Non-Negotiable Image


By Alan Ng | March 29, 2023

In the modern family, who’s really in charge, the parents or the child? This question is pondered in writer-director Mike Doxford’s short film, Non-Negotiable.

Jay (Samuel Anderson) and Kat (Jill Winternitz) anxiously await a potentially explosive meeting in a diner booth. Soon, their nine-year-old daughter, Deb (Izabella Dziewanska), walks in. She comes with a list of “non-negotiable” demands; otherwise, she goes home with her best friend’s family. Quickly bypassing her parents at idle chit-chat and offer of a milkshake, Deb passes them a list of 57 demands with requisite glitter and stickers. The first ten revolve around a puppy… non-negotiable. This is only the start.

“…Deb passes them a list of 57 demands with requisite glitter and stickers.”

As a parent, I’ll be honest. I started to get annoyed with little Deb and her pushover parents. Then I remembered a little piece of advice from long ago: listen, the truth will reveal itself in no time.

Non-Negotiable is a very simple comedic sketch revolving around three characters played wonderfully by its cast. Me getting annoyed at the start just shows how effectively Doxford establishes the premise. Like a good comedy, the story is hilariously flipped on its head, and the punchline ties everything together into a heartfelt story of a family that sticks together in a time of crisis. By the way, the final button is genius.

Sometimes I want short films to be more than just people talking. Non-Negotiable shows that sometimes films can stand on a strong premise and fantastic performances.

For more information, visit the Non-Negotiable Instagram page.

Non-Negotiable (2023)

Directed and Written: Mike Doxford

Starring: Samuel Anderson, Jill Winternitz, Izabella Dziewanska, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Non-Negotiable Image

"…the punchline ties everything together..."

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