B A L L O O N A Short Film by Jeremy Merrifield
A modern fairytale exploring gender through the lens of the superhero myth, BALLOON questions how we raise boys when our concept of masculinity is toxic. For fourteen-year-old Sam (Jonah Beres, Hulu’s “PEN15”), surviving junior high means staying below radar. But that becomes impossible after he becomes the target of the school’s next viral video. He’s pressured to “hit back,” but Sam isn’t so sure-even if he does have super powers.
Rhode Island International Film Festival
August 9th at 4:05 PM (Johnson & Wales University, 261 Pine St, Providence, RI)
Hollyshorts Film Festival
August 15th at 7:30 PM (TCL Chinese 6 Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA)
September 10th at 3:00 PM (Velour Live Music Gallery, 135 N University Ave, Provo, UT)
Running Time: 17 Minutes Country: USA Language: English
In 2018, there were 94 incidents of guns at schools, 23 of which resulted in deaths or injury. 113 people killed or injured. What do all these incidents have in common? Guns, to be sure-but also, boys. Its boys pulling the trigger, not girls.
Our boys are in crisis. The age-old model of manhood is disappearing. But nothing is emerging in its place, leaving a void of purpose. From the moment they’re born, our boys are trapped by an outdated construct of masculinity. And, what’s worse, they don’t know how to communicate that they’re trapped because the language they would use has been classified as off limits because its too “girly” or “gay.”
I made BALLOON for my nephew – who at twelve I see already trying to reconcile who he is with what our culture expects of the masculine. I made it for my brothers whom I watched growing up, constrained by the same prison I found myself in. But it’s also for me – for the boy I was who felt so isolated, unwelcome, and unloved. With BALLOON I give my nephew the superpowers he always wanted, and hopefully hint at the kind of hero I hope he still can become.