CHICKEN and PRAGMA Reviews | Shorts at Tribeca Film Festival 2022


Having its world premiere at Tribeca is Josh Leong's Chicken, a thirteen-minute short starring first-time actors Jordan C. Biggs and Biorkys Acosta. Inspired by the stories he heard while volunteering alongside C3.NYC's Juvenile Justice Ministry at detention centres in the Bronx and Brooklyn, the film follows a sixteen-year-old boy coming to terms with being a young father and the complexities that come with it through the act of raising a chicken. 

It's a coming-of-age story and one that too many children in the US have faced first-hand. Chicken embraces its challenging subject matter by placing humanity back in the narrative through the act of showing these children as children. They play basketball, write raps, and cry on one another's shoulders - Leong understands that society may have discarded these children and wants the audience to understand the cruelty of the system. 

The film ends with a call to action, reminding people that 84% of children in juvenile detention will be re-incarcerated within five years. These children grow up, and it feels as though Leong is aware that we can extend empathy to children in the way we often do not to adults. He reminds us that these things do not happen in a vacuum and that many things must happen for a system to discard someone so early in life.

It's painfully beautiful and sincere and shows the power of proximity that many civil rights leaders such as Bryan Stevenson and Helen Prejean expressly discuss. When we get close to the issues, we can make great work that discusses topics often left at the side of the road. 

CHICKEN will have its World Premiere on June 12th, 2022 at Tribeca Film Festival. For tickets and more info visit

Learn more about how the partners of CHICKEN are working alongside young fathers and impacted prison communities in NYC at 

Pragma is the fourth short film from filmmaker Ellie Heydon, and her experience shows. Starring familiar faces from the beloved AppleTV series, Ted Lasso, alongside the film's writer, Lucy Heath, in the lead role, it follows Willow as she embarks on a week-long programme designed to meet your "perfect match".

The film's beats follow that of the stages of a relationship. There's the initial attraction, the uncomfortable (sometimes cringe-worthy) teething period of getting to know one another, the denial of head vs heart and the external opinions that threaten it all. 

It has some fantastic comedic moments and feels like it's identified a new era of the "rom-com", stepping into the contemporary and embracing the quirks of how difficult it is to meet someone "in" the world instead of online. Supposedly inspired by "dating institutes like Love Island", the film strategically analyses what we value in relationships and how often that can come back to burn us. 

Heath, in her fifth short film appearance, carries the narrative wonderfully and is unafraid of using pauses to draw either a moment of reflection or humour. She's easy to root for, and we get to see her inner world develop without her having to say a word. As both the writer of the film and its protagonist, it's clear she's identified the story she wants to tell and compels us through the complexity of simplicity. 

Heydon's direction is thoughtful and complements the screenplay. There's a whole world built in such a short runtime, which is a challenge in itself, and although sometimes it does feel manufactured, it is easy to look past when the narrative gets going. 

PRAGMA will have its International Premiere on June 10th, 2022 at Tribeca Film Festival. 

For tickets and more info visit

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