Susan Omand pushed the button and watched the short film 40 Minutes Over Maui...
For 40 minutes on January 13, 2018, the fate of the world hung in the balance, for Larry and Penny... their Hawaiian vacation was ruined.
What would you do if you only had a few minutes left to live? Phone a loved one? Confess a secret? Eat an expensive mini-bar Toblerone? That’s the conundrum that Larry and Penny face as they’re on holiday in Hawaii when the missile strike alarm goes off.
This real-life event, which happened last year when an “admin error” meant that an Incoming Missile Strike alarm was triggered in Hawaii, is an inspiring catalyst for a What Would Happen If storyline and it makes a great premise for a short film on a tight budget, as the action all takes place with just the two main characters in a hotel room. This, however, can be a double-edged sword; with such a strong character focus, there is little room for manoeuvre - the writing and acting both have to be exactly on point and, here, they most definitely are. The casting of Johnny Ray Meeks and Julie Brister as Larry and Penny is brilliant, their on-screen chemistry is superb and you would really believe that they are the jaded married couple – there is an ease in the interaction between them that only really comes with long-term familiarity. This is helped greatly by the writing and direction of a collaborative team of Josh Covitt and Michael and Steven Feld, as they capture the comedy in the mundane with acutely observed dialogue and mannerisms. They also guide their protagonists through the melodrama of a missile crisis with a refreshing warmth and gentle humour rather than the sniping satire and vitriol that one almost expects in comedy these days.
This fun and funny short film is currently making the rounds at film festivals, with LA Shorts coming up next so, if you get the chance, go and see it. This is not a drill…
UPDATE - APRIL 2020.
Tribeca Film Festival have now made the whole film available to watch for FREE. The trailer is still below but you can watch the full short film HERE.
Image - Official Poster