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‘Sam’ tells the story of a ten-year-old girl named Sam, played by Soleia Clark, who enjoys her life alongside her brother and other friends. When they are involved in playful activities, she feels a little bit awkward as she is a girl, and it seems like the boys are not taking her seriously all the time. Instead, she tries to connect with them, and whenever possible, she does everything they do. Moreover, when one of the kids dares her to jump into a lake, she stops for a second and then proves them wrong by jumping into the lake, making them feel gutless.

This short film tackles the gender roles from the beginning pointing out how difficult it is for a little girl to blend in when she does not feel like playing the role society imposed one way or another. For example, we all know situations, where boys prefer playing with dolls or girls would rather play with sports cars. For a while, this kind of behaviour was seen as odd by many parents, and through their perception, kids got to act the same, bullying the ones that were not acting like them. Right now, we are saying that harassment in any form starts from poorly understood behaviour that tends to be radicalized. Keeping proportions, this kind of attitude can be seen in ‘SAM’, and the best example is when Sam sits at the table trying to talk with the other girl, but we can all see that she wants to play with the boys.

Script-wise, there are very few films we’ve seen lately to tackle a subject so delicate yet so powerful. But, as it stands, if it were to be a short novel in this day and age, it would have been a hit for sure. There is a slow pace that nowadays is pretty appealing to people from all generations experiencing this matter of gender roles. There are many books out there, but not many of them go on such a wild ride to present the truth in an open manner as ‘Sam’ does.

Jen Stafford and Ryan Thielen’s short is a great case study of how people react in different situations, as the smallest gestures can lead to the most significant outcomes. This domino effect plays an essential role in determining our future, as change is mandatory in fulfilling a future world where no one feels unsafe in being themselves.

Written by Vlad A. G