Unlike most short film directors you come across on the festival circuit, the work of Isabella Wing-Davey isn't of the poorly-held camera and poor student acting variety. Her work is both impeccably produced and impeccably cast; her last short, which I caught at the Athena Film Festival earlier this year, was a mini-period drama called The Rain Collector and starred a Spielberg-certified child star (Celine Buckens from War Horse) and British TV queen (Hermione Norris of Cold Feet fame). She's spent much of the past decade in New York's cinematic confines, gaining some notoriety as Philip Seymour Hoffman's personal assistant at the time of his death. But she also used that time to craft an immaculate filmic style, somewhere in that netherworld between Sofia Coppola's perfectly groomed costumes (Wing-Davey, like Coppola, was born into a family deep in the business) and Wes Anderson's penchant for the pastels.
"For me it's about exploring gender stereotypes, specifically, I was interested in the camaraderie of the bathroom experience."
Her latest is something different or, at least, isn't a period piece. It's about the world of small interactions between women, the world of awkwardly needing to borrow a tampon and overhearing conversations you could already fill in. Scrapping the character-building euphoria of The Rain Collector for the intelligence of a fly-on-the-wall vignette, it stars indie darling Louisa Krause and romcom player Nadia Dajani among others inside a bathroom inside a wedding reception. Within three minutes, Wing-Davey is able to turn the energy of those moving parts into nothing short of a masterpiece of observation, the kind of space that immediately feels populated by real people.
It's called Waiting and what are you waiting for?