I didn’t get to watch many of the Short films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. To be honest, I think the average movie fan (myself included) doesn’t really have much of an appreciation for short films. Chances are, our lack of interest and/or knowledge on the subject of these mini-movies comes from the fact that we rarely ever see them anywhere. The only time I ever hear anything about them is when watching the Academy Awards. So after having the opportunity to talk to short-filmmakers Wyatt Garfield and Ed Yonaitis, I decided to check out their Short Narrative Drama, The Execution of Solomon Harris.
The film, which runs for 8 minutes and 11 seconds, centers on an electric chair execution that goes terribly wrong. When the guard throws the switch, the power blows leaving the prisoner alive and screaming in agony. The warden then has to decide how to deal with the situation. The film manages to build up some momentum, despite the fact that it’s less than ten minutes long.
There were two things about the film that I wanted to know. The first was whether or not the filmmakers were trying to send a message about the death penalty. Ed Yonaitis responded by saying, “We try to avoid a political stance on the death penalty.”. Fellow director Wyatt Garfield agreed with that adding that they weren’t trying to push a political agenda with the film.
My other question was whether or not the film was in any way inspired by a similar scene in the film, The Green Mile. Neither of the directors seemed surprised by this question. Wyatt responded by saying, “We referenced The Green Mile and a few other films about capital punishment. It was good to watch The Green Mile because that was exactly what we did not want to do when it came to how we treat the subject.” He also said, “The Green Mile, I think is outrageously graphic and I don’t think that has anything to do with the issue at hand.”
According to the website for the film, The Execution of Solomon Harris should be available on iTunes, xbox and Zune. I haven’t checked xbox or Zune but I wasn’t able to find it on iTunes as of yet. There are quite a few other short films from Sundance available for purchase and download in iTunes though so perhaps this one will be added later.
Update: I was recently informed that Apple is releasing the Sundance short films in waves, which is why their current selection is rather limited. Keep an eye out for The Execution of Solomon Harris, which will hopefully be made available to download on iTunes sometime soon.
Latest Update: The video is now available for download on iTunes.