Pods

By Michael Junior Onafowokan | Drama
A young man falls into a deep depression after losing a close friend to a gang conflict.

Dave has recently lost a close friend Lucas to a gang conflict. Overcome by grief and guilt, he has withdrawn from his family and friends and is falling into a deep depression.

But as he contemplates ending his own life, memories of his friendship with Lucas surface, full of happy memories and honest conversations. But he also reckons with the more difficult memories and must come to terms with the past.

Written and directed by Michael Junior Onafowokan, this heartfelt short drama explores the emotional landscape of a young Black man, riven with grief and pain that he can't share with others. Bottled up, it proves too much, pushing Dave to the edge of self-destruction.

The storytelling operates in a poetic register of emotion and memory, weaving in flashbacks whose warmth and amiability capture the trust and affection between Dave and Lucas. It's a warm, even tender portrait of friendship, unfurling with a sense of visual naturalism and intimate handheld camerawork.

But it also co-exists with memories of conflict, such as when Dave tries to stop Lucas from retaliating after a fight with a rival gang. The writing doesn't focus on the violence; it instead draws its dramatic tension from Dave's attempts to set his friend right, and his resulting agony when Lucas dies. He blames himself and is helpless in his guilt. The visuals also shift into a more impressionistic, emotional register, almost as if reflecting Dave's disintegrating inner world.

Actor Faisal Dacosta's performance ably traverses the range of emotions that Dave must navigate throughout the film, particularly as he descends into depression and grief. But at a key juncture, those memories coalesce into a pristine memory of Dave and Lucas at their most honest, open and caring -- the power of which pulls Dave back from the brink.

The key insight of "Pods" is in its final epitaph: suicide doesn't stop the pain, only moves it. Unchecked and unacknowledged suffering can isolate us, which only compounds the original grief and trauma. We can't erase the pain or ignore it, as Dave comes to learn. Instead, he learns the power of putting it into words and honoring the full sweep of our emotions, story and relationships as we do so. Through this profound act of expression, we can find hope and meaning again, even after heartbreaking loss.




You Might Also Like:

Iniquity

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

Pony

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

Sylvia

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.

Avarya

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...

Ernie

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.

CODA

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.