A couple years ago at the Seattle International Film Festival, I attended a screening of a set of short films. I don't recall now what the topic of the set was, but the funniest of them was a cute little short called Cashback, about a group of hapless night employees at a grocery store and the various ways in which they fight off the relentless boredom of their jobs.

One of the guys -- an aspiring artist -- could stop time. And he used his boring night job to freeze time, turning the customers in the store into models so he could strip them and practice drawing nudes. It was a well-done little short altogether (even nominated for an Oscar), and when the screening was over, they mentioned that it was being made into a feature. Now here we are, two years later, and one of the funniest films I've seen at SIFF this year is Cashback -- the feature-length version ( which had its debut last year at Cannes).

In order to flesh out a short into a feature, you have to add in some details like more plot and characters. The challenge is in taking a well-made short like Cashback (which really stood alone just as it was) and trying to turn it into a bigger story, without losing any of the charm that made the short successful. Writer-director Sean Ellis (who, according to the "trivia" section on the film's IMDb site, wrote the feature-length script in just seven days, including the entire short within the feature ) backs up a little from where he started with his short, fleshing out the back story of the main character, Ben (Sean Biggerstaff, who has kind of a Brit Zach Braff vibe going here), who develops a terrible case of insomnia after a painful breakup with his girlfriend.
categories Reviews, Cinematical