Duality Derby

By Mark Richard Miller and Dave Franzese | Comedy
A racing legend and his greatest rival face off in an epic demolition derby.

Victor Elaine is a local racing legend whose legacy is challenged by his greatest rival. Hoping to settle the score once and for all, the pair decide to square off in an epic demolition derby.

But in the sweltering days leading up to the big event, each driver faces up to their opposing views on life and racing. In doing so, they begin to come to terms with how they’ve shaped one another, and reach a new level of self-acceptance.

Written and directed by Mark Richard Miller and Dave Franzese (who also stars in the film) this short film’s visuals feature bright, punchy colors and a studied eye for composition and quirky minutiae that would please any Wes Anderson fan. But underneath the playfulness in both images and narrative is a philosophical meditation on accepting the positive and negative aspects of who we are.

The storytelling follows a mockumentary format, fitting for a character study of two opposites. What drives the narrative forward isn’t plot, but character, and particularly how two people propel and influence each other through competition and comparison. Victor Elaine is a feel-good hometown hero, espousing gratitude and a positive mental attitude as he hits the track. But his rival holds the opposite mindset: he’s angry, vindictive and self-destructive. Those negative emotions fuel his racing, and his rivalry with his uber-positive enemy.

Most mockumentaries lean into satire, and while the film certainly has its fun in setting up the rivalry and building a world of racing, it has a welcome sincerity, particularly in terms of writing and performance. As Victor and his rival, Franzese plays both with an understated, almost mellow thoughtfulness. As Victor, he’s sweet and earnest, but as the rival, he’s sarcastic and cynical. But both have a preoccupation with the other, often judging and evaluating, which both keep them distanced. But their showdown will force them to face one another directly, with surprisingly existential results.

Loose, amiable and surprisingly sweet, “Duality Derby” is a lighthearted but earnest exploration of wholeness, and the difficulty of integrating our light and dark sides. Or, to put it into more archetypal terms, our light and our shadow. Naturally, everything ends in a demolition derby where the two rivals — and their respective journeys of self-discovery — literally collide, inflicting dents and wrecks upon one another. And in the rubble of destruction, they come to a certain understanding, acceptance and even friendship. They learn to appreciate the other’s qualities — and find and appreciate those qualities in themselves.

You Might Also Like:


By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.


By Marianne Farley | Drama
A woman goes to an illegal abortion clinic, following the adoption of an anti-abortion law.

A La Cara

By Javier Marco | Drama
A famous reporter confronts a man for insulting her on Twitter.


By David Bartlett | Drama
A young Roma girl is discovered by Nazis as they cleanse the streets of 'undesirables'.


By Mark Rosenblatt | Drama
A little girl thinks she sees a family cleaner steal a precious ornament. Then it escalates.


By Scott Aharoni and Dennis Latos | Drama
A father keeps a painful secret from his daughter during COVID -- but risks losing her.

Free Fall

By Emmanuel Tenenbaum | Drama
A young trader jumps into the biggest trade of his life amid the September 11 attacks.


By Ben Tricklebank | Drama
A 14-year-old is expected to be a man. But he doesn't want to grow up that way.

The Recordist

By Indianna Bell and Josiah Allen | Drama
A young actress has an affair with the director. The sound recordist blackmails her.


By Miles Warren | Drama
A young boy explores his manhood after his father fights at a bowling alley.


By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.


By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening. That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.