Rarely have we recently seen a short film that moved us as deeply as ‘Man Off The Coast‘. Although at first glance, Matt Sedgley’s project seems to be nothing out of the ordinary, perhaps its great quality lies in its apparent simplicity. The director is aware that to trigger the viewer’s emotions, there is no need for elaborate scripts and scenarios, but only sensitivity to what is happening around us. Thus, his short film doesn’t present conventional heroes or anti-heroes, nor does it involve multi-layered or artificial actions that aim to “exploit” the spectator’s attention in a more or less “ethical” way. Matt Sedgley, therefore, opts for the simplest and most effective method: that of finding micro-stories of those marginalized “anonymous” people whose existence we often forget about in our immediate social universe.


The story focuses on two characters who struggle, each in their own way, with the feeling of loss. Teenager Molly, who has lost her family and faces the malice and indifference of her caregivers, meets a stranger whose life is also marked by abandonment. A beautiful friendship develops between the two that may help them overcome the visible and invisible barriers of their worlds.


Largely based on the aesthetics of a docudrama, the short film impresses with the naturalness with which it juxtaposes seemingly banal discursive fragments that create bridges between two solitudes. Of course, like any docudrama, this short film tackles a real social issue but without offering a clear and general verdict on unanimously inappropriate attitudes. Thus, it is more than obvious that the director approaches the human universe of those marked by abandonment following a concrete personal experience. Perhaps it is precisely this intimate knowledge of the social context that makes the short film vibrate with such intensity, in a cinematic construction made with the professionalism of a mature artist and supported by the work of some very talented actors. Matt Sedgley doesn’t take a distant approach to this delicate subject but, on the contrary, he approaches his characters with warmth, revealing their fragility and strength, and finally offering them a way out. ‘Man Off The Coast’ ultimately becomes an initiation of two souls evolving against the backdrop of a world that is indifferent to their suffering but at the same time has enough beauty in it to provide a reason to enjoy life.


For its excellent cinematic concreteness and the human warmth with which it allows us to glimpse into the souls of those marked by the permanent feeling of abandonment, ‘Man Off The Coast’ was awarded the Film of the Month distinction in the May 2023 edition of TMFF.