GraceLand, the home of Presley, and now a new short film, follows the life of a 10 year old girl who believes she is the reincarnation of Elvis.
I think this story is an absolutely brilliant idea. We grow up wanting to be princesses, or even superman as the dad in the film suggests, but why just be a rockstar when you can be the king himself. I've never seen anything like this film. Obviously I've seen films that look at similar topics, but this short approaches this idea in such a new and fun way, really leaving me smiling and singing.
Bright in colour and soul, Katie Beth West takes centre stage in playing mini Elvis and does the most incredible job. Whether this story is a metaphor for children growing up and changing through phases, understanding who they want to be in the world, or not, West does amazingly well to keep us hooked on her story. Through new hair and facial expressions, you can tell that Elvis was the homework for her and I have to give her an A+ for her work, it really is so much fun to see someone so young bring someone so important to life.
This cast really is stellar, having Monique Coleman play an understanding and supportive teacher so lovingly. Grace/Elvis's mum is played by Anna Camp, who I really love in this motherly role. She acts like I think most parents would in a situation like this, but nice to slightly contrast her with Daniel Eric Gold who plays the dad and a more understanding figure at first. They really work well to create a married couple, trying hard to love their daughter and her choices, or his. I think creating such well rounded characters can be difficult, but film writers Trevor Munson and Bonnie Discepolo really show how they can pull it all together.
Image by Alex Harris
This script really is brilliant, throwing in Elvis lingo yet keeping it fresh and not too over the top. I really loved the way the story played out, keeping us out of the loop on Grace's side, like the parents, but then slowly allowing us to see and choose for ourselves. Also directed by Discepolo, she says that "GraceLand is a fairytale, a guide to how I wish the world was". It can be so difficult to tell the world who you are, especially your parents, but even more so if that includes gender and sexuality. We live in a world that's so much more accepting than what it was, but not everyone is. I love how GraceLand tackles this in a comedic way, yet truthfully. It understands how parents can be confused or unsure, but how they can learn and love. It is a fairytale, but I hope that for the people who need it, it one day becomes a reality. And that they get a handmade glittery stage costume if they wish. I want one.
This really is one to watch. With a crew of amazing talent, all pulling together to make something memorable and so important. I really did enjoy this, and I'm excited for its future. As Elvis said, “You’ve got to follow that dream, wherever that dream may lead.” and I think this beautiful film is an amazing reminder that we do have to follow our dreams and live our lives. Things may not always work out our way, but staying true to ourselves is the most important thing.