Short Film Of The Week: Kaya

One of the forms of filmmaking I’ve neglected to take the time to watch for one reason or another has been short films. So in light of the recent pandemic, leading to lockdown, I decided to use my spare time to see some shorts that I just never got around to seeing yet. One that I sat down, watched and was impressed by was Catherine Fordham’s revenge thriller Kaya.


Kaya is desperately searching for her teenage sister, Luna, and the human trafficker who has kidnapped her. One night, her search leads her to finding a juvenile victim of sex trafficking in a seedy motel room and takes the girl’s place to catch the men who abducted her teenage sister.


Shot in Socorro, New Mexico, I liked the framing of the shots using the location of the truck stop/motel, in particular how it’s captured in the night setting, with some lovely cinematography work by Drew Levin, such as the shot of Kaya trying (and succeeding) to remove the antenna from the truck whilst the film title credit comes on the screen. The use of sound is very effective here, from Kaya changing the frequency on the channels, to the buzzing sound of a moth (at least I think it is) trapped in a web and, of course, what’s going in on the next room and how it corresponds with the cartoon that plays on the television in Kaya’s room. Shakira Barrera gives a really good performance as Kaya, particularly from a physical standpoint not just in the pivotal scene near the end of the short, but her fanatic expression of conflict of someone whose lost her sibling and looking to locate them, but also seeking revenge at the same time.


At just under thirteen minutes long, Kaya is definitely worth checking out and to see more work from Catherine Fordham, be see to follow her on Vimeo.


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