Two old friends meet at a Tiki bar to catch up – and confront some uncomfortable truths

Volcano is a directorial debut from screenwriter Karen Moore (Workin’ Moms, Mary Kills People). This razor-sharp two-hander sees two longtime friends meet up for drinks at a tiki bar, only to find themselves in a bidding war for attention, with some telling omissions. This crude drama lightened by its setting is delightfully performed by Hannah Cheesman and Jess Salgueiro, who neatly rise the tension and friction between then up to the eruption. You might also recognize Karen’s witty dark humour writing in ‘Must Kill Karl‘ and ‘Your Place of Mine‘ featured on Film Shortage.

VOLCANO is my directorial debut and showcases a strong female cast and crew, including its director, writer, producer, lead actors, cinematographer, production designer, and gaffer. VOLCANO is a deeply personal story that I self-financed and hand-picked everyone I wanted to surround myself with; basically a dream scenario for an anxious first-time director. My goal with the film was two-fold: First, I wanted to explore the denial and shame that exists in verbally abusive relationships. And second was to capture a messier female friendship and the distance that can creep in when friends are at different places in life. And make it funny! After writing/producing multiple shorts, including MUST KILL KARL (Hollyshorts ’18, Best Comedy) and writing for various television series, I wanted my directorial debut to be personal. I wanted to be more courageous and vulnerable than I’ve ever been in my previous work, and really step into the arena. VOLCANO is based on my past relationship that I struggled to label as abusive, which it was. I wrote it specifically for Jess Salgueiro and Hannah Cheesman. I knew they could vacillate between the light and the dark tones — hitting the jokes and what’s behind them at every turn. Hopefully people see themselves in that friendship and connect to being the Jess or Hannah. I think sometimes we project onto those we want to be close to, and if we aren’t careful, a distance creeps in that can threaten a once-strong bond. If people take away something like that &/or have a laugh, I’m good!