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Friday, August 15, 2014

Maloney Pictures and Tom Doherty Excite and Provoke With Affecting Award Winner "The White Room"

"THE WHITE ROOM" (2013)
Genre: Drama / Fantasy
Length- 10:22
Company: Maloney Pictures
Website:  Official Facebook

A Man in White (Tyler Klunick) awakens in a small, white room.  He checks the door.  It's locked.

Why is he here, and for how long?

It might not sound like much, but in writer/director Tom Doherty's capable hands, it's all you need in Maloney Pictures' microbudget short, "The White Room".

Apparently I'm not alone, either.  The short film has won awards at the 2014 Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts, the Prairie State International Film Festival, and the Illinois International Film Festival, not to mention even MORE honors too numerous to list here.

Not bad, right?

A LOT WITH A LITTLE

"The White Room"' is taken from a script written by Tony Dal Pra and director/editor Tom Doherty, and the story these men tell is a pared down, intimate story with a surprisingly gorgeous do-it-yourself aesthetic. 

The story takes us from the stark "reality" of the titular White Room to an isolated corn field.  Thanks to some top notch work from Director of Photography Jaysom Phommavongsa and some exquisite color grading in the editing room, this change of scenery not only opens up the story but adds an almost fantastical tinge to a very bittersweet scene between the Man in White and his daughter.

The acting is efficient all around, with smartly understated performances by Klunick, Laura Chernicky and Dave Juehring (who starred in last year's "The Witchfinder" -- reviewed here).  Particularly impressive is that even the young children on hand (Jordyn Paige Bolber and Katie Mahl) are credible in their roles.  That's no small feat for any film.

TWISTING, TURNING . . .

I have to be careful because I don't want to give anything away, but there's a "twist" in this film.  Fortunately, Doherty and crew are smart enough to play with their audience's expectations, and as a result, "The White Room" puts a new and affecting spin on an old story.

Maybe it's just my own life experiences factoring in, but I had to wipe away a few tears by the conclusion of this film.  "The White Room" made me feel something genuine -- and isn't that the true measure of a piece of art?

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 3 / 5.  The twist was smartly executed and I liked the metaphorical use of the White Room.  The last sequence felt too cliche for me and the payoff wasn't quite enough considering how emotional the rest of the film felt.
Directing: 4 / 5.  With help from Assistant Director Eric Smigiel and Phommavongsa, Doherty made sure that every visual packed a whollop when and where it needed to. 
Editing: 4 / 5.  Doherty put this movie together like a puzzle and each shot interlocks neatly with the next.
Sound/Music: 4 / 5.  Sound designer Ray McCall does his job well and the soundtrack, supplied by Phommavongsa and Daniel Schultz hits the spot with moody keys and strings.
Acting: 4 / 5.  Every actor and actress in this film played their roles well and never once did anyone take me out of the movie with a bad line or awkward delivery.  There are a lot of big budget films that I cannot say the same about.

Final Grade: 3.8 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "The White Room" as it plays festivals around the country and follow the creators on Facebook!






Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!