Sometimes, getting your message across requires just a little courage.The short film ‘Hungry,’ directed by Jillie and Thomas Simon, follows an elementary school teacher, Allison Lenare, who cares deeply for her students. Despite her compassion, she has a fear of public speaking, which is, ironically, something she encourages her students to overcome. However, it is she who must face this fear when she learns from two of her students that they are being refused free school lunches because of budget cuts, due to an act passed by Congressman Thicke (Eric Roberts). With determination and little pocket money, Allison will have to pluck up the courage to confront the congressman and keep her children from going hungry.
I came across this short film during the Big Apple Film Festival in 2016, and it has been continuing to appear on the film festival circuit. I found the film charming in the way it depicts its story. The film is not perfect, but its flaws are mostly technical. The opening credits, for example, could have been more visually appealing, and the sound balance is uneven in certain areas. However, if you are able to look past these flaws, you’ll find that the film tells a noble story and does so with courage–just like its heroine.
Most of the film’s charm comes from the performance of the actors, particularly Jillie Simon, who also wrote the film’s script, amongst her other contributions. As portrayed by Simon, Allison is someone that anyone would want to have as their elementary school teacher. Eric Roberts, as Congressman Thicke, shows that he has not lost an ounce of the charisma that made him a major Hollywood player in the first place.
‘Hungry’ is an ambitious short film about a person who, despite her obstacles, will do anything to fight for the rights of her students. Despite the film’s small budget and technical issues, Simon tells her story with compassion and sincerity, and that makes it worth a recommendation. Hungry will have its next screening at the Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE) in in Bellmore, Long Island. If you are around Long Island, be sure to check it out! I bet you will be hungry for more from Jillie Simon!