In Derek Davidson’s short, Moving Pictures is the story of a struggling screenwriter, who has a chance to meet the director who inspired him to become a writer, even though he has yet to write anything. Or is it the story of a wash-up director, who has a chance to fix his past. Or is it about a magic photo that changes a past wrong?
Our screenwriter is Gavin (Gavin Starr Kendall), who works at what appears to be a photo archive service for the movie industry. As luck would have it, famed director Andrea Vitti (Andrea Sicco) wants to use the photo archive for a project he’s working on. Gavin idolizes Vitti as one of the directors that inspired him into writing.
Vitti, though, has a dark side. He has made a film since the death of his girlfriend, Gloria Holden (Esther Crow). She killed herself after Vitti found her in bed with her co-star of the movie Vitti was directing. That film was never completed.
Gavin and Vitti strike a fast friendship. Vitti encourages Gavin to persist and finish his screenplay. Gavin, in turn, sneaks photos of Vitti’s last film in hopes that it might inspire Vitti to revisit the film he never finished. At first, angry with Gavin, Vitti is drawn to a photo of Gloria in an empty hallway. Soon, Gloria starts to mysteriously move in that photo as if she had come to life. From here on Moving Pictures becomes a mysterious tale of what if and what might have been.
“…the story of a struggling screenwriter, who has a chance to meet the director who inspired him to become a writer.”
Moving Pictures has a lot of problems. The acting is stiff, the dialog is uninteresting, and the characters are boring. Take for example the role of the director Vitti. Andrea Sicco plays him with excruciating low energy. The only reason you know this character is a famous Italian director is that we’re told that earlier in the film. Nothing about his performance comes across as a famous director, let alone Italian.
The main problem with Moving Pictures is how the short unveils the always changing plot. When the film starts, you think it is about a bunch of guys working at photo archive talking about their love of film. Then it turns into the story of a famous director, unable to complete what might have been his masterpiece. Then it’s a mystery about a “moving picture” of his deceased girlfriend. Finally, it becomes of science fiction adventure with a science fiction ending. You don’t know what the film really is until just past the halfway point.
There is nothing wrong with changing a story’s direction midway through the film. The problem is the main switch moving the short from drama to fantasy was a little lack-luster and overall a little silly. Ultimately, it is the story’s structure that failed. On the bright side, the film’s original score by its star Andrea Sicco was fantastic.
Moving Pictures (2016) Written and directed by Derek Davidson. Starring Andrea Sicco, Gavin Starr Kendall, and Esther Crow.
2 out of 5