Tackling the subject of bullying, a young girl tries to make it onto a soccer team by attempting to score a penalty in the short film One Chance.
Bullying has affected us all at some point in our lives. In every country, in every small town or big city, we have all either been bullied, been the bully or witnessed it in some form or another. It is certainly a topic that needs dealing with. Being bullied can be a stressful time and, at it’s most extreme, it has also been the catalyst for suicides and school shootings. With One Chance, directors James Hyams and Jeremy Rigby take a look at unwarranted and unwanted behaviour amongst a group of young children in Australia.
Using rusty half-sized goalposts in an auto scrapyard, Isaac (Harrison Wilkes) dreams of playing soccer for the Australian national team. Screaming Tim Cahill’s name after scoring a goal and celebrating by punching some imaginary corner flags, he is using his imagination like many pre-teen boys from around the world. Cheered on by two girls Chloe (Isabella De Carlo) and Charlotte (Kirar Mercy), the practice is interrupted by the arrival of another young girl called Mia (Chloe Sienna De Carlo).
Mia, wearing an Argentina football top, wants to play soccer too, but she is met with a tirade of insults courtesy of the foul-mouthed Chloe. The name-calling comes in thick and fast, and you can’t help but feel sorry for the young victim, especially as she has done no wrong and just wants to play the sport she obviously loves.
Seeing that Mia is becoming dejected and desperate for some time on the pitch, Isaac makes a deal with the young girl, if she scores a free kick, she can join his team. Obviously, Chloe is not happy with the offer and taunts Mia some more, but Chloe ignores her bully and attempts the shot.
Coming in at just over six minutes long, One Chance is a short and sweet snapshot into life as a child and how to overcome bullying. The performances of the children are all strong; Isabella De Carlo portrays the bully so well that, as an audience member, you can’t help but want to dish some punishment on her, she spits out barbs with venom and does incredibly well with such a nasty character. Chloe Sienna De Carlo is also strong as young Mia.
The choice of location for the short is different, but it works. A scrapyard with a goalpost in its centre. The first thing that came to mind was that these four children don’t come from families with money and are having to make do with what is accessible to them. Them dreaming of playing soccer on the world stage whilst surrounded by the shells of broken down cars is more effective than, say, the kids playing on a soccer pitch or in a park. Maybe, the two directors are saying bullying can come from all classes, even between those who have little.
One Chance has an important message and it’s shown in a professional manner by two up-and-coming filmmakers. It should do well on the festival circuit but I feel it could also find its way into classrooms around the world, and shown to students. Bullying is wrong.