Director Jake Honig makes his Sarasota Film Festival debut with the short film Black Swell, starring Richard Kind (A Serious Man, Inside Out) as a depressed man who checks into a motel with no intention of checking out, only to have his morbid plans disrupted by a noisy neighbor. A “funny drama,” says Honig, Black Swell explores the people and moments missed when we get lost in our heads.
Written by an actor friend, Honig picked up the project with trepidation that quickly turned to excitement. “This one was great,” he says. “It was simple, short and contained with a perfect beginning, middle and end, which is very rare in a short film.” Apparently, Kind felt the same way. Sending the script on a lark, Honig heard back days later that they’d found their star.
“It was thrilling,” says Honig. “We’d been fans for years.” And Kind brought a nuance to the role – an understated heart that elevated what could have been a cartoonish character to something Honig calls authentic. “He was a pleasure to work with and a great collaborator,” he says of the experience. “Someone of that stature, when they do a movie like this it’s because they love to work and they love movies.”
Shooting took a single day on-set, but post-production would dominate the next four months putting together the nine-minute short. And though the subject matter may be dark, Honig sees a worthwhile message. “People actually have a lot more in common with you than you think,” he says, “but you’re so caught up in your own world that you miss that opportunity. And sometimes you never have a chance to fix it.”
Black Swell screens twice at the Sarasota Film Festival, April 6 at 3:45pm and April 7 at 7pm, with the feature-length Embers, part of this year’s Independent Visions Films In Competition.
Pictured: Jake Honig. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.