Aug 7, 2019
Welcome to our third interview episode, where I’ll be reviewing the 2018 short “Echoes of You” and speaking with lead actor Laurence Fuller about his role and his upcoming projects. Laurence reached out to me on Twitter to help promote the short, and I was able to convince him to join me during his busy schedule for a quick interview.
All this means we’re having a bit of a format switch for today. Since “Echoes of You” is a freely available short film, at least for the time being, we’re going to link to the full film on social media. Instead of the usual trailer segments, we’re going to intersperse segments from our interview throughout the review.
If you want to hear the full interview, it will be available as a Patreon exclusive on Sunday, August 18th, 2019. We will be publishing weekly exclusive content going forward, which you can get by signing up with a monthly donation at patreon.com/onemoviepunch at any level. You’ll also be eligible to request one movie review from yours truly, as long as we haven’t reviewed it yet, with just a few exceptions. All support goes to pay our expenses and to help us grow with our audience.
Here’s just a taste of what you’ll be missing.
LAURENCE: “Yeah, I’m finishing up the fourth draft of a screenplay I’m working on called ‘Modern Art’, which is about my late father, the art critic Peter Fuller, which has been a fantastic journey for me to go on, to discover my father through making a film about him, and, kind of ties in with ‘Echoes of You’ in that way that I’m able to be moved by the mark that he left behind in his writing. That has been quite a fulfilling journey.”
And since we don’t have a trailer for “Echoes of You”, we’re going to begin first with the trailer audio for 2016’s “Road to the Well”, featuring Laurence Fuller as Frank, a man whose mundane life is upended when his old friend Jack visits, and they end up dealing with murder and its consequences. It’s currently playing on Amazon Prime.
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Here we go!
<< ROAD TO THE WELL TRAILER >>
Today’s movie is “Echoes Of You”, the uplifting short drama written and directed by Henry Quilici. The film follows the life of Andrew (Laurence Fuller), an aspiring classical pianist who works cleaning a theater while auditioning for roles to pursue his dream. While working, he meets a young homeless boy named Christopher (Zakary Risinger), and the two form a bond over a shared love of music.
When I was back in high school, before the days of the Internet, and too far away from any metropolitan area to visit on a regular basis, I had to rely on the local record stores and a number of mail order catalogs and programs to find new music. Shout out to all my BMG and Columbia House patrons. My favorite catalog, however, was a new age catalog that had a plethora of books and music, and it was from that catalog that I purchased my first Windham Hill record, “December”, a solo piano recording by George Winston. It was the first of many solo piano albums I would purchase on physical media, and it’s something I look for when streaming the latest classical, folk, and Americana releases. One of the lasting legacies of Windham Hill records was its re-introduction of instrumental music to folks looking for something quieter. Something that you could feel on your terms, instead of having it assault your eardrums in discos and concerts and festivals. Softer music that says a lot with very little, which is also a perfect description of today’s film.
“Echoes of You” is the first short we’ve ever reviewed, clocking in around eighteen minutes. Short films, like most films, are made to tell a story. The Academy considers any film under forty minutes as a short, which puts today’s film right about in the middle of a huge range of stories that can be told. Writers and directors have to maximize the time they’re given, and they need to tell a story that fits. Henry Quilici manages to do just this with “Echoes of You”.
LAURENCE: “He really nailed it. He really nailed that concept of the spiritual in art, and how the arts can be a compassionate, humanitarian thing. We treat it as a gift to someone else. And do I think I found it? Yeah. The experience of making this short was very emotional. It was an emotional part, and so it did require me to go into some vulnerable places within myself.”
I normally don’t see many short films unless they’ve been collected together, or they appear before a feature-length film. Anthology pictures, short movie festivals, and those wonderful Oscar short collections. However, bundling shorts with other films can do a disservice to the kind of storytelling you can achieve with the short film. Soft spoken shorts like “Echoes of You” get drowned out by the louder shorts, rarely offering opportunities to reflect on each film. Many short films today are either really just a single scene or rapidly decay into a continuous montage. Quilici, in developing this story, had a clear beginning, middle, and ending in mind, and ties everything together very well from start to finish.
“Echoes of You” begins by introducing us to Andrew, his dreams and his routines, giving us just enough to get us started. Wasting no time, the film quickly expands its cast, bringing in Christopher, a homeless young boy, who plays with an electronic keyboard thrown into the trash. The film focuses on building their relationship, which could only happen as well as it did by developing a good working relationship between each other.
LAURENCE: “I’d never worked with a child before, so I guess I was... I guess I was a bit nervous before meeting him. But then, of course, I met him. He definitely has that Spielbergian quality to his youth. He was totally professional and listened to Henry. I just took Henry’s lead on that, actually, I kind of watching how Henry was directing him and more so tried to insert myself into the relationship between him and Henry.”
While “Echoes of You” is about their relationship, it’s also built off the composition they share, written by Henry’s brother Max Quilici. The music works as both backdrop, though a particularly moving montage, and the means by which they strengthen their relationship to each other. The composition permeates the film, its initial melody echoing through the short as the perfect thematic complement to the story, simultaneously uplifting and reflective. Very reminiscent of Windham Hill, with perhaps a hint of Gershwin. It’s a beautiful piece, full of emotion.
Fuller also made the commitment to learn how to play part of the composition for the role.
LAURENCE: “I only had a couple weeks, maybe it was sixteen days, before we were shooting from the time I was offered the role. So, there was no way I was going to learn that song, but I was able to learn, like, the first thirty seconds or so, because it’s quite a simple, yet effective intro to that song on the piano. And so, I didn’t want to do injustice to that, where you could just see, like, the top half of me moving around, then cut down to someone else’s hands. So when you see me play the piano, I’m playing the piano.”
Fuller does pretty well for someone who didn’t know how to play the piano, especially given the short lead time. As a die-hard solo piano fan, I’ve seen the real deal, sometimes full of emotion, sometimes methodical. As such, I suffer from perhaps knowing too much about the art, even if I can’t play myself. Fuller makes it work for his scenes, channeling the passion, but not always the authenticity of the professional pianist. No one could do that in sixteen days, not to the level of someone auditioning for symphonies as Andrew does throughout the film.
And yet, Fuller pours himself so completely into the rest of the performance, humanizing the role in subtle, non-verbal ways which suggest so much more to the story than is actually there. Quilici gives us enough to follow the story, but also adds details that suggest a lot more, one of my criticisms of this short. I feel like there’s so much more potential in Andrew’s character, and I know there’s so much more story to tell about Christopher’s character. Inadvertently, I feel Quilici accidentally gave us too much story for a short, perhaps a necessary consequence for the film’s moving epilogue. It makes this short a great candidate for a longer feature, but Fuller didn’t see much hope for that.
LAURENCE: “My understanding is Henry wanted to keep this as a short. I know Henry has a number of other projects that I’m excited to see more about, but not ‘Echoes of You’, that’s going to stay the short.”
“Echoes Of You” is an uplifting look at the role of art in society, as told through the eyes of one aspiring pianist and the relationship he develops with a young boy. Fuller and Risinger are very effective on screen, and Quilici delivers a complete story arc, with perhaps too much left unsaid. Fans of aspirational and heartwarming stories are sure to engage with this film.
Rotten Tomatoes: NR
One Movie Punch: 7.2/10
“Echoes Of You” (2018) is not rated and is currently playing at www.laurencefuller.art/echoesofyou. A huge thanks to Laurence Fuller for taking the time to sit and talk about “Echoes of You”. The full interview will be available on Sunday, August 18thas a Patreon exclusive, where we talk more about “Echoes of You” and his many other projects. Don’t miss “Echoes of You” while it’s still freely available! We’ll be linking on social media and in the show notes.
See you next time!