Sweep by Spencer Gillis

Two men smoke a joint and become fast friends. But when a cop shows up, they part in an unforgivable way.

Two men initially clash at a local recycling center, but eventually find common ground. But this initial bond frays all too easily, leading to a bitter moment of reckoning.

The plot and premise of this short drama is compact and highly specific, taking place at a recycling center on a single snowy day.

But within that scope, director Spencer Gillis is able to tease out a powerful portrait of just how human interactions are shaped by the assumptions, judgments and implications created by beliefs and anxieties about race and class.

Terrific performances and excellent direction bring to life an intelligent, nuanced screenplay, which is alive to the ways fatherhood can become an instant bond for two men of different backgrounds.

Yet this human connection begins — and eventually ends — with tension and conflict, which provokes honest yet uncomfortable discussion about race and racism and the subtle yet insidious ways they inform our everyday interactions and, more importantly, inaction. The film’s ending moments are subtle yet heartbreaking, especially with the well-played final line, with all its irony and bitterness.

Through straightforward honesty and compassion, this powerful drama aims to open up a space of examination and scrutiny. Through provoking understanding and compassion of multiple points-of-view, films like “Sweep” ask us to look within ourselves for pockets of hidden resentments and assumptions — which can bubble up when we least expect it.

Spencer Gillis’s short “Gun” is available to watch through iTunes.




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