Dirty Books (2016) – By Philip Smolen


David (Noah Bailey) is the editor of his high school newspaper and he’s just been delivered devastating news from his principal, Dr. Bradley (Timothy J. Cox). The powers that be in the school have decided to shut down the newspaper in favor of an online blog. Dr. Bradley tells David that it’s just too expensive to print hundreds of copies of the newspaper when very few students read it. Since most students do everything online nowadays, they might as well get their school news online as well. David protests vehemently, but to no avail. Later on while talking to his friend Owens (Isaiah La Pierre), David decides that there’s only one way to save the paper. He decides to prank different people in the school and then write about the incidents in the paper. David figures that the means justify the ends as long as the student body re-discovers the paper. However, David doesn’t realize that the sports reporter he’s been dismissing (Ansley Berg) has got a real nose for news.

“Dirty Books” is a 16 minute short film from writers Zachary La Pierre and Ian Everhart and director La Pierre and it’s a wonderful metaphor for the major problems traditional media outlets are facing nowadays; surviving in the digital age. David could easily represent an editor of a major city daily who sees plummeting paper sales, since most people now get their daily news from the internet. Forced to report sensationalistic stories, David loses sight of the real purpose of journalism – revealing the truth. The young editor receives his own education in the process.

The cast is uniformly wonderful. Noah Bailey brings the right amount of youthful exuberance and indignation to the role of David. Convinced that he is honoring mighty and high ideals, he fails to see that his hubris is leading him to his own downfall. Ansley Berg shines as Charlotte, the enthusiastic sports reporter who just wants to write good stories. Isaiah La Pierre and Timothy J. Cox are also solid as David’s best friend and the high school principal.

“Dirty Books” is a marvelously entertaining microscopic look at the troubles one can get into in the age of reality reporting. It’s a bright and slick film short that reminds the viewer about what the responsibilities of freedom of speech actually are.

To watch “Dirty Books”, please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQyPDiW0qLw

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