The Morning of Everything

Rated: Not Rated

       During the past four New Hampshire Film Festivals most of the films I’ve seen are short films. In the past this has presented a bit of a problem. The problem is that while I’d love to tell you about these amazing films, a lot of the time there just isn’t much to write about them. I would feel as though I were cheating you if all I wrote was one short paragraph, and so I’ve stayed away from writing anything about them at all.
        Thinking long and hard about this dilemma I’ve come up with two possible solutions. The first is that rather than writing one review at a time, as I typically do, I’ll write the reviews of multiple short films and group them together, giving the whole thing more substance. The second is to interview the makers of these films and bring you both the interview and review in one shot.
I haven’t yet tried the first solution of blocking several short reviews together, but I have tried the second. During the course of this year’s NHFF I had the opportunity to interview the makers of several short films. One such film maker is Jeff Stern, the writer, director, producer of the short film
The Morning of Everything.

        The tagline for the film is “
A Fevered Dream about Fatherhood,” and it certainly lived up to that expectation. The entire film has a poetic, rhyming voiceover that ties the imagery together in the most surprising and fascinating way. The musical score, written and performed by Allison Plante, as well as songs from The Dirty Three, Gogol Bordello and Podington Bear, adds to the overall sense of awe.
        Jeff’s main goal with
The Morning of Everything was to give the audience both a sense of wonder in seeing the world through the eyes of his then three year old son and to instill the feeling that just because you’ve had a child, your life isn’t over, it’s simply changed. I think Jeff says it best himself in his Director’s Statement: On Losing Myself in my Children, which can be found on his website,

        “[My] conflict became apparent. I loved my son. I loved being a parent. And yet, there were moments when I profoundly missed the freedom I once knew. I wondered if I would ever finish all of those things I was working on before my son was born. I loved getting lost in my son. But I didn’t want to lose my identity.  

        So I decided that I wanted to share this nuanced feeling in the form of a movie. I wanted to explore the idea of losing myself in my child, in all of its myriad manifestations. I wanted to show the world the way I imagine my son sees it, and I wanted to explore the new ways in which I see it. I hope that what I have made is an honest expression of exactly how I feel: that my life is much harder than it has ever been and it is far, far richer than I ever imagined was possible.”

Jeff and Leo Stern on the set of The Morning of Everything (Phot courtesy of Jeff Stern)

Jeff and Leo Stern on the set of The Morning of Everything (Phot courtesy of Jeff Stern)

        I find Jeff’s honesty, both on his website and in the film, refreshing and comforting. Although I haven’t yet had any children of my own, I imagine most, if not all, new parents go through the same type of inner dialogue. Am I capable? Am I good enough? Is my life over? Will I ever be “ME” again? I know that just thinking about having children brings about some of these questions and I find some comfort in that, (as far as I’ve witnessed), the people who ask themselves these questions and begin to really explore them usually turn out to be great parents. I don’t know Jeff Stern that well, but if this film, this love letter to his son is any indication, he’s got nothing to worry about.

         Admittedly, this review was kind of difficult to write. Not because I didn’t like the film, because I absolutely did, but because it’s hard to put into words the warm, fuzzy feeling that I had after watching it. It was like being wrapped in a big down comforter on a chilly day with a hot cup of tea (or coffee or cocoa, whatever you like). And although
The Morning of Everything is a short film, that sense of wonder, awe and coziness stuck with me long after it was done.

The Morning of Everything is not rated, stars Leo and Jeff Stern and Mike Shine and was written, directed and produced by Jeff Stern. For more information about where and when to catch the film, please visit
Jeff Stern and Mike Shine on the set of The Morning of Everything (Photo courtesy of Jeff Stern)

Jeff Stern and Mike Shine on the set of The Morning of Everything (Photo courtesy of Jeff Stern)