Filmmaker Craig Macneill seizes the epiphanic or “light bulb” moment with his arresting short films.
An LPFF alumnus, Craig’s 2004 “Late Bloomer” won the Audience Choice Award for best short film at the Lake Placid Film Forum that same year. The film illumines the journey of a young boy through the heart-pumping wilds of his first sex education class in school.
“Henley” is the director’s latest short work, and recently garnered the Grand Jury Award for best short film at the 2011 Gen Art Film Festival in July, with Ted Hope as the head of the jurors. Like it’s predecessor “Late Bloomer,” the hero of “Henley” is a young boy. Inventive and industrious, the titular young character devises how to use roadkill (yes, that’s right – “roadkill”) to divert his lugubrious, disenchanted life into something stunning.
“Henley” was co-written by Macneill and Clay McLeod Chapman.
In between the stories of sexual gestalt and unexpected industriousness, Macneill helmed “Lobos” (2009), another short tale from the perspective of a young boy – in this case a budding rebel who gets kicked out of his remote schoolhouse in the hills of central Spain and must brave the forest which lies beyond.
The departure from Macneill’s “boy’s life” subject matter comes into focus with his 2009 feature-length film, The Afterlight. Sparse and ethereal, The Afterlight walks the edge between the real and the surreal, the living and the dead. Macneill co-directed the film with Alexei Kaleina.
“Henley” has also recently won the grand jury prize for best short film at Clint Eastwood’s Carmel Film and Arts Festival. Over the past month the short film has screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival, San Diego Film Festival, and the New Orleans Film Festival.