Cash for Gold

By Robert Enriquez | Drama
Desperate for money, a woman walks into a pawn shop owned by an Iranian family... and develops an unlikely connection.

Grace is a woman at the end of her rope and in need of quick cash. She goes to the Queen of Persia gold emporium to sell some of her jewelry, but the seller, Ehsan, can’t get her the price she wants for her valuables.

But Ehsan is constrained by his own pressures, in the form of a controlling father whose eye is always on Ehsan. But full of sympathy and understanding, he extends to her a moment of respite and understanding that offers her some hope during a difficult time.

Writer/lead actress Deborah Puette and director Robert Enriquez’s short drama is striking, even among short film standards, for its simplicity and clarity. A well-written two-hander full of fluid naturalistic camerawork, sympathetic performances and insights into the value of kindness to bridge divisions, it avoids the potential cliche and melodrama of its themes by keeping its storytelling understated and focused on what’s unsaid and hidden for each of the characters.

The short is limited in scope to one long scene and two main characters, and is remarkably economical about background and character exposition. We don’t know what exactly drives Grace into the gold seller’s store, and Ehsan’s constraints are revealed slowly through Grace’s own realizations. And yet viewers come to know these characters intimately, thanks to the precise, bravely vulnerable performances by Puette and Navid Negahban — also seen as Sultan in Disney’s live-action “Aladdin.”

The two actors play out a brief encounter that, in its push and pull, examines the economic and ethnic tensions that currently pull at the U.S. The writing is excellent here, never hammering out a “message” and offering a window of compassion into both characters’ lives. Despite the short run time, both Grace and Ehsan experience beautifully modulated emotional arcs that culminate in a moment of grace for both — one that offers a glimpse of just how transformative kindness and understanding can be for both the giver and receiver, even in the briefest of interactions.

The filmmakers are expanding “Cash for Gold” into a feature-length project that will hopefully flesh out these characters’ fuller stories. But as a standalone short, it stands out as a jewel-like, even elegant example of how a simple human interaction can contain depths of empathy and compassion — and what just one moment of understanding can offer to the most desperate of situation. Impactful, wise and genuinely earning its heartfelt ending, “Cash for Gold” offers a human-scale, achievable model of hope in a world where the social and political chasms between people can seem unbridgeable.

You Might Also Like:


By Benjamin Bee | Drama
An ultra-orthodox Jew hasn't seen his identical twin brother in years. But today is the day of their father's funeral.


By Kaveh Mazaheri | Drama
Her husband has an accident at home... and she just watches him die.

Stealing Silver ft. Maisie Williams

By Mark Lobatto | Drama
A woman confronts a painful time in her life after discovering the truth about a mysterious old man living across from her.

Joseph’s Reel

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


By Devon Manney | Animation
Returning to the U.S. after losing both arms, a veteran battles phantom pains, prosthetics and memories of his pre-war life.

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

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.

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 once-legendary farmer takes a chance and invests 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
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. 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.


By Mark Ram | Drama
Two friends climb a mountain, connected by a rope. But when one falls, the other's life hangs in an unstable balance.

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.