QWERTY by Aaron Sauerland

A young boy struggles to fix his relationship with his father by creating a robot in hopes to win the school talent show.

Donnie is an eccentric young middle-school boy: introverted, smart and just a little different, with a strained relationship with his father.

Using all this talents and ingenuity, he decides to create a robot in the hopes of winning the school talent show — and showing hs dad just how creativity and imagination are the keys to success.

Director Aaron Sauerland has fashioned an engaging gem of a short drama, offering a fresh take of an eternal human dilemma: trying to win the love and approval of a parent.

The short is anchored by a solid, relatable script and charming performances that stays grounded in familiar coming-of-age dilemmas, like bullying or feeling misunderstood and alone. Nearly everyone can relate to the feelings and situations faced by Donnie, even if they don’t possess technical acumen or an aptitude for science.

The quirky elements of a robot add a twist to the family story, but its underpinnings are rooted in the classic conflicts between parents who have certain expectations and the children who try to live up to them. But in the course of trying to win approval or garner love, Donnie also finds something even more elusive: a sense of self and strength that comes from within. It’s a lesson that many find themselves returning to, well past their childhood years.

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