art form, I never expected a short film of all things to communicate such a narrative for one, but to also have such an intricate visual manner on what I can only imagine to be a small budget. A genuine, sensitive and brace telling of an individuals life tale, this “fish story” as it’s constantly referred to is something that can be applied to many an individual globally.

Starting firstly on the style, the team behind this did an incredible job. Scored for the majority by Jamieson’s own music save from the brief use of a Michael Bublé song, you get from her vocals, a sense of the person. It’s made very clear she’s an artist/creative and the recreation of her as an individual feels so vivid, that notion is further built on from the inclusion of her paintings and other works she crafted through her time. As the animation gives her character a glamorous and lively feel, the love action, “archive footage” for lack of a better term truly anchors her to the film and makes it feel like every second is dedicated to her memory from those who knew her personally. As for blending formats, I haven’t seen such flexibility of style outside of a few small time, indie video games that mix up their play style to keep things fresh. Similarly, the film’s multi-faceted visuals offer a very unique experience and a tonne of different meanings. The ice sculpture is a damning of religion as the church and all its iconography slowly ebbs away at the model. The 2D model being the stripped down version of the individual, the tree at the finale being in a way, this film as a whole, something that’s grown from tragedy and is in every way, still very much that person who’s no longer around.

Willing to take off the gloves and not pull any punches, the depiction of faith and how it’s clutches have a lasting, sometimes devastating impact was a true kick in the teeth. It channelled such a personal fury and had this scathing point to make. Which leads to the main attraction of this film as a short, put aside all the visual beauty for just a minute, and truly appreciate the personality of this film and it’s argument it puts forth. Though change by these institutions is unlikely, it’s very evident in this piece how such concepts have managed to outlast time whilst simultaneously dragging their heels and refusing to adapt.

A brutal watch yes, I’ll grant that but the substance underneath the art is so rich and leaves overall a portrait of a woman that rivals any great, traditional piece of art, warts and all you get an amazing sense of who exactly Shannon was as a person. Yet another fantastic short film showcased at the We Are One festival.


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