Eavesdropping on the Elders
A girl is unknowingly challenged with the task of bridging the gap between 2 generations. With a little help from her father, she's forced into another world where she's confronted with less... Read allA girl is unknowingly challenged with the task of bridging the gap between 2 generations. With a little help from her father, she's forced into another world where she's confronted with lessons from the past.A girl is unknowingly challenged with the task of bridging the gap between 2 generations. With a little help from her father, she's forced into another world where she's confronted with lessons from the past.
My dear cousin, Kiah Clingman, co-wrote and co-directed this short film. Anytime I see reflections of myself on screen, regardless if they're family or not, I always support. Our stories should be told more often. Our stories should also be presented to the masses every chance we get. It's all due to the fact that we have so much history and lore within our community. Eavesdropping on the Elders is a prime example of that.
I really admire the fact that this film highlights the personal struggles of our main character (Kiah Clingman). Her father struggles with ALS and she's overwhelmed with distractions. So much to where she becomes almost oblivious to her educational future. However, something rather....unforeseen occurs. I won't give away too much, but our main character finds herself in a spiritual dilemma with her ancestors.
From the trailer alone, I fell in love with this concept. Being able to witness our forefathers have discussions and debates through a...modern lens, I'd say. The subject matter/narrative alone is easily my favorite aspect of the film. As an audience member, it literally gives you so much to think about. I also admire that the film examines how difficult it can sometimes be to balance both sides of the coin: the ancestors' side and your side. They're both completely different perspectives. When someone like me, a 19-year-old African-American male, relays their input with my debating ancestors, it may come off as rude.
A lot of people in my generation often lose sight of what has been leveled out for us in the past. We get so caught up in new technology and things like designer outfits. We never pay much attention to how we can maintain financial growth and freedom on our own. With our main character's dilemma, we see her progress from a headstrong college student to a rising successor. People like her father have given so much to our community, but with nothing in return. As a result, it slowly becomes our responsibility to fill in those gaps.
From a filmmaking standpoint, I could tell that everyone who participated on and off-screen were on one accord. Everything was put together in a very professional and tasteful manner. Kiah's entire dilemma felt believable and in-the-moment from each scene. It was almost like I was sucked into everything, the same way she was. Lastly, there's some really nice visual storytelling near the end that I believe speaks volumes.
In all honesty, I do wish this story had a bit more depth to it. In that way, I feel it'd be more authentic. We have a story that many people can relate to, and we have a story that is very easy to follow. I really think if there was more to latch onto and much more to take away, the film's impact would be more wholesome.
With all my issues aside, Eavesdropping on the Elders still managed to be a thought-provoking and heartwarming short film. It's pretty amazing how a film of this length can spark so many long conversations an debates. It shows the contrast between young and old in the most tasteful way possible. Not only does it realize the perks of being young, it also realizes the importance of our origins. This is why our stories need to be told. This is why our stories need to be shown.
- Jun 12, 2021