McCabe in Amazon film festival

Emma Ishta starring as Leda in "Shadow Puppet."

By Nora Scally

Daniel James McCabe paints a searing portrait of sexual assault in his short film “Shadow Puppet.” In addition to directing this film, McCabe wrote the script and served as producer.

“Shadow Puppet” is centered on a young couple, Leda and Will, as they deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault. McCabe’s wife, Emma Ishta, stars as Leda, the main protagonist of the film. The film has garnered praise at film festivals and is now being considered in Amazon Prime Video’s All Voices Festival.

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The winner of the All Voices Festival will win a $25,000 royalty bonus and a paid trip to Amazon Studies in Los Angeles. Four other finalists will receive $10,000 royalty bonuses.

The current version of “Shadow Puppet” took a while to come to fruition. Originally shot in 2013, and then updated in 2018, “Shadow Puppet” is more relevant in today’s society.

Daniel James McCabe.

“Many developments over the past few years have shown that the ubiquity of sexual predation has always been an undeniable reality, and through that shift in perspective has come a sense of responsibility among people of conscience to engage with stories like this one,” said McCabe, “It’s a difficult conversation to have, but we finally seem to be having it, and of course that’s a very important step forward.”

The film mostly takes places in a restaurant and relies heavily on strong, realistic dialogue between the couple. It is deeply emotional and could be a conversation that happens with any couple across the world. The interactions are raw and familiar.

“While ‘Shadow Puppet’ tells a woman’s story, it was in large part intended to create conversation around the male response to such stories. We’ve all had to watch the heartbreaking ascendance of admitted sexual predators in recent years, whether in politics, business or the arts, “ McCabe said, “At such a time it seems ethically imperative to take a good hard look at certain pervasive ideas and behaviors in our society, and in ourselves.”

You can stream “Shadow Puppet” here.