A late entry for Valentine’s Day, Nicholas Humphries’s “The One That Got Away” tackles unrequited love and nostalgia in some fresh and unexpected ways. Much of the reason this film works is due to Shane Kolmansberger’s portrayal of the puppy dog romantic protagonist who is searching for someone who will last more than a night. Without this simple, relatable, romantic desire, we might not otherwise stay with what becomes a challenging protagonist.
Humphries’s films are intent on feeling, but not in subtle ways. Linda Williams in her essay “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, Excess” calls these bodily or “gross” genres as they are concerned with excess physical experiences. What becomes particularly fascinating in “The One That Got Away” and Humphries’s other works is how he brings about collisions, jamming together genres and physical experiences.
To avoid spoiling your experience of the film, watch it first and then read the interview with Humphries below.
RWG: What inspired the idea for the short?
NH: My own relationships (or at least the search for them).
RWG: For you, what is the work about?
NH: For me it’s about how lonely being different can feel but how that makes it so special when you finally find someone that gets you.
RWG: How did the film do? How did audiences respond?
NH: When it screened at a film festival in Hollywood there was a woman shouting at the girls on screen. Things like, “Don’t go with him! Don’t do it!” To the audience it was distracting but her enthusiasm was the greatest gift. It also won a Tabloid Witch. They called it “Woody Allen with a touch of Norman Bates.” For my first short as a writer / director, it was a huge honor.
RWG: Several of your shorts are dark romances? Do you see a through line in your work?
NH: Horror and romance I think are just the two things that make me feel the most when I’m watching a movie so I guess they pop up in my work a lot. They also both create exciting emotions we don’t get to feel every day.
RWG: Do you think the horror and romance genres have things in common?
NH: I think they both evoke addictive emotions. Also, desire is kind of a horrible thing to feel. The very nature of desire requires there be an obstacle in the way of getting what you need. It’s painful to have to sustain long term.
RWG: What are you working on now?
NH: I’m currently in post-production on my first feature. It’s about a couple that head to a cabin in the woods with their pals for a party before they get married. Only one in the group survives. Horror and romance again, I guess. You can find out more at deathdouspartmovie.com
RWG: How do you feel about the film now?
NH: I’ve gone on to direct some larger things but as this was my first (and such a personal story) I think it will always hold a weird and special place in my heart.
— R. W. Gray