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Vacancy (2005)

Ten-year-old Reid is spending the summer of 1983 far from home, stuck at a remote roadside motel with his parents. Fending off boredom is second nature to loners like him; but when a ... See full summary »


Steve Hosford


Steve Hosford


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Credited cast:
Jordan Anderson Jordan Anderson ... Reid
Elise Robertson ... Mom
Robert C. Pullman ... Dad (as Robert Wesley)
Gina DeVivo ... Tiffany
Steven J. Warner Steven J. Warner ... Co-Worker
John Lynd John Lynd ... Motel Manager
Scott R. Wright ... Tiffany's Dad
Carl Owens Carl Owens ... Hardhat
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bobby Fontaine Bobby Fontaine ... Kid
Jim Gilkeson Jim Gilkeson ... Newsman (voice)
Cleo Robuck Cleo Robuck ... Tiffany's Friend
Jacob Williamson Jacob Williamson ... Kid
Dianna Wright Dianna Wright ... Tiffany's Mom
Joshua Wright Joshua Wright ... Tiffany's Brother
Melynda Wright Melynda Wright ... Tiffany's Sister


Ten-year-old Reid is spending the summer of 1983 far from home, stuck at a remote roadside motel with his parents. Fending off boredom is second nature to loners like him; but when a captivating girl checks in with her family, Reid suddenly finds he has way more than enough on his mind. Written by Steve Hosford

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What innocence leaves behind.





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Release Date:

23 January 2005 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

Outstanding example of subtle film-making
23 February 2006 | by aleemhossainSee all my reviews

If you're looking to see the work of an extremely talented up and coming director who puts a real personal stamp on his films, look no further than Steve Hosford and his short film Vacancy. The world of short films is dominated by one-note jokes, imperfect plots, and gimmicky stylistic choices that come and go in a matter of minutes. Hosford's film is a little longer than most, but then again, it's a better than most. It is also, unlike many shorts, a clear example of a full-fledged director at work. Here is a guy who, judging from this short, could clearly make a great feature film tomorrow (and wouldn't need millions to do it).

Vacancy is the story of a young boy and the summer he spends at a motel in the middle of nowhere with his parents. His dad is a sort of migrant nuclear plant worker who works long hours at the plant. This leaves the boy alone at the motel. He spends each day stuck at the motel, as if trapped on a very small island, and struggles to find new things to appreciate, experience, or even look out. Eventually he meets a girl and, in very subtle fashion, the climax of the film is the carefully told story of their relationship.

I'm tempted to say that Vacancy is in the tradition of David Gordon Green, Jim McKay, or Jim Jarmusch (and that might help you begin to understand the general area he's working in) but that doesn't do Hosford justice. He's not an imitator. He's clearly got his own take on the world. It's characterized by patience and focus. He has eyes and ears for the small moments in life that are huge. He gets the minor things that make us happier than anything and he knows that apparently simple things can break our hearts. In Vacancy, Hosford explores all of this by guiding his lead actor, a young boy, to a surprisingly real and nuanced performance. Actual acting from child performers is a rare thing - and this kid does some real stuff. But I guess that shouldn't be a surprise given the rest of the film: Hosford shows great control of some of the most elusive parts of film-making: tone, vibe, feeling... whatever you want to call it, he's doing it very distinctly in this film.

And to top it off, Hosford shows great prowess with the other aspects of film-making as well. The fact that he's working with digital video and that he has a very observational approach to the film might get you thinking that this is one of those films to go see for the performances, for the moments captured, but not for anything else. Yet time and time again, Hosford shows that he's rigorously thought out his shot choices - far from succumbing to the temptation of video to just record and shoot in a loose verite fashion, Hosford displays a classical, skilled, and rigorous use of shot selection. Hosford and his DP have made the camera a driving force in this film alongside the director's lyric patience, his subtle writing, skilled editing, and his overall feel for film-making.

This film will hopefully play at more festivals. If so - go see it. I think it's possible for people to say "that wasn't my kind of film" but I don't think you can say "that wasn't a well made film." Vacancy is clear proof of a talented director and deserves to be seen.

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