Gone Fishing (Chris Jones, 2008): UK

Reviewed by William Conlin. Viewed at The Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Most shorts tackle very powerful subject matter and often fall flat, but I found Chris Jones’ Gone Fishing to be a breath of fresh air in an altogether bland collection of shorts this year.

Gone Fishing is the touching tale of a boy and an old man dealing with bereavement through their mutual love of fishing. While attending a funeral, the old man tells the young boy about how, as a young man, he caught the largest pike in the world.

This was my favorite film of the 2009 Santa Barbara Film Festival. It starts simple and hits you so hard with its ending that you can’t help but cry. In fact, the whole audience was in tears when this movie ended.

As stated in my above interview with Chris Jones, the production of this film is almost as interesting as the story itself. Jones raised the $40,000 to make the film by asking every person he ever met for 50 pounds. His credits feature over 175 Associate Producers. In order to keep all those people involved with the production up to date, Jones keeps a blog about his travels with the film.

Gone Fishing will continue to tour the film festival circuit this year, so if you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. It is a beautifully crafted short that, even though it’s only 13 minutes in length, I enjoyed more than most features in this festival.

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