About the Film
Written and Directed By – Jaran Huggins
Produced By – Kayla Casey
Starring – Ty Norwood, Leilani Rosine
The stylized short period drama SHEET MUSIC, written and directed by Jaran Huggins is set in the segregated 1930’s where two musicians are about to perform together for the first time at a world-famous jazz club. The twist comes when one of the musicians forgets their sheet music and is forced to decide whether to “play their part” in front of the white folk in the audience or go with their heart and play the music that speaks to them.
There are some small things in this film that make all the difference. The posters on the walls, the lighting, everything that immerses you in the time period of the 30s works in favor of this short.
The cinematography is consistent, if a bit static, and the incidental music in the background sells the “backstage” elements of the movie. Maybe it was the version of the screener that I watched, or maybe it was the effect of watching it on my laptop, but the audio felt uneven at times, and seemed like there might have been some heavy ADR done in post-production. But I’m not entirely convinced it just wasn’t the circumstances in which I was watching the movie, so I’m not prepared to ding it too bad for those things. The film being the director’s BFA thesis film might explain away a few inconsistencies or issues as well, as you can’t blame too much on folks who are still honing their craft.
That all said, SHEET MUSIC is more than competent, and the lead actors are entirely convincing in their roles. The chemistry between them, especially during one scene in particular is intimate and endearing.
The pacing is a little slow, but I enjoyed the build-up of the plot and enjoyed watching the characters go through the motions.
The real treat of this film comes during the end credit sequence, where we are gifted with a performance from the musicians that is emotional and powerful as anything else in the movie.