The Columbia Gorge International Film Festival (Formerly known as The Washougal International Film Festival)

One Hell of a Story

Winning the award for Local Student Film at the Columbia Gorge International Film Festival in 2012, One Hell of a Story is about a boy who makes a deal with the Devil. This quality short produced by a high school senior makes good use of time to invest and intrigue the audience in the plot. “The story of a tortured soul who must either be a tool or fight for his life,” as Nick Shaw explains it.

Gavin spends his days running errands for Satan. When Gavin was eight years old, he wanted a toy car so badly that he was willing to make a deal with Satan, costing him both his life and his soul. So now, its 10 years later. Gavin is stuck in this rut, waking up at exactly 8:00 to start his day as Satan’s delivery boy. Every few hours, he receives a text giving him instructions, mostly concerning grocery shopping. But this trend has consumed all of his time, not allowing him to keep friends or make any new ones. And when his childhood love finally reaches out and another errand run causes him to stand her up, Gavin knows something has to change.

Shorts can be particularly impressive films as they have significantly less time than a full feature film to build a character and get the audience to invest in him. But the kicked puppy feel that Gavin emits is so relatable. Most audience members have felt kicked down by something or one they had to endure, making the moment that Gavin decides to stand up to the devil even more of a climax. Living through Gavin, the audience is held in suspense, waiting to see what happens. And the conclusion artfully articulates that maybe, just maybe, confronting the devil the audience is afraid to stand up to wouldn’t turn out quite as bad as they think.

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Nick Shaw, the filmmaker of this delightful short, began making films in high school. These films have won an assortment of awards at various film festivals. For his short “The Muffin Man”, he won the regional North West Emmy. After his graduation from high school, he attended George Fox University as he pursues filmmaking. In this particular short, One Hell of a Story, Nick Shaw uses drawings as the medium for flashbacks dating 10 years before the setting. These pencil drawings utilize color on the significant elements, leaving the rest of the scene in shades of gray.

One Hell of a Story stars Alex Gavlick as Gavin. This actor also plays in Portlandia, a TV comedy in its third season. Alyson Pettet plays Gavin’s childhood love, Cadence. And Damien is played by Seth Cooper. The crew is a three man crew of Nick Shaw, Issac Chamberlain, and Garrett Farness. Through combined effort over 100 hours, these three men with their small cast produced this award winning short, One Hell of a Story.

While this film won the Best Local Student Film, Nick Shaw, although still proud of his high school senior work, has come a long way as a director and filmmaker. While focusing on structure for his future stories, it can be anticipated that more excellence will come from this budding filmmaker.

One Hell of a Story can be viewed in its 12 minute entirety on Vimeo and Youtube.

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