Sometimes our heads are so caught up in our own world that we miss those around us who don’t know how to ask for help. This happens between two best friends in Erica Arvold and Meredith Grace Dabney’s Here Today.
Dabney’s 16-minute short is about two teens, Katie (Meredith Grace Dabney) and Abby (Cece Kelly). Katie is starting the year at a new school after her family moved from New York over the summer. Seeing that she’s alone, Abby quickly reaches out to Katie at her locker, and the two become fast friends.
Katie then catches the eye of the handsome, young Xavier (Isaiah Asher Hanley) and invites the two to a party at his house. Seeing Katie sitting alone, Abby does her best to make her feel included and having fun. Throughout the year, Katie and Abby’s friendship deepens, but something is just a little off.
“…encourages us to befriend those who are alone in the margins of life…”
It’s hard to describe the rest of the short without crossing into spoiler territory. But Dabney’s story is about suicide—specifically teen suicide. While the friendship between Katie and Abby is strong, subtle clues are dropped and never picked-up on or taken with the proper seriousness until its too late.
Here Today is an incredible film and not solely because it addresses an important and serious topic. What I appreciate most is its storytelling. Erica Arvold does an incredible job transforming Dabney’s script into a professional-looking film and picking up on the essential nuisances of Dabney’s remarkable story.
There’s a huge swerve that takes place with our expectations going in. It’s unexpected, but oh so effective. The swerve works because it enhances the story being told and even better, elevates the film’s ultimate message—bringing awareness to the subtle signs of suicide.
Dabney’s story encourages us to befriend those who are alone in the margins of life and asks us not to be afraid to ask the simple question, “You Okay?” There are a lot of films about suicide and Here Today stands above all others. This is the short film, I would show in school everywhere.
"…Katie and Abby’s friendship deepens, but something is just a little off."