How To Save A Fish From Drowning

How To Save A Fish From Drowning


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The title of this short may be clever but it doesn’t really give you any indication of the subject matter, which is the death of small town America. Three men – Wiley, 74, Springy, 83 and the younger Shanny (who doesn’t reveal his age) – fish from their hut on a frozen lake. There seems to be no one else in existence apart from the trio, who talk about their life and changing times in their ever-shrinking town.

They say they rarely catch anything, it’s as if the fish, like the people have decided to move on from Columbus, Est 1906. Overlaying the men’s reminiscences are snippets of radio news detailing more farms being sold off or closures. This could be bleak and yet the men remain upbeat and resilient.

Copy picture

The film has a wistfulness, which draws you in. Director Kelly Neal uses the wide open, wind-swept spaces of the town to good effect, particularly in a sequence that lays a snowy landscape on top of images of the once-thriving main street.

Special mention to also go to Minttu Mäntyen, for her excellent work as director of photography. The landscape has been captured beautifully and Mäntyen (who has previously been involved with a string of excellent shorts including Milk, Snake Bite and The Toll) is definitely one to watch.

Reviewed on: 18 Aug 2007
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Documentary exploring the death of small town America. Showing as part of Bridging The Gap and the Short Scottish Documentary Awards at EIFF 2007.

Director: Kelly Neal

Year: 2007

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2007
Birds 2008

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