I viewed the film on September 11, 2016, at the California Independent Film Festival, at the historic Orinda Theatre in Orinda, CA.
This short film, directed by Lisa Belcher, is based on a short story written by her brother, Steve Wayne, about a young boy and his gift. Throughout the film the boy, Bobby Parker (played by Luke Seybold) proudly carries his perfectly wrapped gift, ribbon and all, wherever he goes; school, home, bed. You get the point. However, as he changes schools, gets bullied, begins running with the wrong crowd and misses out on valuable father-son time, he succumbs to peer pressure and destroys his gift. Here you realize the gift is a metaphor for the thing parents want most for their children; to know they love them regardless of the circumstances.
The message of the film was pure at its core and what the world needs more of; LOVE. I was rooting for Bobby to hold on to his gift and not give in to worldly pressures. I could not help but tear up over the father and son connection, especially at the end when Bobby’s gift is restored and he becomes stronger for it.
Some background about the director, Lisa Belcher. With a degree in business and no formal film school training Lisa ventured out and made The Gift her first short film. Quite an impressive feat! Her brother, Steve Wayne, shared with no intention of morphing it into a film. However, it was the fabric of the story that inspired Lisa to want to share it with the rest of us.
Most of the actors are from Hong Kong International School where Lisa’s own children went. The film was shot in Hong Kong over 13 days, much of it on the school grounds. Realizing the tight budget the school was quite accommodating in allowing Lisa to shoot there. The budget for the film was just around $17,000.
Follow along on all the action on Facebook! The Gift is being screened at The AustinRevolution Film Festival (Austin, Texsas) on September 23, 2016.
You might ask where has the film been? The Gift recently took home the the Audience Choice, Director’s Choice: Best Short, and Female Filmmaker of the Year awards at Austin Revolution Film Festival. They are on their way to the next festival at the Eyecatcher Film Festival and nominated for Best Short film. They will wrap up the festival circuit in the next few months and currently having several conversations with distributors. The film will most likely be available in January on our website via Vimeo On Demand.
Looks like Lisa and her team are not slowing down. You can follow along on all the action on Facebook!