Director of Thunder Road, The Robbery, and Us Funny
If you’ve been reading the Short of the Day column here at Film School Rejects for really any length of time, you know we’re big fans of Jim Cummings, whose short films like the award-winning Thunder Road, The Robbery, and Us Funny are poignant, touching, and oddly hilarious slices of modern life. Which is why when I got an email about not one, not two, but three new shorts by Cummings, I pretty much started typing this immediately.
The shorts were commissioned by Topic.com, a brand-new “visual storytelling brand and digital destination” that just launched this week from First Look Media. Their aim is to drop a new digital issue every month dedicated to telling narratives of consequence in the form of graphic storytelling, web series, animation, photography, and short films, which is where Cummings comes in.
In honor of Topic’s first issue, Cummings has made a triptych of one-shot films, each coming at modern-day America from a different cultural perspective: there’s It’s All Right, It’s OK, in which an African-American man performs CPR on a stranger in an environment that’s not quite what it seems; Hydrangea in which a white suburban housewife deals with psychosis; and The Mountains of Mourne, (my personal favorite of the three, though it was a close race) which revolves around a social media star’s live-broadcast assisted suicide.
As we’ve come to expect from Cummings, the core strength of all three films is their characters. It seems like the more absurd or odd the situation, the more humanity Cummings can extract from it. And of course there is his one-take style, which lends an immediacy to his stories, it places us within the narrative like we weren’t audience members but passive participants, somehow responsible for what we’re seeing unfold onscreen. I’ve been promised by the man himself that a Jim Cummings feature film is on the horizon, which means if you’re not familiar with his work yet, now is the perfect time. And while you’re checking out the shorts, jump around the rest of Topic, it looks like a great new venture sure to produce some outstanding content.
Hit this link right here to check out all three films.