How Do You Measure a Year ★★★★ 1/2 HollyShorts Film Festival

How Do You Measure a Year ★★★★ 1/2 HollyShorts Film Festival

How do you measure a year? is fabulous, a brilliant love letter to the relationship between a father and daughter—a beautiful look at the experience of growing up.

Director: Jay Rosenblatt

Cast: Ella Rosenblatt


From the time she was two years old, and until she turned 18, they had a ritual: Dad asked (and filmed), and Ella answered.

What do you dream about?, what do you think about our relationship?, what do you want to do when you grow up?, what are you most afraid of? and even are you happy? Simple questions that you forget hold strong importance to a young person are asked in How Do You Measure a Year? For example, how do you measure a year? It surprises you with how emotional it is or more how emotional it makes you. Multiple thoughts fly through your mind as you watch Ella grow up and communicate her most authentic thoughts to her dad.

Jay Rosenblatt has created a premise that everyone who watches will copy for years to come. It is such a simple but brilliant idea that you will do the same for yourself and your own future child. The beauty in what he and his daughter Ella have done here is that as a parent, you will simply be too curious to see what your child will say and do when presented with the same or similar questions.

You can’t help but reminisce when watching How Do You Measure a Year?, you automatically think back to your own thoughts when you were the age Ella was and try to remember what was happening in your life at the time. Ella’s evolution into a mature person is also fascinating to see throughout the documentary. Ella’s younger years are full of innocence and abstract randomness; sprawled on that sofa that we see for so many years divulging anything that comes into her head is just so freeing. Really it is something that you wish you could bottle and keep when needed now that we are in adulthood.

That freedom is so refreshing to watch; however, we know it will never last long. So, as she grows up and we see the girl who was once laid out in a fleshy tangle of limbs begin to straighten, and her knees begin to pull up, and a defensive tone emerges, a sense of sadness comes to the screen. That excitable young girl is gone, and a maturing young woman is growing before us. Those awkward years are always hard, and you almost consider it a miracle that Rosenblatt was able to get her to continue with the documentary.

For example, one of those questions mentioned at the top, What are you afraid of? Changes from the typical monsters to social fears, not fitting in and being bullied. It is devastating to see it happen, even though we know it will come to her head. However, we have to be thankful that Ella is willing to tell her father and the camera these thoughts. Her honesty is so unexpected; you would think that the simple answers would get shared, not these elegant and engrossing thoughts that are poured out. You forget that teenagers are effectively powerless in so many ways. They are told what to do when to do it etc. They have little control, so they have to try and create their own ways to have that power, and we see that clearly with Ella.

In the end, How Do You Measure a Year? is a fascinating and intimate coming-of-age story. You are invested in the evolution of a person who has already gone through all of this and becomes something not just about a child growing up but also of a parent evolving with his child. As the documentary goes on, Ella isn’t the only person to change; Jay does too, and he has to.

He isn’t dealing with that free child who loves to sing away anymore. Instead, he has to adapt to how she is growing up, understand what she is telling him, and decide how he acts upon that from now on. As said, this is a fascinating film, and you can’t help but feel a range of emotions when watching it. Make sure you find the time to watch How Do You Measure A Year?; it is so worth it.

★★★★ 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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