Happenstance is an international award-winning short film that was written, directed, produced and starring Emily Kirk.

In our story, Christina and Keith are childhood friends who see each other at a mutual friend's birthday party. A song comes on that they danced to when they were twelve and through the dance, they begin seeing each other in an exciting and new way.

  • Emily Kirk
    Little Talks, Untitled
  • Emily Kirk
    Little Talks, Untitled
  • Emily Kirk
    Key Cast
    Vengeance Girl, Farah, Closer: A Scene Reimagined, Little Talks, Untitled, Eagleheart (vocals)
  • Christian Sullivan
    Key Cast
    “Keith ”
    Mythos, Buttons the Great, Playing Ourselves, My Names Are, Taste, Like & Subscribe
  • Chris Van Valey
    Global Cinematography Institute, Closer: A Scene Reimagined
  • Devin L Johnson
    Samice, Les Inconnus: Escape, Butcher Boy, Carte Blanche, Yes, and...
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Romance, drama, comedy, art
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 44 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 5, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Alternative Film Awards
    Winter '19
    Best First-Time Filmmaker
  • Florence Film Awards
    Official Finalist
  • Shore to Shore Film Festival
    Glendale, CA
    United States
    March 14, 2020
    Best Romance
  • Film Invasion Los Angeles
    Los Angeles
    United States
    June 15, 2020
    Official Selection
  • MayDay Film Festival
    Evansville, IN
    United States
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Emily Kirk

Emily Kirk is an award-winning Los Angeles actor and stand up comedian originally from Southern Indiana. She received her Bachelor of Science in Theatre Arts from University of Southern Indiana where she also studied music and improv. Respecting film as well as the stage, she challenged herself to not only star in productions, but to bring her own stories to life.
Her first crack at directing was an internet short she'd written, entitled Little Talks and audiences found the material relatable and the moments memorable. Shortly after, she created an almost entirely silent piece called, Untitled. Emily loved and learned from the experiences of creating both pieces, but continued forward to make Happenstance a stronger and more mature moment, while still containing the heart and honesty of her previous projects.
Emily is a performer in two sketch groups, Mixed Nuts and The Madcap Underground and has been doing stand up comedy since 2016. Including Happenstance, her acting repertoire includes: starring lead in Prey Film's feature film, Vengeance Girl, starring lead in the short film Farah, performing stand up comedy at the 4th Annual Laugh Riot Grrrl Comedy Festival and producing and starring in CLOSER: A Scene Reimagined. Along with acting, she loves working as a production assistant on Hey Qween TV, being a karaoke DJ, and performing vocals in the cover band, Devily. (emilynkirk.com)

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Director Statement

The underlying power of the romance genre of film is the shared desire that we all have in wanting to be loved. This reason is why this genre is so near and dear to my heart. Being a stand up comedian, I’m frustrated that romance films have become lumped into two extremes: romantic comedy or epic drama. I believe there is an audience out there who want to see a love story that can exist in both worlds.

One of my largest issues I have when watching romantic comedies is that the characters are unrealistic; not just because of their glamorous looks and witty banter, but they always perfectly execute whatever they’re trying to do. This is why when creating Happenstance I wanted to show an honest portrayal of what I think many people find romantic- acceptance that is also admiration. These characters not only accept each other’s perfections and flaws, but they admire those qualities and couldn’t imagine that person any other way. Classifying the characters in this way helps reveal that the most precious moments are best because they are flawed and not perfect.

Christina is not a skinny woman and Keith is not a tall man. In the current film environment, these are not physical traits of people cast as romantic leads. Many films and television shows that have a large woman character romantically involved with a smaller man have to stress how funny she is, because that’s the only reason why he could possibly be attracted to her. However, if the roles are reversed (Ex: Flintstones, Knocked Up, etc.), society has no problem believing the relationship. My goal was to show these characters authentically interested in each other without falling on old ideals and caricatures. The attraction is understood between Keith and Christina and the audience doesn’t need an explanation of why a man like him is into a woman like her.

Happenstance is about how impactful a moment can be. It shines a spotlight on the comfort of nostalgia and recalling feelings of a first crush, but also the thoughts of inadequacy that tag along with it. The cinematography is meant to be incredibly close and sensual; allowing the audience to be as involved in the dance as Keith and Christina.
This was a beautiful challenge and I hope that audiences embrace and enjoy it as much as my team of artists and I loved creating it.
~Emily Kirk