Shooting Star

Shooting Star is about Sarah (Cleo Kim) who is married to Paul (Jared Winkler) and is in love with Dani (Dani Shay) at the same time. This isn’t some tawdry, hidden affair. Sarah believes that loving more than one person at a time does not mean that either one of those two is loved less than the other or is somehow inferior. Paul, who wants Sarah to be happy, is not as high on this idea. Thus, Sarah tells Dani that they can’t be together anymore.

As a singer, Dani writes a new song about this life shakeup. While touring the song, Shooting Star, gains traction. Sarah still feels drawn to Dani and flies to Los Angeles to catch one of the performances. What does this mean for the future of Sarah and Dani? Or, for that matter, Sarah and Paul?

“Sarah believes that loving more than one person at a time does not mean that either one of those two is loved less…”

Shooting Star is designed to be watched on a smartphone. However, unlike the traditional way of streaming on a phone—by holding it horizontally—one watches this movie vertically. Yes, the viewer is intended to watch this seven-minute short on their phone as if they were calling or texting someone. It might sound gimmicky, but directors Dani Shay and Keaton Wooden make it an integral part of the experience.

Weaving seamlessly between text messages, apps such as FaceTime, and live-streaming of Dani’s musical performances, viewing the movie as if it is their phone breaks the ‘fourth wall’ in a very creative manner. Shooting Star finds a natural rhythm here, similar to you switching from one app to the next with a few simple swipes of your thumb and not really having to think about it. This gives the story an immediate relatability as it feels realistic and very much speaks to the current times.

Cleo Kim is very charming as the slightly conflicted Sarah. A scene in which they are singing with a stone, which is supposedly good for your throat’s chakra, is endearing in the way those unexpected goofy moments friends always are. Jared Winkler is fine as Paul, sharing good chemistry with his co-stars. Unsurprisingly though, it is Dani Shay who shines brightest.

“This short film is a triumph on all levels.”

The singer has appeared on America’s Got Talent and is building a steady and devoted following. Thanks to a soulful voice and charisma to spare, it is easy to see why. The song from which the title derives is lovely and catchy, sung with passion and intensity. I suspect Dani Shay to become a worldwide success anytime if their performance here is any indication.

While the way to view Shooting Star might seem like a gimmick, it works. The story is engaging and set up believably. Thanks to the excellent cast, these people come across as fully formed human beings who want the best for everyone involved. This short film is a triumph on all levels.

Shooting Star (2019) Directed by Dani Shay, Keaton Wooden. Written by Dani Shay, Keaton Wooden. Starring Cleo Kim, Jared Winkler, Dani Shay.

9 out of 10 Gummi Bears

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