Winner of Sundance 2016’s Special Jury Award, director Jim Cummings is back with a trio of short films created for First Look Media. Each of the shorts are shot in just one take and examine key issues in modern-day American culture. It’s All Right, It’s OK shows a man (Joseph Lee Anderson) desperately trying to revive a child (Kimberley Cashner) using CPR, to the tune of the Bee Gees’ ‘Stayin’ Alive’. But it soon becomes apparent that this man has been recently arrested.
At just under three minutes long, It’s All Right, It’s OK manages to raise a lot of questions and social issues in such a short space of time. The man’s apparently selfless act to save a child is only clouded when the camera reveals the two police officers stood behind him. The fact that he is African-American and they are both white Americans instantly makes your subconscious wonder if he has been wrongly arrested by these men. How can this calm, heroic young man have done anything wrong before attempting to save a child’s life? But if he did commit a crime, what could it have been?
Then there’s the woman who wants her selfie taken with the incarcerated hero. We now live in a time where our news is not just filmed by professional camera crews, but passers-by and their mobile phones. Everyone has a social media agenda – but what is this woman’s? Will her photo with the “hero” just mention his selfless act, or will it instead be a cry for his freedom, a plea to forgive him of whatever his former crime may have been?
The one-take nature of this short film is incredibly absorbing, with Anderson maintaining a wonderful balance of anger, relief and desperation. This is a surprisingly powerful three minutes which you’ll find yourself wanting to watch over again just to search for some more answers.
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DIRECTOR: Jim Cummings
WRITER: Jim Cummings
CAST: Joseph Lee Anderson, Kimberley Cashner, Laura Coover, Tommy Owen, Sam Breen
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lowell Meyer
SYNOPSIS: A man drops to his knees to give CPR to a stranger. But all is not what it seems.