How do you make a self-portrait for a blind person?
The lead in this film, Tom (Merrick Robison) has conjured a way to do so, in his quest to win back the love of his life, Lilly (Elizabeth Stenholt). This reviewer won’t tell you how he does it, because it would certainly spoil a very sweet moment in Empty Space, of which there are several.
If you too subscribe to the view that there is someone for everyone, this simple love story will speak to you. More, Empty Space is a road map to channel your inner misfit, remembering all the awkwardness of those moments when you just want to disappear. Tom, feels that way all the time. He is super-sized and bullied for being so. He has exiled himself to his version of Siberia—actually rural Illinois—where the barren winter landscape captured with a tone poem like layering by this film telegraphs the emptiness he feels.
This is a guy you root for. This is a story where every bone in your body wants the happy Hollywood ending.
Now adding first prize in the Windy City Film Festival to its growing list of credits, Empty Space certainly does warrant a look-see by Hollywood’s moguls. Shot in just two weeks with a crew of three – Sound Op, Cinematographer and Producer.
It’s low budget nature in many ways adds to its charm and gives it a real-world feel. You are aware of the shoe-string funding, which comes off more as a promise of what could happen with Hollywood-sized budgets.
You will have to do some mental gymnastics because of the small budget, filling in plot points where you can because there either wasn’t enough time to shoot the segues required or perhaps someone got a bit overzealous leaving footage on the cutting room floor. Then again, this writer often thinks that of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters that are made with budgets several orders of magnitude larger.
You too might feel that the biggest burn from the small budget is that you can’t read the credits at the film’s end. These are talents to watch grow.
James Choi- Director and Producer
Judi Krant – Writer and Producer
Paul Boring – Co-Writer
Joanne Zielinski – Executive Producer
Brad LaRocco – Producer
Brian Zahm – Director of Photography
Cast: Merrick Robison; Elizabeth Stenholt; Madysen Frances; Ryan David Heywood; Suzanne Johnson; David McLauchlan
For more information on next screenings, visit the Empty Spaces website.