TV writer Karen Kicak’s directorial debut, VOLCANO, had its World Premiere at TIFF ’19 and was nominated for Best International Short at Palm Springs ShortFest & Best International Short at NFMLA.

This razor-sharp two-hander sees two longtime friends meet up for drinks at a tiki bar, only to find themselves in a bidding war for attention, with some telling omissions.

"6 of the Best Canadian Films at TIFF" - Maclean's Magazine
"10 Must-See Short Films at TIFF 2019" - NOW Magazine

  • Karen Kicak
  • Karen Kicak
    Workin' Moms, Must Kill Karl, Mary Kills People
  • Alona Metzer
    Backspot, Learn to Swim, Mariner
  • Hannah Cheesman
    Key Cast
    The Definites, Star Trek: Discovery, Whatever Linda
  • Jess Salgueiro
    Key Cast
    Frasier, The Boys, The Expanse, Mouthpiece
  • Gabriela Osio Vanden
    Nuisance Bear, Joey, Snip
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Comedy
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 14, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Toronto International Film Festival
    September 8, 2019
    World Premiere
    In Competition: Best Canadian Short Film
  • FIN Atlantic International Film Festival
    September 18, 2019
  • Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival
    September 20, 2019
  • Cucalorus Film Festival
    Wilmington, North Carolina
    United States
    November 13, 2019
    US Premiere
  • Kingston Canadian Film Festival
    March 13, 2020
  • Underexposed Film Festival yc
    Rock Hill
    United States
    March 28, 2020
  • International Film Festival of Ottawa
    March 27, 2020
  • Palm Springs International Shortfest
    Palm Springs
    United States
    June 16, 2020
    In Competition: Best International Short
  • Galway Film Fleadh
    July 7, 2020
    Ireland Premiere
    Nominated for Best International Short
  • NewFilmmakers LA
    Los Angeles
    United States
    July 25, 2020
  • HollyShorts Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    November 9, 2020
  • YES Film Festival
    United States
    October 23, 2020
Director Biography - Karen Kicak

KAREN KICAK (formerly MOORE) is a CSA-nominated television writer, producer, & filmmaker. She was the Co-Showrunner, Executive Producer, and Writer on the 7th season of the International Emmy-Nominated NETFLIX/CBC comedy series Workin’ Moms, created by and starring Catherine Reitman. She was a Co-Executive Producer and Writer on previous seasons, having written 11 episodes of the hit series. Other TV writing and producing credits include the one-hour drama Mary Kills People (Lifetime), the award-winning family series Detention Adventure (HBO Max/CBC), and one-hour procedural Rookie Blue (ABC).

Karen’s directorial debut short film, Volcano, had its World Premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for Best International Short at Palm Springs Shortfest 2020. She is the Writer and Co-Producer of the dark comedy short, Must Kill Karl (Dir: Joe Kicak, Austin Film Festival ‘18). The film won Best Comedy at HollyShorts Film Festival (2018) and was featured on Short of the Week. She wrote the Bravo-funded short drama Your Place or Mine and the award-winning short Frozen Marbles.

Karen’s personal essays have been published in The Los Angeles Times, HuffPost, Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan UK, Glamour Magazine, The Kit, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and a Tiny Love Story in The New York Times.

All things considered, she’s pretty good for being a Karen.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

My goal with Volcano was two-fold: First, I wanted to explore the denial and shame that exists in verbally abusive relationships. And second was to capture a messier female friendship and the distance that can creep in when friends are at different places in life. And make it funny!

In this narrative, Hannah needs Jess’ assurance that her relationship with Mack is special – enviable even – and she isn’t getting that because Jess is taking her bragging as a personal affront. The truth is Hannah’s trying to convince herself that the good outweighs the bad. That it’s worth it. Because Mack’s her person. Because despite it all, she loves him. And it’s destroying her.

The story is a personal one and it was important to me to treat Hannah’s revelation with nuance, but not shy away from how that kind of rage sounds. I’ve struggled to label my past relationship as abusive because it wasn’t physical. But it was abuse. It was “that bad”. I hope this film helps others to recognize and not minimize their own experience, and shows the damaging nature of comparing &/or competing with our friends as we move through life.

- Karen Kicak (Writer/Director)