A southern mom gets her life disrupted in GraceLand when her daughter claims to be the reincarnation of the King himself, Elvis Presley.
Prissy (Anna Camp) and Jack (Daniel Eric Gold) eventually learn to go along with it when daughter Grace (Katie Beth West) claims to be Elvis. The film plays this for humor but in a respectful way. According to the director, Elvis uses he/him pronouns. Prissy and Jack are asked to go to the school for a meeting with Ms. Snell (Monique Coleman). Because their daughter claims to be Elvis, this also includes some of the King’s mannerisms. They aren’t exactly something that any parent would be proud of–including sexual harassment. Anyway, Prissy and Jack come around by the time of the talent show as they make Elvis a jumpsuit to wear.
Prissy thinks she must have done something wrong. The family lives in Charleston, South Carolina, which doesn’t sound like the best climate to deal with all this. There’s nothing she did wrong and I could say the same thing when it comes to parents of transgender children. To any new readers that are reading my work for the first time, I can say this because I am transgender. But enough about me.
This film drew my interest because it stars Anna Camp and because of my love for rock ‘n roll. But wow, it just blew me away! I know you’re watching for Anna Camp but Katie Beth West is a discovery. Beyond the actors, there’s certainly some commentary here when comes to gender identities. But at the same time, the film has to tackle this in a way that doesn’t offend while having a lead character be the reincarnation of Elvis Presley. I’d like to think they did a good job. Even in the scenes where they’re playing for laughs, I feel they were respectful. I also give major props to the film for getting Elvis Presley’s tailor to design the jumpsuit for the film. It lends another layer of authenticity to this short comedy.
My biggest regret is that I didn’t see this film in 2020 when it premiered. If that had been the case, it would have been a top contender for the Solzy Awards for Comedy Shorts. Regardless, I recommend that you watch this short film!
GraceLand is a sold film at 14 minutes but there’s enough here that leaves you wanting more. Honestly, I would love to see this film expanded into a feature film.
DIRECTOR: Bonnie Discepolo
SCREENWRITERS: Bonnie Discepolo & Trevor Munson
CAST: Anna Camp, Monique Coleman, Daniel Eric Gold, and introducing Katie Beth West