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Still from Trading Faces

+ Recommended – Short, NR, Comedy 

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I know what you are thinking: finally another local Nebraska film! And that’s exactly what I was thinking while at the Omaha Film Festival a few months back. To accompany feature length films, the festival squeezed in short film blocks with some fantastic Nebraskan additions. Luckily, I was able to catch a quick, eight minute short that captured my love and desire to make these short films myself: Trading Faces.

Roger and Ben, two college buddies, find themselves facing all sorts of trouble when their worlds are ripped apart and they literally trade faces. And yes, it sounds corny, but that’s the point! It’s a quirky short that quickly establishes their friendship and conflict in a matter of minutes. The snappy pace doesn’t give the short a moment to fall flat. Jack Hoppe’s filmmaking debut successfully emboldens the importance of run time and letting the story end naturally; something many first time directors can’t quite grasp.

The chemistry between the two actors, Michael Barth and Logan Young, seems realistic for their age and setting. These two friends are genuine and audiences, especially ones in college, will be able to find a common connection. Billy St. John performs alongside the two leads, and adds another layer of charm to the film. But if it wasn’t for the witty writing and sleek editing from Warren Babble, the film might have been unmemorable (I’m glad it wasn’t).

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Still from Trading Faces

Sound editing is an important factor in indie filmmaking. Any low-budget project must have a stable sound department because the general audience will not be able to suspend their disbelief otherwise. Ryan Wadzinski, Ethan Grafton, and Karalyn Smith were on point, here. I’ve often seen indie projects that feature a heavy score throughout the entire movie, however, Noah Gose provides a score that subtly weaves through the changing scenery without being the center of focus.

What I also found to be impressive was that Jack Hoppe designed the makeup effects. Somehow, the two face masks are ridiculous while being unsettling at the same time. During a Q&A session at OFF, Jack Hoppe offered some insight into what inspired him: and in a shock to everyone, it wasn’t the Cage-Travolta movie, Face Off. The story was completely original in it’s conception. Go check out the short here and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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