SINGLE (SXSW2020) – Review by Marina Antunes

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Typically when the term “inclusion” crops up in the world of filmmaking, it refers to women or individuals of color but more and more we’ve started to see the term take on additional meaning as “inclusion” begins to encompass many other human characteristics including disabilities.

Enter writer/director Ashley Eakin. Eakin suffers from a rare bone disease known as Olliers and Maffucci Syndrome. While she’s adapted and manages just fine on her own, the looks and comments she receives from strangers don’t often come across as they may have been intended. Enter Single.

Eakin’s third short film tackles preconceptions about people with disabilities in the best way possible: with a laugh. The short stars Delaney Feener (a rising star on stage and television) as Kim and Jordan Wiseley (a reality-TV star who is also making inroads into scripted projects) as Jake.

The two are set-up on a blind date by a mutual friend but almost immediately after meeting, Kim is turned off. She and Jake are both physically disabled and it seems the only reason this mutual friend set them up is because of that reason. Talk about presumptuous.

Eakin does an outstanding job with Single which is a wonderfully charming comedy with some big things to say about dating, relationships, presumptions and perhaps most importantly, our attitudes towards people with disabilities. Eakin’s sense of comedic timing is impeccable and the sight gags she uses are wonderfully effective. It certainly helps that Eakin’s whip smart script is brought to life by Feener and Wiseley, two huge talents who are instantly likable, charming and charismatic.

I love Single. It’s smart, funny and short! While I appreciate a condensed package, I do hope that Eakin is soon given the opportunity to direct a feature and when she does, that she takes both Feener and Wiseley with her; I’d love to see how the relationship between these two develops.

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Marina Antunes

Marina has been writing and discussing film for over 15 years, first on a personal blog followed by a decade long tenure on the now retired Row Three. In 2008 she joined the writing staff at Quiet Earth, becoming Editor-In-Chief in 2014, a role she still holds. Over the years, she has also produced and hosted a number of podcasts including Before the Dawn, a long-running podcast on the Twilight franchise, Girls on Pop, a podcast on film and popular entertainment from women’s perspective and After the Credits, bi-monthly film podcast with nearly 300 episodes. Marina is a member of the Online Film Critics Society and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, is the Vice President of the Vancouver SIGGRAPH chapter and has served on juries for several film festivals including the DOXA, St. Louis International Film Festival, and the Whistler Film Festival. She joined the Spark CG Society as Festival Director in 2014.