Exploring gender through the lens of the superhero myth, BALLOON questions how we raise boys when our concept of masculinity has become narrow.

For fourteen-year-old Sam, surviving junior high means staying below radar. But that becomes impossible after he becomes the target of the school’s next viral video. He’s pressured to “hit back,” but Sam isn’t so sure—even if he does have super powers.


Year: 2019

Screening in: Shorts Block 2

Genre: Drama / Social Awareness

Country: USA

Language: English

Runtime: 0:16:46 mins



Jeremy Merrifield

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While at The American Film Institute, Jeremy made four short films, LINE, A TRAVELING SYMPHONY, THE BELL, and, most recently his thesis film, BALLOON (winner, Grand Prix HollyShorts), which explores questions of toxic masculinity in the way we raise our boys. He wrote and directed a spec comedy pilot, FOR REAL, which is the satirical journey exploring American narcissism in the age of the social media star. Prior to AFI, Jeremy worked in New York’s Broadway theater community where he started as an actor and ultimately began producing and directing. He produced the concert and subsequent Broadway workshop for Tony Award-winner Jason Robert Brown’s debut musical SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD. As casting director, he worked on THE BOY FROM OZ starring Hugh Jackman as well as Cameron Mackintosh’s CATS. As a director, he assisted the New York Theatre Workshop production of Houshang Touzie’s OUR SWEET LIFE BY THE PACIFIC OCEAN starring Shoreh Agdashloo and exploring the life of a Persian family living in America. Other credits include YANK! (Off-Broadway, associate producer), MARY POPPINS (Broadway, assistant to the producer), MISS SAIGON (Broadway tour). He lives with his partner in Los Angeles.