Today brings to a close this year's Showbits Summer Shorts. Over seventeen weeks, we have brought you a variety of remarkable independent films — from fact to fiction, tragedy to comedy, animated to live action. Through it all, I've been saving the best for last.
It was just about a year ago as I was exiting the Boston Convention Center with the curator of the Apple II History site when we realized we'd not gotten our parking validated. As we trekked back into the building, Steve was reminded of an Internet film he'd seen some time ago. After we parted ways, I went home to find it for myself and was immediately taken with its cleverness, sincerity, and uplifting message.
Labor Day Weekend often marks the end of summer, but before that milestone, I want you to see one last summer short: Validation.
This film starts with a simple and superficial play on the word "validation", and it could've ended there, too, as a short and funny but not very motivated comedy. Instead, the film follows an arc that has proven successful for such storied tales as Star Wars: an initial victory, a crushing defeat, and finally, a surprising and resilient triumph. And without having a large cast of central characters or much time in which to tell its tale, Validation manages to throw some curveballs that I never saw coming.
Like director Kurt Kuenne's other film, Rent-a-Person (which makes sense of one of Validation's scenes), this story is about finding professional and romantic success no matter what comes your way. We see this evidenced not only by our parking attendant, but also Victoria's mother, who we discover plays a pivotal role and one that makes the short incredibly empathetic. As the son of someone with multiple sclerosis, I know too many people whose conditions aren't getting better and may never. Yet they nonetheless keep a positive attitude. I don't know how they do it, but I know the value of doing so. Seeing second-hand impact Vicki's mother has on her family is evidence of that.
I'm a sucker for happy endings, and Validation fulfills that need, but not before telling a poignant yet enjoyable story. Even when you've lost everything you have and can't have what you want, you never know what will happen next. As Tom Hanks said in Cast Away: "I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"