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Vimeo Short Film Of The Week: ‘At The End Of The Cul-De-Sac’

Short films matter. Vimeo wants you to know it. So do we. That’s why every week we’ll take a look at some of the short film world’s best and brightest. This week, we bring you Paul Trillo’s eerie suburban drama At The End Of The Cul-De-Sac.

The Plot: The residents of a neighborhood try to decide if they should intervene as a troubled man has a public breakdown.  

The Film: Most filmmakers try to keep things simple when they’re working on a short film. Paul Trillo is not one of them.

Why Press Play?

We featured Trillo’s magnificent little film The Irrational Fear Of Nothing here in Cut Print’s short film corner a little over a year ago. That film saw the director take what could’ve been a stylistic stunt (a body-mounted camera) and weave a paranoid, ethereal narrative from it. The wild blend of style and substance made The Irrational Fear Of Nothing one of the best shorts we saw last year. At The End Of The Cul-De-Sac sees Trillo taking another ambitious stylistic gamble. The result is equally impressive. And it’s sure to make this film one of the better shorts we’ll see this year.

What’s all the hub-ub you ask? At The End Of The Cul-De-Sac was shot entirely with a drone. And it was filmed in a single, un-edited take. Just FYI, your jaw should probably be on the floor right about now. If it’s not, it will be after the first minute or so of the film … not long after a dazzling overhead introduction to the eponymous roundabout drops you – or or flies you, I should say – right into the middle of action. There’s so many moving parts in that opening minute that you’ll be scratching your head wondering how Trillo and DP Gregory J. Wilson managed to keep everything in frame let alone in focus. But the pair are just getting warmed up. The eight minutes that follow see that camera float from one anxious moment to the next with the grace of butterfly and the precision a Swiss clock.

Make no mistake, At The End Of The Cul-De-Sac is a stunning technical feat. It’s camerawork alone makes it worth watching. But Trillo is too good a filmmaker to use that camerawork just for the sake of showing off. As with all of the director’s work, the technical prowess exists merely in service of the story. That camera drifts through Trillo’s eerie tale of suburban surrender with the passive omniscience of a god. Combined with the film’s prosaic location and not-quite theatrical acting, At The End Of The Cul-De-Sac achieves an eerie sense of reality that harkens as much to the absurdities of Kafka as it does to voyeuristic gaze of Haneke. Did I mention that Trillo achieves that effect with a drone? ‘Cause he does.

Meet The Crew:   

Written & Directed by: Paul Trillo Starring: Gabe Fazio, Heather Brittain O’Scanlon & Donetta Lavinia Grays Director of Photography: Gregory J. Wilson 

I hope you enjoy At The End Of The Cul-De-Sac! And I sincerely hope you’re writing down Paul Trillo’s name. ‘Cause he’s one of the more exciting short-form filmmakers around. And he’s a filmmaker worth watching in the future. If you don’t believe me, just head on over to his Vimeo page and check out some of his work. You will not be disappointed. While you’re kicking about, be sure to check out a few of the thousands of other short films – animated, live action and documentary – the Vimeo team have made available for your viewing pleasure (via desktop or mobile device – SWEET!). You’re sure to find something interesting. And you may just stumble across the next great filmmaker.

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Patrick Phillips is a Staff Writer for CutPrintFilm and geekinsider.com. He spends his time drinking coffee, buying records, writing stories and wondering why he never started a band. Follow him on Twitter at Patrick Phillips @savagedetectiv