He Could’ve Gone Pro

By McGhee Monteith | Drama
A woman and her mother confront the truth about their family's past.

Gayle is the middle-aged matriarch of a Southern family, calling each member of her clan on Christmas. She’s keen on maintaining connection, even if the family members are far away, going through her list and beginning each call with a “Happy ho ho ho.”

But then her daughter Debbie arrives for Christmas with her boyfriend, initially to collect her gift money, despite a lingering anger at her mother. But Debbie refuses to comply with Gayle’s attempts at normalcy, eventually rupturing Gayle’s illusion of familial bliss and forcing Gayle to confront their troubled past as a family.

Writer-director McGhee Monteith’s powerful short drama is an incisive yet sensitively observed study in dysfunctional family dynamics, with an exceptionally well-observed script and a strong set of performances all around from the small cast of actors.

Essentially a chamber piece and a dinner scene, Monteith’s story ably takes this one event in a family’s history and examines it with forensic precision, observing with clarity how family dysfunction perpetuates itself, as a toxic sense of denial chafes against years of powerlessness and pain.

The quiet camerawork often emphasizes the isolation and distance that Debbie feels from Gayle, with framings that often forgo harmony and balance. The direction is attuned to the bitter aversions and suppressions that happen when families don’t deal with the traumas and troubles of the past, and the performances are all around strong, able to encapsulate years of suppressed trauma into one family meal.

But eventually the resentment, anger and hurt builds, and any carefully maintained facade will crack, especially when it’s at the expense of others. And when it does for Debbie, she unleashes torrents of anger, resentment and grief upon her mother that levels any illusion Gayle may have of raising a good family. The resulting pain and agony, held back for years, is devastating to watch and hear, but its expression will be highly relatable to anyone who’s struggled to speak their truth in a situation bent on smothering any authenticity or honesty.

“He Could’ve Gone Pro” is emotionally intense, and unflinching in its portrayal of the sometimes corrosive influence families can have on each other. In the end, it also becomes a powerfully ironic portrait of just how entrenched denial can be, and how a refusal to look at the truth of a situation — and dig deep into a sense of responsibility for one’s part in it — can cost someone the very thing they want more than anything else.

You Might Also Like:

The Goodnight Show

By Charlie Schwan | Drama
A virgin tries to get laid before an unstoppable asteroid ends the world.

Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A young father who's cut off from his son takes matters into his own hands.


By Benjamin Bee | Drama
An ultra-Orthodox Jew reunites with his twin brother for their father's funeral.


By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
An Iranian woman's husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman uncovers the truth about the man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

By Michael Lavers | Romance
An elderly man is given the opportunity to relive one day of his life.


By Devon Manney | Animation
A veteran soldier who loses both arms battles phantom pains and memories of a pre-war life.

Hold On

By Charlotte Scott-Wilson | Drama
A young cellist develops stage fright after a string comes lose during a big performance.

Don’t Be a Hero

By Pete Lee | Drama
A woman battles her loneliness by robbing banks as a cowboy on her lunch break.

Our Kind of Love

By Elham Ehsas and Azeem Bhati | Romance
An Afghan village girl goes on her first date in London.

Lost and Found

By Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe | Animation
A clumsy crochet dinosaur must unravel itself to save the love of its life.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. David Bradley & Ian McKellen

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A farmer invests his savings in a piglet.


By Joe Gillette | Romance
2 strangers at a wedding reception make an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
A man in a time-loop must work with his brother to prevent a catastrophic fire.


By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy.

Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.