When the wealthy patriarch of a family dies, they discover an unusual request in his will…for his body to be stuffed and kept on display in their home

“Father Figurine” is a dark comedy about a wealthy family who finds out after their patriarch dies that he has left an unusual request in his will… For his body to be stuffed and kept on display in their house. And if they don’t agree to those conditions, then they get nothing. So, they’re forced to live with the stuffed corpse of their father who was never around previously. The idea is absurd and rather morbid. But director Matt Kazman was able to leverage off the family’s stiff awkwardness to drive the film’s humor.

So, [The Trumps] were a reference point (specifically Melania and Barron) for the characters

So, the initial idea came out of wanting to write something comedic about the grotesque, insular lives of the super-wealthy. And I was specifically thinking about the Trumps, like as a family unit. I just imagined their dinner table conversations to be very weird and distant. So, they were a reference point (specifically Melania and Barron) for the characters.

I was also developing a separate idea about a family who lives with the stuffed corpse of a loved one after they die, but was unsure of what direction to take it in, and I had the thought that if you could stuff your deceased body and put it on display, then Donald Trump would totally do that, so the script really started coming together from there. And once I had the initial idea and the world thought out, I realized that it could be this great opportunity for these characters to tell this guy how they really feel about him, which ends up becoming very therapeutic. So, ultimately, it’s a movie about communication and catharsis.

Ultimately, it’s a movie about communication and catharsis

The film’s big surprise came through its subtle developments and its painstaking family relationship. ‘Father Figurine’ develops from a terribly creepy story to a rather sweet and unexpected family reconnection. Which gives us a tiny glimpse of hope that a seemingly lifeless family still holds some sort of emotional bond.

Crafted from fine but brilliant writing, Matt quickly realized that the script would be way too expensive to make. This incited him to apply for the Shift Creative Fund grant, which was giving filmmakers $30,000 to make a short. Inevitably Matt was one of the recipients which allowed him to create this magnificent film.

The goal of the short was really to try something different than what I had done in the past (which is mostly coming-of-age stories), see how much I could push a certain visual aesthetic, and just test the material out to see how I felt about it because I have a larger idea in mind that takes place in the same world.

Father Figurine was shot on the RED MONSTRO camera, with vintage Canon stills lenses. “A lot of our references were actually photographs and portraits” mentions Matt. Which determined a lot of their technical decisions, including shooting on such a large sensor and at a 3:2 aspect ratio to emulate the still portraiture format.