Bury Me Not

By Charlene Bagcal | Drama
2 women hide the surprising truth as a sheriff investigates a murder.

It's 1861, and a murder has taken place in a small Western town. A sheriff is on the trail, looking for answers -- especially since the victim was his brother, Harvey.

He decides to pay a visit to his former sister-in-law Ingrid, a German immigrant living with a widow named Sophie and her young son Charlie. The sheriff suspects Ingrid of being involved with the murder. But the interrogation turns into a complex game of mental chess, with dangerously high stakes.

Directed by Charlene Bagcal from a script written by lead actors Ellie Araiza and Jul Kohler, this slow burn of a short Western drama is essentially an interrogation scene. But with richly layered dialogue and finely drawn characters, it becomes a portrait of staying true to what you believe in when faced with danger, especially to protect what you love.

One of the standards of the Western genre is an emphasis on landscape and environment, and this short establishes its genre bona-fides with an impressive set of visuals. Gorgeous cinematography emphasizes the desolate, bare landscape around the two women's home, and elegant, dynamic camera movements are both captivating and anxious. Beyond being beautifully crafted, the look and feel also emphasize just how remote, isolated and vulnerable the two women are.

Within this landscape, the sheriff arrives, bringing with him a certain tension and edginess. The trio of characters settle in for a friendly chat that is anything but, as the sheriff tries to fish information out of them. Ingrid unravels a dark, somber tale, full of intrigue and death. But as the scene progresses, there's much more to the story, and the household will stop at nothing to protect it.

"Bury Me Not" pays faithful tribute to the preoccupations and mores of the Western genre, with its themes of justice, morality and power. Westerns have played a role in building up the iconography of traditional Americana, and the film gracefully adds its contribution to iconic gunfights and vigilante justice, rendering its story with cinematic yet intimate panache and making for a tense and suspenseful ending.

But by emphasizing the story of the women, "Bury Me Not" also reminds us of those who traditional stories often leave out or relegate to supporting roles. It also makes the case that expanding the cast of characters at the center of Western storytelling can invigorate the time-worn genre. Storytellers can still weave compelling narratives of violence, survival and suspense -- but with a fresh perspective, renewed vigor and perhaps even more unexpected twists.

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.