Hope Tragic Sky, Directed by Michael Garza-Gongora (California) - A reluctant streetwalker with dreams of matrimony sends herself flowers to make her neglectful boyfriend jealous. I was in a serious relationship, the most sincerest of serious relationships when my father died and it fell on hard times. The writing of Hope Tragic Sky (2019) was based on remnants of that particular calamity and this approach, enabled me to direct characters close to home. As a result, this film tells a story of a couple where one is grieving the loss of his father and the other is mourning the loss of her relationship. In the wake of my father’s passing, the heart in my chest was in a relationship but absent from the head above it were ideas of ways to adequately cope with his death. Therefore, I faced my darkest hour with as much courage as a coward and turned my back on my faith with as much pride as a lion. In the midst of these recalcitrant ethos, the close circle of loved ones I had around me could only quietly observe this grief and imaginably, feel powerless to help in my time of need. At the time, I wasn’t cognizant of the formation of a shell of selfishness that encapsulated my presence like a forcefield during these stages of grief I was experiencing. At the foot of this shell was a doormat, it was tagged with a list of dispiriting expectations that anyone on the outside looking in may deem necessary to crack it. Inadvertently, this doormat I laid out, expected those individuals to relate, surmise or grasp the fact what I was projecting internally. These ilks of expectations can merit a myriad of pressures, especially in a relationship experiencing tragedy. Within the writing and directing of the film, I longed for the character of Buddy (Christopher Tedrow) to be like a tin man in the flesh having weathered a storm of grief after the death of his father and for the character of Dolly (Lauren Schoepfer) to be his sweet can of oil; however, his storm forbade a sunny day for them and the dark clouds overhead are taking them to a darker place as the depth of his emotional absence in their relationship grows. Furthermore, I wrote the purveyor of this darkness as the character of Knave (Noah Dorsey) in the film and directed his scenes with ill-intentions in mind. Knave’s dialogue throughout the film is like laced advice from a serpent, it forges the very mettle of Buddy and Dolly’s relationship to falter; however, it sets in contrary motion the potential of a serendipitous exchange that could bring them back together again. Hope Tragic Sky (’19) is about finding the light in the darkness after a heavy loss and surrendering to love by wrapping yourself up in her warmth. In other words, this film is about letting go of what isn’t there and taking hold of what is before it’s gone, too.

Oregon Short Film Festival - Winter 2021 Official Selection

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