“Originally, the title of the film was to be “He is Goodwill” because I wanted to emphasize the idea that the things you find at Goodwill are pieces of a person,” director Kelly Tran explains, discussing the journey her title has taken. “A friend of mine, Jason Carr, actually posted a picture of a mug he found at a thrift store that said ‘World’s Greatest Dad,’ and seeing that hurt my heart. Why did it end up there? I wanted to make a story about that.”

“Love & Goodwill” is filled with cinematic majesty as we follow the path a box of belongings takes from a life to a Goodwill store. “Luckily, I’ve never had to experience donating a loved one’s belongings,” Tran divulges, “but everything I film or write, it is personal.”

Tran’s short is another one of our short shorts, coming is at barely 3 minutes and taking a slice of life out of our protagonist’s memory as she reflects on her father at the Goodwill counter. “When I was little,” Tran describes, “my dad wrote me a song, in Vietnamese, about how much he loves me, and when I’m home, he still sings it to me. To pay homage to that, I wrote the song in the film. My dad is healthy, young and handsome (he probably would like me to say that), but their relationship is our relationship. This film is for my dad.”

But after waking up at 3 a.m. to change her pre-production and stressing over details, Tran reveals the reward of her hard work, “A few people, some I don’t know very well, reached out to me- some physically, some crying and some smiling, saying that what I made meant something to them. Hearing their stories and experiences made me cry. I think it’s all about how something, though it may be fictional, can be so real and universal in the human condition and make us form connections, and forming connections with others is what living is about.”

Finally, Tran expresses her anticipation for Indie Oaks, cycling the thematic emphasis on family right back to the finished product: “I can’t hold back my excitement to see that people would have thoughts about something that came from little me. I’m also incredibly delighted about seeing my parents’ reactions when they watch the screening. I hope there’s some light in their eyes. Of course, I do these types of things partially for myself, but I do some for my parents, too. I want to make them proud.”

See where the box of memories ends up on April 15 at Indie Oaks Film Festival.
Buy tickets to the film festival.
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