On the back of the unexpected results to an intensely polarizing and outright crude presidential election, tomorrow some of us will be forced to withstand that one family member who may vocalize a widely divergent (and probably bogus) worldview over a roasted turkey dinner. It’s bound to happen. There have already been multiple stories that discuss this inevitable scenario, pieces ranging from tips to skirt the political divide at the table to hosts uninviting guests or invoking the nuclear option—simply calling the whole gathering off.
No matter how you choose to address this uncomfortable situation (and no judgements, here, other than maybe throwing the turkey through the window—c’mon, man, no turkey deserves that), it’s often easy to forget that we are all humans at our core, just people who are blindly wandering through this life, especially when we believe our political stances define who we are. That’s key to remember when our anger consumes us.
A new short film “Until They Berry Me,” directed by Cody LaPlant and Damien Blue, searches for a similarly hopeful conclusion in the face of searing rage—although, it’s clearly not meant to be taken as an overtly “political” message. “This film had nothing to do with the presidential election,” Blue says, “but it most certainly touched on themes of family, forgiveness and community.”
LaPlant and Blue, who also shoot music videos for the local music scene, enlisted a cast that heavily relies on Milwaukee musicians—actors include New Age Narcissism members Lord Fredd33, Lex Allen, WebsterX, Q The Sun, Jay Anderson, Chris Gilbert and Bo Triplex and additionally Michael Gerlach (of King Courteen), Mic Kellogg, Amanda Mills, Kenny Hoopla, Zed Kenzo and Xiaodi Wang. That’s fitting because the initial idea was sparked during a Lorde Fredd33 set at a Riverwest house show.
“Fred’s performance particularly got us both super inspired—his natural wardrobe, loose but strong stance, timeless look—it was raw,” Blue remembers. “We were interested in incorporating Fred into the film as the lead.”
At the film’s outset, the camera slowly zooms into a tree before a rifle-wielding man (Kellogg) appears behind the trunk and fires a shot. The opening is visually captivating, a hallmark of LaPlant and Blue’s work together, and the unnerving score by Q The Sun heightens both the anxiety and depth as the story unfolds. Ostensibly hunting a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, Kellogg’s character makes a grave mistake, which the film implies but never actually shows, leading the others to turn on him at the dinner table.
“The narrative transpired into something that came to be a bit more experimental than we’d expected,” Blue says. “It definitely took a turn from the script. The different ways in which this story can be received among its viewers is what intrigues us.”