A Piece of Cake – Short Film Review

When a desperate father discovers his daughter’s favourite cake decoration is illegal, he descends into a confectionery black market. Now he must make the ultimate parenting choice: break a birthday promise or break the law?

This short film left me with the biggest smile on my face. Following the hectic day of a busy dad, Rich Sommer does an amazing job at pulling us along for the ride. His character is strong yet worried, putting himself in danger to make sure that his daughter has the best birthday. Written and directed by the Bragg Brothers, this short stands out as a comedy in a way that is different, yet we can all connect to. We all want to keep our promises and do our best, even if that means going to extreme lengths. We have the Bragg Brothers here to answer some questions about their brilliant film.

I really loved the fun film, and for me, the story really stands out against other shorts. I’d love to know the inspiration behind it.

The background of the story is accurate — it really is next to impossible to buy those silver balls in California.  We brought canisters on the plane with us to Los Angeles for filming!  We’re also parents ourselves, so we know that desire to live up to the expectations of your children.

This film left me with the biggest smile on my face, but it does slightly look at different genres as well as comedy. Was the plan to always have this film make people laugh, or did it start quite differently? 

Most of what we do is comedy, it’s certainly our first instinct.  With this short we really wanted to play with the tone, working in the extremes until we can find a middle ground.

My favourite cake flavour is red velvet, what are yours? And have you ever tried the silver ball decorations? 

German Chocolate is always a winner for me. 

M: If I say key lime pie, am I cheating? And yes, I’m sure we ate loads of those silver balls off Christmas cookies when we were kids. 

At the surface, this short is simple and comedic, really making us laugh. But are there any deeper meanings, like child and parent relationships, that you really wanted to explore?

The relationship between the father and daughter is at the center of this story. Not everyone is going to descend into a confectionary black market to fulfill a birthday promise, but a parent’s desire to not disappoint their kid is pretty universal. 

There is also a sub-theme about overcriminalization and the drug war. It’s something we have strong feelings about, and wanted to touch on it in a unique, entertaining way.

You’re two brothers who have won awards for your work, but what is it really like creating together? Does it always run as smoothly as your film appeared?

If you had told us back in middle school that we would be writing and directing films together we would have laughed at you. When we weren’t fighting each other we were plotting our next attack. Thankfully that changed dramatically and now it’s hard to imagine not working together. 

We have similar tastes and comedic sensibilities, so more often than not we see eye-to-eye. When there are disagreements, we work them out well before we’re ready to shoot. By the time we’re on set both of us have the same film in our head.  Having two people share the director’s chair can be a huge help, especially on a larger film when you may be thrown multiple questions at the same time.

You’ve really achieved a lot over the past few years. Do you want to keep exploring comedy and making short films or is something else on the cards for you both or separately?

I don’t think we can ever stop creating things, it’s in our DNA. We enjoy the process too much. We’re currently working again with MPI (the same team that helped us make A Piece of Cake) on a new story about silver balls — this time a feature film based on the true story of Roger Sharpe, a young midwesterner who overturned New York City’s 35-year ban on pinball machines.

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