Clones Gone Wild! and more from the Washougal International Film Festival

The Green Room @ The Washougal International Film Festival

The Green Room @ The Washougal International Film Festival

I had promised myself I’d get back to the Washougal International Film Festival before it left, and the morning after attending my wife’s surreal high school reunion (more on that another day), I decided I needed a quick break. My mission was to catch Clones Gone Wild!, which I was politely asked to check out on Twitter by none other than its star/writer/producer, Chad Mathews. More on Clones Gone Wild! later.

I showed up at the festival around noon and went straight to the Green Room, which was a smallish room, normally used as the Drama classroom at the highschool. While waiting for the noon block to start, one of the festival volunteers came in and we had a brief chat. Turns out their attendance doubled this year, which is great. Shortly after we started talking, the lights went out and the films started. Here’s what I saw:


I really liked this short film, full of a deep, dark tension where you feel like something is about to go horribly wrong, but don’t know exactly what or when. It’s the story of a man dealing with life after war and is very timely and real as we learn how to help our soldiers cope with the things they’ve seen and/or done in the name of war. Very well done, with natural acting and a great sense of brooding. Made me want to see more of these characters and witness them develop further.


Diamond is a short film that illustrates the effects of drug and alcohol abuse on children. It’s a sad story about a boy who loses his mother to an overdose and his father to jail. When his grandmother comes to take care of him, a battle of wills ensues to keep him from maintaining contact with his father. While it felt a little melodramatic at times, I felt that the film came from a sincere place and was shot very well.


Reflection was a dark, almost graphic novel-style short film that felt as though it should have been a full-length film. The acting was well done and, really, for a low-budget short film, the action and special effects were exemplary. Much of the cinematography and editing reminded me of John Woo films, with poetic, graceful and dramatic action sequences. Overall, I wanted to see more character and story development, but I also understand that the story can only be told so much with a short time frame to work with. Hope to see more from this team in the future.

Clones Gone Wild!

This was it, the one I had been waiting for, and I tell you, it did not disappoint. The premise of this short comedy is something along the lines of: what if we lived in a world with clones, and those clones went crazy (wild!) and were eradicated due to their uprising? And: what if a few clones still existed? And: oh, what if you found out you have a clone who is way more successful at, well, everything, than you are? This premise opens up the doors for a short film packed with ironic humor, satire and some great supporting characters. I don’t like to make comparisons, because each film maker has their own slant on things, but I really felt like I was watching a lost Mike Judge film, which is a good thing. The characters were adorably quirky and the plot kept me engaged, never growing tired or looking at my watch. Plus, there were lots of great mustache jokes (always a selling point) and my new favorite punchline, “TONY DANZA!” Seriously, catch a showing of this if the opportunity arises.

The Twenty

Unfortunately I had to leave to make it to an appointment, so I wasn’t able to watch The Twenty. By all accounts, it looks like a well-done film with a great cast, so I hope I get the chance to see it some day.

Thanks again to the folks at the WIFF, the film makers and to everyone I met along the way. Can’t wait for next year’s festival.


  1. Gary Weeks
    Aug 17, 2009

    Hey Bret,

    I just wanted to say thank you for coming out to check out “Clones Gone Wild” and I’m so glad you dug it. I am pretty sure I can speak for all of Team Clones when I say that we feel so honored by your great review… and the fact that you even mentioned Mike Judge made me personally a fan of yours for life 🙂

    -Gary Weeks
    Co-Writer/Producer/The K-Man)

  2. Bret
    Aug 17, 2009

    Thanks Gary — I sincerely dug the proverbial crap out of your film. Can’t want to see what y’all come up with next. Let me know when Clones is available on wider distribution or for online viewing, as I know several people who’d get a kick out of it. Cheers!

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