Alan Spearman’s short film April tells a tale of promise, fear, regret and hope in parallel. On the one side is Faith, a young girl with an affinity for a large tree, which she likes to climb inside for protection and comfort. On the other is Hattie Mae, an older woman whose life of fear and need for protection helped her to grow into an obese mountain of a woman. As they whisper their thoughts, the film cuts their story together as if a conversation is being had between the past and the future.
Both Faith and Hattie Mae have their trees, though for Faith that tree is far more literal and obvious. Hattie Mae’s literal tree is in the yard, a tall stump, though not as majestic as Faith’s; Hattie’s not-so-obvious tree is the body she has build up around herself. Under layers of fat and muscle sits a Faith-sized Hattie Mae, stuck in the middle of the very “tree” she created for herself, just as Faith goes about her days watering and feeding her own.
Visually stunning and poetic, with a haunting soundtrack, April is a memorable powerhouse of a short film about, in some ways, how fear coupled with the best of intentions can turn into a self-imposed prison. In other ways, it’s a film about hope, and it never being too late. It’s like A Christmas Carol, and here we’re seeing the ghosts of present and future (with the ghosts of past firmly living in Hattie Mae’s regret and Faith’s fear).
April is a standout short film, both for the message it conveys and the brilliantly succinct way in which it does it. For something only four minutes long, its impact is far more lasting.