A lot of independent filmmakers are trying to be the next Kubrick, Scorsese, Tarantino or Nolan. Which is totally ok and good by the way. However, that can often lead to turgid pretentiousness up on the big screen despite their best efforts and intentions.
Once in awhile though, an indie filmmaker comes along who might want to be the next Peter Farrelly or Mel Brooks which is not really any easier than the cinematic canons mentioned above. Comedy is tough and when an indie filmmaker just wants to make an audience laugh without taking the easy way out (overly crude sexual or scatological humor), that deserves some recognition. That's what makes Director Kyle Kleinecke's The Pickle today's 2017 DITR Festival Submission Highlight.
It's a pseudo-western/comedy/crime caper...thing...with the plot being about a Hatfield/McCoy style feud and the goofy sheriff who tries to keep the peace in his small town. The details aren't super important. Let's just the story does makes sense and moves along at a very brisk pace.
Production-wise there isn't much of an attempt to create some kind of gritty, back-country time capsule. All of the characters look sparkling clean and fit including the cinematography and sets. And yet it actually works because this short film delivers something rare in the attitude it creates. Kleinecke seems to have made sure that every single crew person and actor had a great time making this film. The actors know exactly what they were doing here and infuse their comedic performances with a sly wink and nod across the board. They all shine through with an energy of fun and entertainment without getting caught up in the minutiae of self-important camera angles, unmotivated dolly shots or lens flares. Kleinecke lets his wacky story, his confident actors and the laughs take center stage instead of his "filmmaking" all in an attempt to entertain the audience. It never "lags" even for a minute of its 14-minute runtime.
Sometimes in the indie film world the old adage of a movie being "just good clean fun" is all the cinematic tonic an audience (and festival curator) needs. On that score, Kyle Kleinecke's The Pickle has managed to get our attention.