"Small Pond" is both a love letter to Columbia, Missouri as well as a satirical comedy about the lives of leisure that are led by its youthful inhabitants. With its low-cost rental properties, modest cost of living and abundance of service sector jobs, Columbia is an ideal place for wayward souls to work part-time while pursuing artistic aspirations ... or simply indulging in a neverending pursuit of self-serving debauchery. Unfortunately, anonymity also comes at a premium in this neck of the woods, especially for a heroine who is still searching for a sense of self and often feeling trapped within the perceptions of her peers.

Kirsten, as immortalized by Hari Leigh, is a bright but rudderless young woman who has constructed a world for herself which is completely focused on immediate self-gratification, and one which also perfectly suits her reluctance to confront grand philosophical and existential concerns. Clocking in at 11:30AM on weekdays for her register detail at Shakespeare's Pizza and clocking out just after the lunch rush, Kirsten is free to spend her day ... reading her horoscope? Napping off that leftover hangover? Or maybe just chasing it with a can of Stag. Except the reach of Kirsten's worldview so rarely extends beyond the bridge of her nose that she is also completely oblivious to the careless ways she disregards her already almost non-existent responsibilities and the needs of her long-suffering friends.

Being a native of Columbia myself, but having rarely seen this particular cross-section of the American experience preserved for posterity on the silver screen, it was my personal mission to create a story about emerging adulthood that was at once both knowingly funny and truthfully poignant: universally accessible in its timeless depiction of restless youth, yet lovingly specific in its unique portrayal of life in the midwest.


- Josh Slates

Susan Burke and Hari Leigh film a scene on 10th Street.


Director Josh Slates and friend.


© 2011 Tenhoursaweek, LLC