blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Stay Still (2011, David James Kelly)

A scene from STAY STILL, directed by David James Kelly.

Stay Still has so many layers and so much texture, it’s hard not to appreciate it. Director Kelly opens the short with narration out of a fairy tale–knights and dragons–and introduces the viewer to two boys (Kyle McCaffrey and J. Michael Trautmann) listening to their mother fight with her boyfriend.

Trautmann, the older boy, intercedes and ends up running out to pick up drugs for the boyfriend to sell. McCaffrey inexplicably tags along and Kelly’s failing becomes clear. He clearly cast McCaffrey for his deep, sad, soulful eyes… and ignored his terrible acting. Trautmann’s great, however, and ably carries Still through its rough spots.

Kelly subtly works in racial angst along with implying the boys’ relationship with their mother (Krisztina Koltai), while never getting explicit in their circumstance. Koltai only has one big delivery but she’s great.

Still is exceedingly affecting, even if McCaffrey’s a terrible little actor.



Written, directed and edited by David James Kelly; director of photography, Topher Osborn; music by Christy Carew; produced by Kelly, Jessica McMunn and Alex O’Flinn.

Starring Kyle McCaffrey (Jake), J. Michael Trautmann (Dejan), Mousa Kraish (Jonathan), Krisztina Koltai (Danica), Danny Vasquez (Lucas), Chris Cheeks (Chris), Milo Stokes (Malcolm), Anna Roberts (Brittany) and Victoria Moroles (Kaela).


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