A remarkable character study posing as a bawdy teen comedy.

Upon first hearing its description, you might assume that Anna Kerrigan’s Hot Seat is a raucous teen comedy, and you’d be forgiven for that: a bunch of young women from an all-girls boarding school get together to celebrate the 18th birthday of Daphne, your prototypical cool girl; they hire a male stripper for the occasion, and in interactive one at that, whose performance includes putting the girl of honor in the “hot seat” where she has to, um, manually stimulate him. Sounds like a comedic set-up right? And it is, but that’s not where Hot Seat’s power or charm lies.

Below the surface, what Kerrigan has created here is an awkward, extreme, and all-too real example of the social pressures that come with being young, and especially with being on the verge of adulthood, that murky gray zone between childish things and the way of the world. Jess Tabor plays Andrea, the film’s focal character, who is desperate for the approval of Daphne and the other popular girls to the point she’s willing to take matters – forgive me for this – into her own hands. Tabor is pitch-perfect in the role, a convincing amalgam of innocence and determination.

Kerrigan has made a funny and thoughtful film, and also a highly-enjoyable one, which is excellent news because according to Short of the Week, the director is at work on a feature-length version of her short. Like a lot of the best films we showcase here, Hot Seat was a Vimeo Staff Pick Premiere

A word to the warning, this film is for mature audiences due to some lascivious content. You probably already figured that out, but better safe than sorry.

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