He Could’ve Gone Pro

By McGhee Monteith | Drama
When a woman comes home for Christmas, she and her mother are forced to 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:

Hold On

By Charlotte Scott-Wilson | Drama
A young cellist develops stage fright after one of her cello strings comes lose during an important performance.

Don’t Be a Hero ft. Missi Pyle

By Pete Lee | Drama
A middle-aged woman battles her loneliness and boredom by robbing banks in the guise of 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.

Edmund the Magnificent ft. Ian McKellen, David Bradley

By Ben Ockrent | Comedy
A once-legendary farmer takes a chance and invest his life savings in a thoroughbred piglet.


By Joe Gillette | Romance
Two strangers, trying to avoid the crowd at a wedding reception, end up making an unexpected connection.

Exit Strategy

By Travis Bible | Sci-Fi
Two brothers caught in a time loop must traverse a series of maze-like events in order to prevent a catastrophic fire from occurring.


By Georgi Bank-Davies | Romance
A young woman wakes up in a strange place, with a strange guy. Then, she start to piece together how she got there.


By Joey Ally | Romance
A couple's love life begins to slump, forcing them to reconsider the relationship and confront how intertwined they've become.

Small Arms ft. Tyler Young

By Arman Cole | Drama
A bullied college student seeks out shooting lessons with an ex-militia member to prove his manhood.


By Noel Loozen | Comedy
A young man finds himself in between a food-truck and a brothel. Then, he meets his dream girl.

Long Branch

By Dane Clark and Linsey Stewart | Romance
A heartbroken woman finds a one-night stand. But the guy lives two hours away... via public transit.

Ten Thousand Days

By Michael Duignan | Comedy
A man is convinced he'll die on his 10,000th day. But when he meets a girl at his cousin's funeral, things don't go to plan.


By Tyrees A. Lamptey | Drama
A WW1 soldier is trapped in a trench with the enemy... and it restores their faith in humanity.

Pitter Patter Goes My Heart ft. Vicky Krieps

By Christoph Rainer | Romance
A hopeless romantic takes desperate measures to win her former lover back. But he already has a new girl at his side.

Grape Soda

By Justin Robinson | Drama
A marriage, broken by death, is kept alive by the memories held through grape soda.

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.