The Hoosier Films Annual Festival will be held online Sept. 3-6, 2020. For schedules and more information on the other films playing, visit the official festival site.
Taylor Fredrick’s one-man production Failure is a simple expression of the moment when an artist realizes their dreams may well be unattainable. Not that the goal is truly unattainable, necessarily, but simply that the project, the vision, the ideal may never come to fruition. It’s that doubt in the face of failure where the world falls away and nothing else seems to matter. The noise-to-ratio signal is blinding. There isn’t much more room for anything else in the two-and-a-half minutes of Failure, but there need not be: Those uncontrollable minutes of doubt encapsulate hours, days, months, years.
As a child, William McCarthy witnessed a local sheriff murder his parents, two local outlaws. William promised to avenge them and has hunted the sheriff ever since. Cold Creek is a frontier-set Western that uses immutable tropes to tell a visually captivating short story.
The bare bones of Cold Creek don’t break convention; flashbacks tell us what happened the day William’s parents died; tough words are spoken; a standoff occurs. A night is spend under the stars, a fire’s light the only illumination. Calling it conventional isn’t meant as a slight; director Dylan Query makes a smart choice to let the story stay in conventional lanes so that he and his crew can focus on telling it in a gorgeous way.
Many independent narrative films have a particular look and feel to them, whether it’s a lack of color grading, poor framing or just a general absence of visual cohesion from shot to shot. Cold Creek knows where to place its camera. It is — again, this is a positive — a cool smorgasbord of different exterior shots, almost a demo reel that proves the team’s professional quality. There are even drone shots that would, in a lesser short, feel showy, but are used here just enough to establish a sense of location for blood to spill.
Cold Creek knows precisely the type of story it wants to tell, and does a damn good job telling it.