A red-haired woman holding laundry detergent in a shadowy room with the TV lighting things | Agents of Fandom

SXSW 2024: ‘The Bleacher’ Is Weird, Wild, and Unforgettable

‘The Bleacher’ succeeds in its supreme weirdness and bizarrely bloody narrative, offering one of the best shorts out of SXSW.

Along with major feature films and world premieres, SXSW is known for its slate of shorts that it features in its Midnight Shorts program. The festival plays shorts — usually ranging from 8 to 16 minutes in length and spanning all sorts of genres, sub-genres, and storytelling styles — in succession for a couple of hours. This year, one of the strangest and most successful shorts was The Bleacher, a project that originally premiered at Sundance Film Festival back in January.

‘The Bleacher’ Descends to the Weird World of Lost Laundry

Rita (voiced by Kate Micucci) sticks her head in a washer at her local laundromat in search of her missing sock only to discover a mischievous world below | Agents of fandom
Kate Micucci brings Rita to life in The Bleacher. Image Credit: Zeus Pictures.

Shot in a unique style of animation, The Bleacher, directed by the dynamic duo of Nicole Daddona and Adam Wilder, follows an offbeat woman named Rita (voiced by the lovely Kate Micucci) as she frequents her local laundromat only to lose a sock in one of her washing machines.

Curious and concerned, she explores the deep crevices of the washing machine for her sock only to get sucked into a vortex that leads her to a mysterious and maniacal world containing piles of lost socks and a singing dolphin. If that doesn’t sound strange enough, the short is able to pack in an entire narrative surrounding Rita’s husband leaving her over his love for a, you guessed it, dolphin. Things get dark, daring, and diabolical in ways that are completely unexpected and ingenious.

‘The Bleacher’ Review: A Short Film That Will Stick With You Like a Laundry Stain

Honestly, it’s a short that hasn’t left my brain in the days since I’ve seen it. Immensely easy to digest at just 8 minutes long and featuring a musical number in which an eerie dolphin whispers “gimme all your sockies” in a singsong, The Bleacher is a fascinating insight into pushing artistic and thematic boundaries through the constraints of a true short film.

I won’t spoil the ending but I will tell you that it is something that won’t quickly leave your brain either — and it’ll inevitably alter the way you engage with your local laundromat the next time you go to wash a load of clothes.

I got the chance to sit down with both directors, Adam and Nicole, along with Kate Micucci, to ask them about the origins of such a peculiar project, the lengthy creative process of bringing the short to life, and their personal love for dolphins, which you can check out below.

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'The Bleacher' Short Film SXSW 2024 review

'The Bleacher' Short Film SXSW 2024 review
4 5 0 1
4.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Among the weirdest things you will ever see.
  • The fascinating animation style is a treat to watch.

The Bad

  • Among the weirdest things you will ever see.
  • The short runtime leaves you wanting more narrative answers!
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