The first short film in our socially distanced showcase is A Disappearance, a darkly comedic thriller written and directed by Laura Spini and Laurence Brooke.
A local child has gone missing. For the family, it is a tragedy. For former celebrity psychic Dame Alvera, it is an opportunity to claw back her fame. But in the dingy confines of a small-town psychic fayre, can she still make a human connection?
Orchestrating low key but biting humour with rattling melodrama, A Disappearance is a neatly plotted thriller that plays out like the hybrid circus child of Prisoners and League of Gentlemen. The spotlight shines brightly on Sophie Thompson’s nuanced, embittered lead performance, supported by the deft and lingering cinematography of Tian Tsering. What this amounts to is a clever cocktail of dark genre thrills and layered character study, providing breathing space for a talented production team who have conjured the eyeliner soaked, little England atmosphere perfectly.
Laura Spini and Laurence Brook are two halves of a writer/director duo and the founders of Butthead Films. Their previous short “You Are Whole”, a dark comedy starring Fred Melamed (A Serious Man), screened at Edinburgh, Palm Springs, and Leeds, amongst other festivals. They are currently developing their debut feature, Flamingo Land: a road movie set against the backdrop of austerity Britain.