Champ (Official Website)
Family separation is never easy, and more often than not, children find themselves torn in half as they attempt to please two parents who no longer communicate. This is the situation fourteen-year-old Jake (Kingston Vernes) finds himself in as he spends time with his dad (Drew Powell). From the outset, Jake is apprehensive and uncertain as he greets his dad, a man who clearly believes Jake is old enough to become the man he thinks he should be. But for Jake, his dad’s ideas of masculinity are opposed to his mum’s and her new partner’s beliefs.
Jake’s mum wants him to study hard at school and go to college, while his dad believes he should bulk up, fight and forget the idea of studying. But as the two embark on a mysterious road trip to a destination his dad chose, Jake will ultimately have to choose the path he wants to take by either following his father’s wishes or walking away.
Ben Tricklebank and James Gould-Bourn’s nuanced screenplay plays with audience expectations while delving into the confused love of a father who sees his son as a mirror image of himself. As conversations progress, it’s clear that Jake doubts his dad’s intentions and beliefs but doesn’t want to disappoint the man he still looks up to despite his misguided love. While his dad feels the need to root out his mum’s influence, an influence he believes to be unrealistic and overly aspirational.
The result is a delicate and assured discussion on parental influence, separation and the minefield many kids face in thinking they need to pick a side. Here the performances of Powell and Vernes are compelling as they explore the relationship of a father and son in the hours leading up to a fateful and irreversible decision. Very few short films offer the knock-out punch Champ delivers in its final scenes or the delicate yet powerful discussions on masculinity, parenthood and influence surrounding the short road trip on which we embark.
READ MORE: A NIGHT IN THE FIELDS
Ben Tricklebank and James Gould-Bourn’s nuanced screenplay plays with audience expectations while delving into the confused love of a father who sees his son as a mirror image of himself.