PALM SPRINGS SHORTFEST 2023 REVIEW! There are a few topics that many adults don’t feel comfortable discussing. The Holocaust is a major one. Why is that, though? Can anything be gained by bringing it out in the open? These are some of the big questions that are humorously examined by writer-director Lara Everly in her short film Heritage Day.
Taking place in 1985, the film opens on a Punky Brewster poster and an 1980s tune blasting to get a taste of the era. A little girl named Evie (Vivien Lyra Blair) is preparing for Heritage Day. This is a school assignment where kids dress up and tell the story of someone they admire in their family lineage. It’s usually something innocuous, such as the first girl who tells the story of her grandmother and how she had a restaurant where she served chicken feet.
“…to their shock and awe, she comes out dressed as a Holocaust survivor…”
Evie’s parents, Sarah (Rachel Bloom) and James (Scott Michael Foster), make small talk wondering what Evie is going to do for the assignment. Much to their shock and awe, she comes out dressed as a Holocaust survivor and tells the horrific story of what her grandmother endured. Kids say the darndest things. This awkward scene is good for some laughs as we watch Sarah be horrified while James and the rest of Evie’s classmates get a kick out of it.
The rest of the short shows more of Evie’s obsession with the Holocaust and how Sarah wants to avoid it at every turn. It’s great at displaying the awkward style of humor for those who enjoy that, which I usually do. The cast all does an excellent job with the comedic and dramatic elements. Blair shows off a maturity beyond her young age, and Bloom sells her dramatic reactions. Heritage Day is good for some chuckles and a lesson in why denying history leads to only repeating it.
Heritage Day screened at the 2023 Palm Springs ShortFest.
"…great at displaying the awkward style of humor..."