Naysayer ft. Steven Yeun

By David M. Helman | Drama
A father is cut off from his son, then takes matters into his own hands...

A young father, Ian, is on the road, speeding down the highway and trying to talk to his wife on the phone. Recently separated from her, he feels he's being unfairly kept away from his newborn son Colin. And he's now taking matters into his own hands.

But when he finally gets his wife on the phone, alliances will shift and feelings will change as new information emerges during the course of the conversation.

Directed by David M. Helman and written by Nathaniel David Shriver, Naysayer features an intense performance by "Walking Dead" actor Steven Yeun, who holds the screen on his own with compelling agitation and intensity.

Playing a father struggling to be a part of his son's life, Yeun brings the initial emotional dilemma of the film to life with conviction, and each story beat adds a layer of complexity to our understanding of him and his motives. He works beautifully off of a voice performance by actress Alanna Masterson, who manages to convey a rich spectrum of feeling and realization without appearing onscreen. Character and situation are rendered through excellent and precise dialogue, which masterfully controls the information available to the viewer, while deepening our engagement with Ian as a character.

Visually, "Naysayer" is a road movie, with Ian on the run as he travels through the rich yet desolate desert landscape, a small speck on a vast expanse. The moving landscape adds to the visual dynamism of the short, while also underscoring Ian's isolation and desperation. As the film slowly darkens -- and the sound design ratchets the intensity with a baby's increased wailing in the background -- so does the audience's understanding of what's really going on with Ian.

Using a gracefully executed, emotionally devastating sleight-of-hand, the final twist is heart-wrenching, both for Ian as he confronts the meaning of his actions and for the audience, who gets the whole picture of what is happening, and why. Revealing itself in the end as an emotional mystery, it begs for a re-watching of the short -- and shows how things are never as they entirely seem, especially in domestic conflicts, though it can be easy to make it seem so.

You Might Also Like:


By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.


By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...


By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.


By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I'm Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

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.