Short Film of the Week: Cherokee

Short Film of the Week: Cherokee

Cherokee uses an off beat tone to create an intriguing narrative with a spectacular, and somewhat hilarious conclusion.

This short narrative runs ten minutes in length, but provides a powerful story. From the early seconds of this short film, you can surmise that one thing is true:  This film is about a troubled woman with a combative nature, and her young daughter, who, simply by the look in her eyes, you can tell is desperately lost. There is no real flow to this film. It begins at a point in the fray and ends as such. This caused a lot of confusion for me, as I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, or if I was enjoying the film. We follow Linda(Jane Allsop), and he young daughter Shelley(Edwina Royce), and their chaotic lives. Linda is a single mother, who genuinely loves her daughter, and Shelly is a lost soul, searching for something that speaks to her.

As Cherokee unfolds, we learn more about the characters lives, and things get messier. Linda struggles to pay her rent and provide for her daughter, and as such regularly finds herself in arguments and moments of tension in front of her daughter. Whether it is screaming at her daughters seemingly useless husband, or bickering at the landlord for hounding her about rent money, Shelley always seems to be around to witness the destructive atmosphere. You get the sense that this lifestyle is morphing Shelley’s personality in a way, and Cherokee certainly provokes that emotion out of you. The screenplay, written by Jem Rankin, who also directs, intelligently uses the ugly moments of life to quickly evolve Shelley’s personality.

She takes an interest in the Native American Cherokee tribe, something which seems a bit strange to me, ignorant to the overall awareness that the UK would have towards Native American tribes. Through each and every turbulent moment in her life, he connection to the Cherokee grows stronger. She begins to see herself as one of them, and her mother helps her dress the part. The film comes to a head when they come home to a compromised house. They know someone’s in there, and Linda suspects it is the landlord. As she confronts him, Shelley heads inside, and comes face to face with the intruder. Seeing herself as a Cherokee warrior, she confronts this intruder, and lets just say goes full bad-ass on him. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it makes the film. Remember when I was saying if I wasn’t sure if I liked what I was watching? Well, the conclusion confirms that I love what I was watching. It wraps up this narrative in the only way possible, given its unorthodox style. It also happens to be quite awesome to see, the evolution of a lost young girl into a tough, honorable Warrior. Give this short film 10 minutes of your life, you’ll see impeccable film making, and a story line that is both intriguing and deeply meaningful if you truly examine it.

Cherokee recently screened at Tribeca Film Festival, in addition to:

  • Flickerfest 2016 (Bondi Sydney, Australia)
  • Melbourne International Film Festival 2015 (Melbourne, Australia)
  • Sydney International Film Festival 2015 (Sydney, Australia)

Keep an eye on their facebook or twitter for upcoming festival information. Additionally, they have won a couple big awards:

  • Best Undergraduate Production 2014 Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
  • Best Undergraduate Director 2014 Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
  • Best Sound 2014 Victoria College of the Arts, University of Melbourne

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