David Oyelowo is best-known for his role as Dr. Martin Luther King in the 2014 film “Selma.” A multiple Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Emmy-nominated actor and producer, Oyelowo has also directed his own film (“The Water Man”). He stars in the 18-minute short “The After,” directed by  photographer, social activist and cultural commentator Misan Harriman. It is Harriman’s short film directorial debut and premiered globally October 25, 2023, on Netflix after first showing at the Holly Shorts Film Festival, where it won Best Live Action Short.

The snynopsis for the film says a grieving rideshare driver picks up a passenger who helps him confront the past.” It is intentionally enigmatic. If you’re interested in seeing a world class actor make a short film “work, “devote 18 minutes to this one.


Oyelowo carries the 18-minute short film with impressive elan, especially the latter part of the short, scenes empathizing with a child who is a passenger in his cab. When Oyelowo is overcome with grief and writhing on a sidewalk in emotional pain, anyone with feelings will be able to relate. It is a top-notch performance.

The few co-stars in the short piece also fulfill their roles well, but their roles are extremely short. In the case of the character Amanda (Jessica Plummer), viewers may find themselves questioning her response to a violent encounter early on. This encounter is the cornerstone of the film and the impetus for everything that comes after.


“The After”  is based on a story by Harriman, with a screenplay by new writer John Julius Schwabach. The cinematography is by Si Bell BSC (“A Very British Scandal,” “Peaky Blinders”).


I’ve been a fan of shorts ever since seeing Clare Cooney’s “The Runner’ in 2018 at the Windy City Film Festival. A short is a wonderful opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to learn the directing ropes. The expense is much less and a short is a great way to move into lengthier films as a director.

Indeed. Writer/Director Cooney, (who recently released her own first full-length film “Departing Seniors” at CIFF), described moving up to directing  a full length feature film  as being “like shooting 5 shorts back-to-back.”

So, the problem with a short is that—yes, it’s short. A good one leaves you wanting more, and this is a good one.The strength of a short is that it is a condensed and intense mini-film. If it is written, photographed and acted well, as this one is, it can be very powerful. “The After” is worth the 18-minute commitment. It examines grief , potential suicide, and the after-effects of violence.