After their grandfather's passing, Lyle, an aimless art student with a taste for the abstract, heads to Kanab, UT to care for their spitfire grandmother Barb. Stuck together in the middle of nowhere, the two struggle to reconnect while keeping afloat the family’s Movie Ranch--an eccentric museum filled with dust-covered sets and memorabilia from old cowboy flicks. Along the way, the pair assembles a community of oddballs including wisecracking Navajo skater Cade; Mr. Lo, who's always ready with a home-cooked meal and an anecdote from the old days; and Danny, Lyle's ever-patient and resourceful girlfriend. As the ragtag crew dives into the world of Western nostalgia, they discover that movie magic may be the surprising solution to Barb & Lyle’s estrangement.

  • Ed McCulloch
  • El Bender
  • Benjamin Thevenin
  • Ed McCulloch
  • Morningstar Angeline
    Outer Range, Frybread Face and Me
  • Katy Drake Bettner
    Swallow, Pray Away
  • Beth Grant
    Key Cast
    "Little Miss Sunshine, No Country for Old Men, Donnie Darko "
  • Sadie Scott
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Other
  • Genres:
    Drama, Western
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 3, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ed McCulloch

Ed (he/him) is an award-winning director whose short films and commercial work has screened at festivals around the world, including Cannes, for clients such as Google, Ford, Wrangler, Ikea, Nike and Oakley.

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Director Statement

Little Hollywood is a story that’s rooted in my personal life. And the relationship between Barb and Lyle is directly inspired by the rift and eventual reconciliation between my own queer, college-aged daughter and her conservative grandparents.

When my daughter came out a few years ago, it was incredibly difficult for her. Despite the love and support that my wife and I showed her, she struggled with the lack of acceptance she felt in our conservative community in Utah and, in particular, from her very religious grandparents. For years, their interactions were limited to the occasional awkward visit followed by text messages from her grandma in which she shared Bible verses and shamed my daughter for her sexuality. Despite me and my wife’s constant efforts to advocate for my daughter and help her grandparents develop greater sympathy for her, the situation grew worse and my daughter’s mental health suffered. Only when my daughter was hospitalized did her grandparents see that the greatest danger wasn’t their granddaughter’s queer identity, it was the possibility of losing her.

Directing Little Hollywood, I hope to inspire the type of reconciliation that I have witnessed in my own family–using Barb and Lyle’s story to encourage people, young and old, conservative and progressive, queer and straight, to come together, navigate their differences, and discover each other’s humanity. As a middle-aged, cis-gendered man, I don’t claim to know what it’s like to be a red-state rancher or a non-binary art student. But this story reflects my own efforts to bridge the gaps between generations, perspectives and experiences within my extended family.

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter walked at her high school graduation, and I watched as her grandparents hugged her and cheered her on enthusiastically. My hope is that as director of Little Hollywood, I can speak to that experience, and maybe–hopefully–help other folks mend similar rifts in their relationships.