Manic Baby presents Consignment
Consignment movie - Ace Weekly

New article in Lexington's ACE WEEKLY highlights the central Kentucky film scene, Natasha's Short Film Night, and each of the five films showcased
Posted January 22, 2013

Evan Albert of Ace Weekly talks to filmmaker Justin Hannah about the Central Kentucky film scene, and offers a preview of each of the films playing at the Short Film Night at Natasha's.

Move over Sundance: Lexington Short Film Night debuts

As Sundance lights up the big screens out west, Lexington doesn’t yet have its own film festival for local filmmakers. But it does have a rich history, from the days of 100 Proof up through KET’s ongoing Reel Visions series, and more recent efforts last year like Hitting the Cycle and Pleased to Meet Me. Fall also offers Filmslang, an opportunity for Lexington filmmakers to show their work as part of WRFL’s annual Boomslang.

January 30 will offer a unique dinner and a movie night out — five short films by five local filmmakers, all to be screened at Natasha’s downtown. Is the next Lena Dunham or Henry Joost living next door?

Justin Hannah has been making films and animation since 2003, and he organized the evening. He’s a filmmaker and artist based in Lexington, Kentucky who works in marketing, web design and video production. He recently set out to find the best short films from central Kentucky filmmakers. He spent hours scouring YouTube, Vimeo and social networking sites to find top-notch local work. “I looked at films to see what Kentucky was doing. I emailed a lot of people, watched their films and picked the five best.”

Hopefully, pending the success of this night, this becomes somewhat of a regular event in Lexington. Hannah claims that there is enough material out there to support many more events. “You could do something like this almost quarterly, and have enough good movies to actually make this happen. There’s a vacuum that we haven’t filled, there isn’t a film festival in Lexington. There is a theme here, a lot of people are making things in this area.”

Endeavors such as this are part of what some are calling a “Lexington Renaissance,” a cultural makeover of our fine city. There are more places to play music, more places to perform, more galleries to hang art in and more local products to enjoy. The corner of 6th and Limestone has gradually filled up with bars and shops (artist John Lackey’s short film here), many of which offer performance spaces for musicians. Cheapside is now surrounded by bars, food, and live music around the Fifth Third Pavilion, which also serves as a downtown outdoor venue. Lexington’s Distillery District is now anchored by Buster’s, a mid-size venue comparable to the Exit/In in Nashville and Headliners in Louisville. The downtown LexArts Gallery Hop is still going strong, and innovative entrepreneurs have given us a brewgrass trail of craft beer. This event is a foot in the door for filmmakers to share in the fun alongside of musicians, painters, actors and entrepreneurs.

The featured films are all under twenty minutes and touch on subjects spanning a myspace bromance, misplaced briefcases filled with cash, a wedding singer, puppets, and consignment stores with dark secrets.


Justin Hannah kicked off the $1600 budget for Consignment by winning a Beach Boys video contest, along with a few others. “The rest came from savings. It should’ve cost a lot more,” he says, “but I was lucky to get the assistance and support of some very cool local business – Pink Door Boutique of Louisville provided the vintage wardrobe, and let us use their shop as a filming location. TKO Hair Studio (of Nicholasville and Lexington) recreated the 1950s hairstyles, and Street Scene (of Lexington) provided all the vintage accessories and antiques.”


"A dark tale, seasoned to perfection with riveting music and cinematography." - Evan O. Albert, Ace Weekly

The atmospheric black and white short was inspired by a “women’s consignment shop in Lexington that I would pass every day on my drive home from work. Every day, I’d sit at the red light and while waiting for the light to change, I’d glance into the windows of that store, and it would give me ideas. I’m not sure if it was because of the vintage/older clothing in the window, or because it was dark from the outside and you couldn’t really see beyond that front window. But it gave me this feeling of another time, and of an unresolved mood. I love the style of films from the 1950s (everything from the lighting to the pacing to the performances), so as these ideas started to coalesce, I began to see it in terms of a film from the 1950s, about a lonely woman staring into the window of a dark consignment shop, longing for something dark and mysterious inside.”

Casting ”was difficult, because the actors didn’t only have to perform in this specific way, they also had to ‘look’ right, if you know what I mean.” Abbra Smallwood as Margaret, in her film debut, was the first person cast. Her performance (and her look) is a little bit January Jones as Betty Draper mixed with Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn.

“Margaret Wuertz as the Shopkeeper [is] a wonderful actress from Louisville. She couldn’t make any of the auditions, so we met at a Starbucks and she did her audition right there in the middle of the coffee shop. And of course she nailed it.”

Consignment is a dark tale, seasoned to perfection with riveting music and cinematography. Justin Hannah claims it is the “most ambitious thing I’ve ever made.” Justin Hannah’s hard work has paid off, Consignment looks and feels like a professional piece.

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"Consignment" is a stylish period drama written and directed by Justin Hannah, starring Abbra Smallwood, Margaret Wuertz, Jake Gilliam and Jessica McGill, with cinematography by Lee Clements and music by Robert Casal.

Described in reviews as "an alluring, multi-layered film experience" and "a beautifully realized, thought provoking short film," the movie has drawn comparisons to Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. "Consignment" won awards for Best Cinematography at the 2015 Blaquefyre Independent Film Festival, Best Kentucky Short at the 2014 Autumn Shorts Film Festival, Best Short Film at the 2013 World Independent Film Expo, and Most Original Film at the 2013 Floyd Film Festival.

Justin Hannah's "Consignment" is now available for instant streaming on Hulu and Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Vimeo On Demand, and IndieFlix.


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