From Scratch

By Joseph Simmons | Drama
An art student wakes from a seizure to discover her hand has a mind of its own.

Cassie is a creatively ambitious art student with a big exhibition deadline on the horizon. But she’s having difficulty working, what with critical instructors and her own anxiety getting in her way. Her sister is also overprotective of Cassie’s medical condition, policing her medication and controlling her social life.

But when Cassie has a seizure after a stressful day in class, something about her has changed: her drawing hand has developed a will and power to act on its own. Cassie struggles with her new “condition,” but as her hand begins to exhibit a boldness Cassie hasn’t shown in her life and art, Cassie must learn to embrace herself or continue to struggle.

Directed by Joseph Simmons from a script co-written with Damien Knightley, this short psychological drama has a premise that would fit easily in a body horror narrative. But it elevates it to the level of metaphor, using it to explore a young woman’s drive to become an artist, as well as how her creativity is intertwined with her agency — or lack of it — in her life.

The writing layers many aspects of Cassie’s psychological landscape, from her older sister’s controlling approach to her friend’s seemingly selfless concern to the exacting instructor that Cassie must please to get ahead in her quest to become an artist. All these layers are deftly woven together, making up a complex character study of a girl often powerless in her own life, and treated as such by the people around her. Like the somber, muted colors and cinematography of the film, Cassie’s world is restrained and repressed.

When her hand begins to act of its own accord, though, something shifts in Cassie. Cassie’s hand creates art that is bold in line and gesture, and often a direct reflection of the emotions that she’s long held at bay. It also begins to exert its own will in Cassie’s life. Actor Iona Champian plays this almost supernatural element with great subtlety. Cassie’s own “relationship” to her painting hand starts with horror, but then it develops into fascination and even trust. And when her hand takes decisive action beyond the canvas, Cassie has learned to accept this part of her, transforming many of her relationships, her art and even her life.

With steady, solid storytelling and a psychologically penetrating approach to its fascinating premise, “From Scratch” tracks a journey from passivity to self-determination, capturing how autonomy, self-acceptance and self-expression are all intertwined with one another. We often hear about “finding our voice,” and Cassie herself has found hers by the film’s end. But that begins with accepting who we are, and believing that what we have to say matters in the first place.




You Might Also Like:

Bud

By Zach Woods | Drama
A little girl has a birthday dinner with her father that she'll never forget...

Pony

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

Frimas

By Marianne Farley | Drama
A woman goes to an illegal abortion clinic, following the adoption of an anti-abortion law.

A La Cara

By Javier Marco | Drama
A famous reporter confronts a man for insulting her on Twitter.

Mousie

By David Bartlett | Drama
A young Roma girl is discovered by Nazis as they cleanse the streets of 'undesirables'.

Ganef

By Mark Rosenblatt | Drama
A little girl thinks she sees a family cleaner steal a precious ornament. Then it escalates.

Leylak

By Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos | Drama
A father keeps a painful secret from his daughter during COVID -- but risks losing her.

Free Fall

By Emmanuel Tenenbaum | Drama
A young trader jumps into the biggest trade of his life amid the September 11 attacks.

Champ

By Ben Tricklebank | Drama
A 14-year-old is expected to be a man. But he doesn't want to grow up that way.

The Recordist

By Indianna Bell and Josiah Allen | Drama
A young actress has an affair with the director. The sound recordist blackmails her.

Bruiser

By Miles Warren | Drama
A young boy explores his manhood after his father fights at a bowling alley.

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.



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.