Drama, Short Films, 24-Jan-2018
After the death of their father, siblings Jeff and Amber hike to one of his favorite spots in the Tehachapi Mountains. A restrained piece about grief, in its various forms, set against the same gorgeous vistas that once provided their dad a prime train-watching spot. Starring indie heavyweights Amy Seimetz and A.J. Bowen, the film is perhaps most notable for its technical feat — it’s all one shot (in 35mm!), an uninterrupted 8 minute climb handled by D.P. Jay Keitel and steadicam operator Michael Wilson. “Tehachapi” is also a thoughtful reflection on personality conflicts among siblings and the inevitable shifts when dealing with family sickness and death. From the jump, Amber doesn’t want to be there. Having flown in and missed work, she’s eager to get this all over with. Jeff sees it differently. He needs to swim in the pain a little longer, or maybe express something to his younger sister. Perhaps he’s being irresponsible, drinking heavily, not communicating with their mom, and maybe she’s being a little prickly, and smoking again, but they’re both here, trying to stick with a plan that was their father’s wish. Much of the production team, including its director Dalila Droege, is reunited from the 2012 feature, “Sun Don’t Shine,” directed by Seimetz (full disclosure: I acted in that film). The films share a D.P., camera op, production designer, and cast; Droege was a co-producer. Here, in the director's chair, she offers an assured sense of contemplation and technical prowess.