Avery Ross, the CEO of a small chemical company, must confront a situation her father created when he was running the firm.

In the wake of several documentaries that highlight corporate or social corruption such as ‘Fyre‘ and ‘The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley‘, we are reminded that we live in a dishonest and fraudulent world. Michael Wooldridge’s ‘Options’ highlights what can be hidden in so many giant corporations, when Avery Ross, the young CEO of a family-run chemical company, is extorted on the eve of the company’s IPO, she is faced with an impossible choice. The blackmailer’s accusations threaten to shatter Dawson Chemicals’ reputation for corporate responsibility that Avery’s father Dean worked so hard to cultivate during his tenure running the company. Dean, and two representatives of the offering bank, come up with a scheme to swiftly ‘eliminate’ the issue. As Avery stands in her father’s old office, still littered with his memorabilia, she must overcome her shock at learning the true nature of the family business and decide whether to give in to her father’s bullying, go along with his plan and do the unthinkable, or defy him and forge her own path forward in opposition to his interests.

Options was my first short film, written over a year or so in 2014 & 2015. In late 2016 I came upon an opportunity to fund it, and began pre-production. It was my first time writing & directing anything, and it was a really stellar experience. Everyone involved gave 110% and came together to create it, and I think that reflects in the final product. We were extraordinarily lucky to get Caissie Levy (currently Elsa in Frozen on Broadway) as our lead. She was incredibly generous with her time and attention. The rest came together beautifully and I think the results speak for themselves.

The direct approach in ‘Options’ creates an excellent tension and captures a great focus on how easily big moral dilemmas can shift one side or another. Through his story, Michael is able to pinpoint the instance in which terrible and influential decisions are made. The film really makes us stop and think at how many times this has happened and still continues to in real life – the shear thoughts are terrifying.