Running into an ex and robbing a store at gunpoint are both situations that can get pretty awkward.  Imagine how annoying it is to do both at the same time.  The small talk would be unbearable.  Hold Up Heart fuses these two situations into one hilarious sequence.

When Jeff decides that robbing a local liquor store is the fastest way to some fast cash, his plan goes awry when he discovers that the store’s cashier is his ex girlfriend.  What follows is a series of awkward talks, character drama, and gunshot wounds..

The film chooses a unique setting that’s immediately compelling.  Flashing neon lights, a vintage car, and electro pop music evoke the spirit of classic 80s thrillers and dance films.  The intimate interior of the liquor store adds an indie feel to the short, similar to classics like Clerks.

The writer (and the portrayer of Jeff), Edward Kiniry-Ostro was inspired to create this story after visiting a local liquor store.  He sought to capture the mom and pop feel of the shop and crafted an entire story that could work within it.

The story combines violence with humor and a few light jabs at introspection.  Jeff is egged on to go through with the heist by his friend, Lo.  It’s only after he bursts into the store with a mask on that he realizes that the store he robbing is the one that his ex is working at.  Eventually a third mutual acquaintance, Nigel is thrown into the mix.  It’s clear that there’s a lot of history among the group members.  Past relationships are revisited, jealousy is revealed, there are even some lessons about being comfortable with who you are.  It’s all bad news for the poor bystander who happens to be in the store when it all goes down.  At times it can be hard to keep up with the characters’ allusions to their relationships and history, but that’s all part of the charm.  We barely know the characters, we get a thin grasp on how they know each other, but we can still identify with them.

Hold Up Heart is a fun short with memorable style.  The performers bring lively amounts of energy, and the setting proves to be unique and engrossing.  The story is sure to hit home with anyone who has an awkward relationship with an ex or regularly commits armed robbery.

You can watch Hold Up Heart and learn more about the project here.

Edward Kiniry-Ostro is currently raising money for his next project, Season 2 of Roomiess.  Find out more.