Paper Thin ★★★★★ HollyShorts Film Festival

Paper Thin ★★★★★ HollyShorts Film Festival

An excellent short film, Paper Thin, focuses on the feelings that run through you when you are losing a loved one. Running at a mere six minutes, Neil Dua and Thomas Archer have made a pitch-perfect and faultless film.

Director: Neil Dua

Cast: Thomas Archer, Jimi Hernandez


An intimate exchange between two unlikely strangers in a hospital lobby. One is experiencing a life crisis, while the other… is just trying to fix a vending machine.

When in a position of seeing a loved one like a parent either on the cusp of death or in such a horrible state of health, you can become numb and unaware. You will babble on to anyone about anything to stop the noise, not the noise in a room you are sitting in, but the noise in your head. You are running 100 different scenarios in your head at any one time, from the best to the worst, to the ramifications of everything in between. What that person will miss in the future, what you will miss about them not experiencing those moments. It all runs in your head during those quiet moments.

So, you talk, and you keep talking, usually to people who are only doing something for a minute. You know you are holding them up, but you can’t help it. You need to talk to someone to know someone is alert, listening, and cares, even if it is for just one second. This is where Neil Dua sets Paper Thin, and as someone who has gone through what Tim has, it is harrowingly on point. 

You are losing someone so close to you, someone, you think will be there until even you are getting that bit older. When that is swiped away from you, you doubt everything; Mortality raises its ugly head to push all the weight it possibly can on you. Nothing readies you for a loss of this magnitude, and we see that here in Thomas Archers’ devastating performance.

From top to bottom Paper Thin is a faultless film that highlights the talent of everyone on show, from Archers, performance and writing to Dua’s ability to know when to pull back from Tim. Even a shot hints at Jimi Hernandez’s repairman character stopping to listen to Tim. A simple inclusion, but an important one. While Tim may think he is talking to the void and that the gentleman isn’t caring, we know otherwise.

If you have recently lost someone or are about to, Paper Thin is an essential watch. Importantly showing that you are not alone in this, even when it feels like it. People are there; all you must do is talk. It may not click now on how important those moments are, but it will down the road. Regardless of your current situation, this is a film that I could not recommend enough. I can’t wait to see what they do next.


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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