by Faruq Oyekan
Election Day is smart, clever, and highly recommended short film by director Zach Wechter.
The short film is set in the hormone driven dog-eat-dog world that is modern day high school. In Election Day we follow two high school presidential running mates Michael Fabrizo and Leah Reitman. All is going right and the two are set to win the senior class presidency, until the scandal of a lifetime rears its ugly head at their campaign.
The vice presidential candidate is pregnant! But, not just by anyone, by her running mate Michael.
What happens next in Election Day is an interesting but somewhat softer foretelling of a political scandal. The film mirrors the creativity of a political thriller that you might see on House of Cards or maybe ABC’s Scandal.
The twist and turns are nail biting, and the film’s revelations are surprising.
Production-wise the film is technically great. The setting captures the look and feel of an actual high school, and the extras and characters would sit perfectly in the real life equivalent.
At times I found myself reminded of a teenage melodrama that would be appropriately aired on the CW or maybe ABC Family. Essentially the film captures the teenage show drama feel very accurately.
The acting is brilliant and the dialogue is sharp. If you love teenage characters talking like adults, but with teenage problems this film is for you.
If you don’t just watch this film for the ride, it will have you guessing at every turn and overanalyzing every clue.
INTERVIEW with Zach Wechter
First, how long have you been film making? What got you interested?
My friends and I made our own movies in elementary school. It started mostly with a lot of PG Jackass rip offs. A few things have changed since then…
How'd you come up with the story for this film?
It began with my interest in combining and refreshing classic movie genres. Setting a political thriller in a high school student government seemed like a natural fit.
Were there any difficulties during the production of this short?
Election Day was one of my undergraduate film school projects. Thankfully we got through it without too much trouble.
What was the casting process like?
My team and I held formal auditions, mostly with acting students at my school. I’d also taken a class with Lexi Sakowitz (who play Leah); I didn’t really know her at the time, but loved her work in the class and wrote the part for her praaaaaying she’d say yes.
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
Yes, each project I’ve worked on since Election Day has required a very different approach.
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
My writing partner and I recently completed our first feature script, and we’re just beginning the process of seeking to get it made. I’ve also lined up a couple shorts we're planning to shoot in the meantime.
Any advice to filmmakers?
The most important thing for me has been to keep my focus on continuing to produce my own work. No matter what it takes to stay afloat, don’t stop making your own projects if that’s what you want to do.