Short Film Spotlight: The Ministry
The magic of short films comes from the fully lived-in world through a narrative shorter than a half hour television series. In a little over fifteen minutes, writer, director and lead actor Khyan Mansley is able to create a portrait of vivid emotions that take full advantage of the central character's perspective. His new short film, The Ministry, is a type of fantasy fulfillment as a self-described loser author, Henry, finds that his unpublished novel that he has tossed has found its way into becoming a sacred text for a cult that looks at Henry as their messiah. Mansley’s settings are populated with the drab colors of beige and white, fully utilizing the visual medium to communicate a feeling every creative person has encountered when their work appears to be under-appreciated. The only friend Henry has is a dog that is not even his. Thus when the film becomes a wish fulfillment fantasy that has come true, any undertone of danger is overlooked. The Ministry is a well-acted, good looking film that lets its subtle pleasure wash over the viewer. The dryness of some of the film's supporting characters, especially the literary agent, is very funny.
This film is indicative of a new type of filmmaking that is possible with the internet. The Ministry is part of New Form Digital, a production company founded by Discovery and the producing team of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Their model is to allow young filmmakers and YouTubers like the British born Khyan Mansley to make films like this that encourage distinct voices. It is important for production companies to blend the models of old and new because it increases the field of voices to have the opportunity to create material that is not seen as traditionally viable. Mansley is not the most popular YouTuber on the site, but it is obvious that he is a director with considerable talent and a distinct comedic voice. Most importantly, as with all great short films, he leaves the viewer wanting more.