After more than a dozen festivals and a handful of awards, including Best Film at the 2019 Vaughan International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival, MADE PUBLIC was released to the public on June 24th and was featured on the acclaimed Short of the Week and Omeleto.
From Short of the Week:
In her short comedic film, Made Public, Foster Wilson pokes fun at our newly found desire for approval and self-provoked loss of privacy on social media. With a sharp screenplay, compelling performances and cinematography that’s an integral part of the storytelling, the film is not only funny and entertaining it also prompts a little self-reflection.
Made Public is a clever take on the exploration of the perils of making personal decisions and our need to share intimate details in a world dominated by a certain set of six reactions. Having worked as a wedding photographer, the core idea of the film appeared quite easily to Wilson and along with writer/editor Brian Leahy, they set out to explore the willingness of people to share their everyday life with the general public.
An immediate response to the premise of Made Public, might be to write it off as ridiculous and unreal, but in a near future, it might seem more plausible (feels like a reality TV show in the making!). Leahy, who is Wilson’s creative partner, penned a screenplay that hits where it needs to. The situation he created in itself is funny, even if it seems a little too big to be true. The characters and their dialogue sell the reality he has created and with one-line zingers for some characters and more complex dialogue for the two main characters, the film is not short on jokes.
Leahy also did a remarkable job in the editing room, delivering the right rhythm in comedy is paramount and he ensures the film moves along at an entertaining pace. Restricted by a limited budget in her previous projects, Wilson aimed for something more ambitious with this one, including two impressive one-shots. Capturing the scenes this way increased the authentic feel of the piece, making the audience feel like we are right there with the characters as the tension rises.
The film relies heavily on its two lead performances, Jeanine Mason (Roswell: New Mexico, Grey’s Anatomy) and Josh Zuckerman (Desperate Housewives), who have already played an on-screen couple in different projects. Zuckerman’s portrayal of the indecisive groom is extremely compelling, while Mason’s mix of annoyance and anger comes off as natural. The chemistry between the pair does shine though, which makes it easy to root for the couple and appreciate the light-heartedness of the comedy.
Director Foster Wilson, along with writer Brian Leahy, has created a sharply witty, caustic and engaging comedy about the strange, irresistible impulse to share intimate thoughts and private dilemmas with anyone but the person you need to talk to most. Here, the third party is the general public, enabled by social media, which allows strangers to weigh in on a very intimate, emotional question for the groom at an unprecedented scale, adding a resolutely modern twist to the age-old trope of a groom having cold feet just as he’s about to tie the knot for life.
The film’s strength rests on the foundation of its excellent writing, which blends smart, sharp-edged dialogue and well-observed social insights about how we conduct our lives in the era of constant sharing, likes and polls.
There are plenty of zingers and quips in the dialogue, but they’re given pace and shape by nimble, quicksilver directing, particularly in the kinetic camerawork, which adds cinematic flair and underscores the almost farcical nature of Dave’s situations.
The storytelling never really quite falls into farce, however, thanks to emotionally grounded performances by actors Jeanine Mason as Sydney and Josh Zuckerman as Dave. While both can deliver comedic moments with great timing and perfectly arch or deadpan delivery, they also play believable people having a believable emotional crisis. Mason nails Sydney’s fury, delving into how anger masks a clear sense of hurt, pain and sadness at the idea of Dave having doubts, while Zuckerman plays Dave’s doubts and fears with honesty.
Both are relatable characters, which makes the final movement of “Made Public” that much more engaging and even heartfelt. It’s a conversation that Dave and Sydney clearly needed to have before the wedding, and the fact that it’s happening just before the ceremony in front of a huge audience adds both stomach-churning anxiety and awkward comedy to its unraveling. But when they get through the other side, there is genuine vulnerability, honesty and intimacy, giving both Sydney and Dave a chance to love and care for one another — and a stronger foundation to build a loving, lasting marriage upon.