Mike Messier’s THANKSGIVING (2015)

Writer-director and actor Mike Messier is on a hot streak. The Rhode Island indie filmmaker’s “Zen Feminist” short, “The Nature of the Flame,” has been on the festival circuit, showing most recently at the Rhode Island Comic-Con’s Film Festival. Prior to this event, a screenplay he penned, “Fight or Play Basketball,” won First Prize in the Spotlight on New England category at the Rhode Island International Film Festival’s Screenplay Competition. On top of all this, he has been working on several film projects, including a horror mockumentary, “Disregard the Vampire,” that is currently in post-production. And he has completed a micro-short, “Thanksgiving,” just in time for the holiday itself.

Mike contacted me via Facebook to tell me about the short and provide me with access to an online screener of the film, which he wrote, directed, and co-produced. Once again he teamed with cinematographer and editor Chris Hunter for the shoot and post-production.

“Thanksgiving” is a romantic comedy of errors that adds an interesting twist to the topic of interracial relationships. Frank (Nick Gifford) and his girlfriend Tricia (LaNecia Edmonds) are going to his widower father’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. At the start, Frank’s tension appears to be due to the fact that he is Caucasian and Tricia — who has not yet met Frank’s father (Robert Ellis Smith) — is African-American. However, the confrontation that awaits Frank at his father’s dinner table turns out to have little to do with race, but much to do with fathers, sons, and their relationships.

To reveal any more about the film’s story would be to spoil it for those who have not seen it yet. I can say that it is one of the smoothest and most mature Messier comedies that I have had the privilege to watch so far. The story exaggerates real-life conflicts, which is essential for comedy, but does not go over-the-top and ruin things.  The dialogue is wryly understated, which enhances the absurdity of the situation and makes it even funnier. When it comes to cinematography, sound, and editing, production values are very high here. The musical score is very effective in its simplicity. Finally, the acting is excellent.

“Thanksgiving” was filmed on location in Providence, Rhode Island. It was produced by Rare Quality Films in association with Collective Thought Media and the Rhode Island South Filmmakers Group. For information on future public showings, follow Mike Messier on Facebook and on his professional website. It’s highly recommended!