Elevate ★★★ 1/2 HollyShorts Film Festival

Elevate ★★★ 1/2 HollyShorts Film Festival

A sombre and considerate piece that showcases the importance of compassion and the human touch, Elevate is a striking short that works on you emotionally, accumulating in a powerful ending.

Director: Dylan Boom Cast: Tracie Thoms, Jason Butler Harner, Rickey Eugene Brown, Gwyn LaRee 

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15699084

Tiffany (Tracie Thoms) works the graveyard shift as a security guard at a government building. Over the course of one work night, she finds herself facing unspoken realities after a chance encounter.

Tiffany and Paul’s entire interaction is fascinating, you sense that something is up with him, and not only that, but you sense that Tiffany feels it also. Her job is to be observant, and whether subconsciously or not, she makes sure to make her presence felt during the time they are together. This tension rises to the point that when the two bid each other farewell for the night, we feel something is off. Paul pauses as if he wants to say or do something, and it eats at you as to what he was going to tell her.

Both Thoms and Butler Harner do great work as the unlikely duo in Elevate, with Thoms switching from the happy soul that we see at the beginning with her colleague to the serious and concerned person later on once she meets Paul. That quickly turns to compassion; she can see how Paul is in some form of anguish and is wise enough to be someone for him to relax with, to ease whatever has been going on. It is strong work here from the actor. 

Paul, played by Butler Harner, is equally suspicious at first and is on top form here. Although a lot of his and Thoms’s work in Elevate is physical, his awkwardness and almost unwillingness to open himself up to Tiffany has us suspicious of him immediately. Is Paul who he really says he is, or is he trying to take advantage, considering he is in a government building? Butler Harner plays it straight down the middle in that regard, yet on repeat viewings, the more you watch his performance, the more obvious his intent is from the outset.

Which makes the final revelation all the harder to swallow as an audience in Elevate. Like Tiffany, we are stunned for a second, but can we say that we are all that surprised? Elevate leaves you contemplative about the importance of a conversation, an interaction. Even if it meant nothing to you and was just part of your job or your day, it could be meaningful to someone else. 

★★★ 1/2

The annual Academy Awards® Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival will celebrate its 18th year August 11-20, 2022. HollyShorts (HSFF) brings together top creators, industry leaders, and companies and has launched many filmmakers into the next stages of their careers. HollyShorts, a regular on the MovieMaker Magazine Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee list, also engages its community and spotlights short films year-round through monthly screenings, panels, and networking events. 

The most recent edition of HollyShorts had six selections nominated for Academy Awards this year with two wins for Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye and Ben Proudfoot’s Queen of Basketball.

HollyShorts Film Festival will take place in-person at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, and stream via Bitpix TV,  with the annual Awards Gala set to take place on August 20, 2022. 

For tickets to the festival please click here.

For more of our reviews of the festival, please check out below:


North Star


Act of God





How Do You Measure a Year?




Love, Dad

Paper Thin

Kickstart My Heart

Return to Sender

Skin & Bone


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