Welcome To The Enclave Image

Welcome To The Enclave

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | January 23, 2024

SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2024 REVIEW! Your own private Idaho gets a swift kick to the potato in filmmaker Sarah Lasley’s bonkers experimental short Welcome To The Enclave. It takes place on a scenic patch of digital whitebread called The Enclave, a virtual suburban enclosed sub-division in the Metaverse. It was founded by Texan Moni Calvoni (Brenna Palughi) for like-minded women to enjoy a safe and secure living environment that reflects their values.

Her sister Blair (Palughi) also lives in the Enclave, holding yoga workshops as well as decorating Yeti cups with Bible verses and sparkles. However, the Enclave is in need of funds to continue, as many houses are still empty and dark mountains are closing in. So Moni has reached out to sites like Reddit, offering donors the opportunity to put their own modifications on the neighborhood. This took off, but in no time, Moni and Blair noticed that many of the changes were not what they were expecting. Suddenly there is a lot of graffiti of crudely drawn dicks appearing on the newly renamed Cum Bucket Lane…

“…the Enclave is in need of funds to continue, as many houses are still empty…”

One of the reasons I am such a righteous Firesign Theater fan is how that legendary comedy troupe would satirize new technological developments by creating altered worldscapes that envelop the audience. Lasley’s short captures this in both spirit and method. This isn’t just a skit, even though the material could have easily been crafted for one. The Texas sisters’ dialogue written by Palughi is hilarious and spot on. The concept is a well-placed sum up and take down of the state of how virtual communities operate. But then Lasley takes it a lot further. The viewer is untethered early and gets to explore this intricate 3D neighborhood where Lasley built a Unity game engine.

Then, once the punchlines land, there is this unexpected, delightful moment where Palughi breaks out into song (director Lasley is doing karaoke). She walks through this perversion of her perfect digital hideaway, with the song allowing her to find her balance amongst the chaos of perpetual penis parades. It is such a poetic statement about finding your tune in the middle of a constant discordant din. Then everything gets even more mysterious, which enriches the short by defying easy categorization. Dude, what just happened? Welcome To The Enclave is a trip and a half, and I may be looking to move in.

Welcome To The Enclave, screened at the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival.

Welcome To The Enclave (2024)

Directed: Sarah Lasley

Written: Sarah Lasley, Brenna Palughi

Starring: Brenna Palughi, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Welcome To The Enclave Image

"…a poetic statement about finding your tune in the middle of a constant discordant din"

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