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Happenstance

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
    Director
    Little Talks, Untitled
  • Emily Kirk
    Writer
    Little Talks, Untitled
  • Emily Kirk
    Key Cast
    "Christina"
    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
    Cinematographer
    Global Cinematography Institute, Closer: A Scene Reimagined
  • Devin L Johnson
    Composer
    Samice, Les Inconnus: Escape, Butcher Boy, Carte Blanche, Yes, and...
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • 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:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    RED
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Alternative Film Awards
    Toronto
    Canada
    Winter '19
    Best First-Time Filmmaker
  • Florence Film Awards
    Florence
    Italy
    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. In 2013, she moved from Indiana to Los Angeles to begin her career in film and comedy. Throughout the years in LA, she's worked in TV (Backyard Bar Wars, Eagleheart), feature films (Stalker, Vengeance Girl), stand up comedy (The Comedy Store, The Improv, Second City), voice work (The College Tapes, Secret Movie Club Radio Hour), and her award-winning short film, Happenstance (Best Romance, Best First-Time Filmmaker) which she wrote, produced, directed and starred in.

Her training includes studying theatre and marketing at University of Southern Indiana and she has continued training in Los Angeles with on-camera classes, improv and Meisner acting classes. As an ongoing continuation of honing the craft, she is studying at The Archibald Studio and since attending, has participated in a voiceover workshop led by Lisa Cordileone.

She loves finding the beauty in the ordinary and daring to expose audiences to new things.

In the future, she wishes to continue working with other passionate artists who are not afraid to show vulnerability and the complexities of the human spirit. Along with stories embracing realism, she would very much like to dive into even more imaginative and otherworldly projects also.

When she's not performing, she's a production assistant for Hey Qween TV and she also has a blast being a Karaoke DJ which affords her to let loose and sing some tunes. She's the kind of gal who loves making popcorn at home and watching Turner Classic Movies, but can also be found going out to drag shows in one of her many, many colorful wigs! Some of her other hobbies include: writing, experimenting with makeup, and singing covers with her partner in our band, Devily.

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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 the 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