REVIEW: 'Felices Para Siempre' (2021), a short film by Anabel Estrella
Updated: Jul 1
Chloe is leaving and needs money before she loses her ride. Diego, her best friend, wants to help her. So the two of them kidnap someone they are sure can give them what they want. The thing is, as humans, we make a lot of mistakes…
I'm gonna be honest. I've never tried a style as such. I did have some stuff written, but never thought of bringing it up to the screen that soon. It was a complex story to write. I'm extremely demanding when it comes to creating something, and I had certain limitations for 'Felices Para Siempre' (Happily Ever After). I knew I wanted to mix genres and move away from what I was used to doing. I wanted comedy. I wanted drama. And I wanted a strong theme. I don't know if those three could be seen - but I have to say I am happy with the result.
Several people have asked about references or inspiration when planning the script and the directing. I take from a lot of things, as: Shameless USA, Parasite, Two Distant Strangers, Pulp Fiction, We're the Millers... and even books: Outliers (M. Gladwell), The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (M. Manson), and music: Happiness Begins (J. Brothers) and Gemini (Macklemore).
My goal with this short? Just a reminder of what's truly important in life, what does actually matter to be Happily Ever After.
- Anabel Estrella (writer/director)
Outside the Spotlight says: Felices Para Siempre (English: Happily Ever After) is a wonderfully quirky short comedy with undertones of something more serious or even sinister. Director Anabel Estrella certainly has something to say with this and leaves that message open to some interpretation and while there is an air of mystery, especially early on, it ultimately isn't all that hidden. However, in the interest of you watching the film with a clear and open mind, said message will not be alluded to much during the course of this discussion. It is certainly an important one and although it may not be a particularly obscure subject, it's always nice to see it presented in effective ways.
The cast, made up of just 3 members portray characters that are neither particularly likeable nor particularly unlikeable, with the exception of Diego (Manuel Fontal), the apprehensive assistant to Cloe’s plan who provides some welcome comedy. Sandra Jiménez as Cloe presents us with somebody desperate and somebody who has a clear motive in both her reasoning for wanting the money and who she's taking it from. It's easy for hostage films such as this to be ambiguous but Estrella presents those motives immediately, saving us the distraction of a reveal. The “victim”, in this case in the shape of Micaela Brusa, whose unnamed character is confident and street-smart, causing the viewer to question who’s really in control of the situation.
The script reads like real-world conversation and is of course helped by the exceptional performances of the 3 cast members whom all seem undoubtedly natural. Felices Para Siempre is a seemless blend of genres and plays out like part of a daytime TV sitcom with a bubbly presentation and colourful cinematography which presents a rather nice contrast to its undertones.
The recently 20-year-old Anabel Estrella has already proven herself capable of crafting well-written shorts that pack serious substance in a light-hearted package. With all that in under ten minutes, it's highly intriguing to think what she could do with a longer runtime and a bigger budget.
- About the director -
I can’t stop writing, crafting stories, and feeling passionate about this whole thing of filmmaking and storytelling. But, of course, I’d love for these stories to reach out, and the same way others inspired me, do the same with my work.
I’m just starting, I know that. That’s why I can’t give you a very well defined description of my “life in 5, 10 years”. Or what genres define my style, or hell – what’s even my style. I’ve been asked this a couple of times. I mean, I just turned 20. It makes no sense to answer this question right now. I’m discovering all this. Trying, failing and succeeding.
<For more on Anabel Estrella>
Watch Felices Para Siempre below
Director of Photography: Antonio García @vid.e0.drom3
Production Manager: Javier Gutiérrez @movilesalvater
Production Assistant: Beatriz Estrella @bea.estrellaa
Original Music: Filipe Silva @filipe.silva.piano
Editor: Anabel Estrella @anabelestrella7
Color Grading: Jesús del Real @sotiras_fx
Makeup and Hair Stylist: Virginia Casther @virginia_casther
Script Supervisor: Sara Garrido @sara_garrido99
Assistant Director: Pedro Otero @pedro_otero_fernandez
Camera Assistant: Oihane Oyarzabal @oiarra
2cond Camera Assistant: Marina Mariño @marinamar37
Sound Design: Rocío Álvarez @justimprovisation
Electric Department: David Tasintuña @davebled
Graphic Design: Jesús del Real @sotiras_fx
Poster Design: Daniela Gil @daniiela.gil
Set Photographer: David Tasintuña @davebled
Wrtier and director: Anabel Estrella @anabelestrella7
Sandra Jiménez @sandrajimenezgarrido
Manuel Fontal @manufontal
Micela Brusa @mica.mb
In collaboration with Illusion ALF