My Films / Blue

A short film by Jae Staats and Jason Francois, now in the fest rounds.


Actress Colleen Hartnet

Actor Michael Hanelin

Jae Staats

Jason Francois

Joel Kaye / Camera

Website coming soon!



IFP-Phoenix Breakout Film Challenge


2013-14 IFP-Phx Film Challenge series

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The awards

‘Blue’ premiered at the IFP-Phoenix Breakout Film Challenge on Thursday, February 6.

As a result of winning 1st Place, ‘Blue’ will screen at the 2014 Phoenix Film Festival

and also be submitted to over 16 film festivals across the USA

and throughout the world. In addition to winning Best Film, ‘Blue’ also won Best Actress and best Director



Blue 1

Blue 2

Blue 3

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Blue 4

Blue 7

Blue 6

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Blue 9

Blue 10

Blue 11

Film review excerpt

Daring to choose between Blue and Conundrum is a tough and highly debatable call, as there are strong arguments for each film, but I’d nudge Blue ahead because of its depth and resonance. It appears to be very simple, merely following a couple whose relationship is falling apart to the point where it’s going to break unless they can find a way to reconnect. Whether they actually do or not is teasingly up for grabs, but the film invites analysis and interpretation without ever obscuring the general flow, so this is a great choice to watch and then sit back and discuss at your favourite local bar or coffee house. You could start by pondering on just how far the title has its hooks into Alex Whitmer’s script. There’s a lot of blue here, starting with the mood at the breakfast table as Gavin and Alice eat their cereal. Most obviously, it’s the colour of his bowl, as his OCD is offended by her not eating out of a matching one. Hers is white and it’s clear that the ensuing argument is about a lot more than just crockery.

When Alice asks, ‘You know we’re talking about bowls, right?’ Gavin is but she isn’t. She’s talking about them, the fact that their mismatch goes far beyond such a ridiculous detail. Their clothes take sides too; she’s dressed in white, but he’s wearing a blue shirt. Even his eyes are blue while hers aren’t. This is the sort of film where we pay attention to that sort of thing. While the script soon focuses on Alice not Gavin, Michael Hanelin’s supporting slot is especially haunting, one of his least ambiguous. ‘You’re not in this marriage any more,’ he tells his partner. ‘I don’t know where you are.’ The lines are believably banal, though deceptively so, but his delivery is what sells them, especially as his eyes back them up. Hanelin makes Gavin look completely lost, unable to fathom how they got to this point but also unable to figure out a way forward. When she asks him to, ‘Do something, something that proves that you can see me,’ his only response is to leave. And, of course, the focus shifts to Alice alone. And more blue, naturally.

Backed up from here only by the technical side, the neat transitions from Staats (wearing his editor hat), crisp cinematography from Joel Kaye and clean sound from Joe Chilcott,Blue becomes a Colleen Hartnett showcase all the way to the finalé. Already grounded as a character through a set of incisive responses and a mildly edgy show of sexual frustration, she gets stronger as a character even as she shows us her weaknesses. Of course she cries, because it wouldn’t be a Colleen Hartnett picture without some tears (surely her tombstone will carry a teardrop and a glass of red wine along with her name), but what else she does will imprint this film over a number of others onto our retinae to compare future performances to. This is one of the strongest roles I’ve seen her play and I’ve seen plenty, many of which pair her with Hanelin, certainly the most consistently broken screen couple in local film. If there’s a flaw, it’s in how quickly it all ends, but that’s excusable given the time limits of these competitions and hardly major.


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