This short film is a joint reaction to our times by Nick Sandow and I. We follow in the lines of socially-aware directors like Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and the Dardenne brothers. This was written, rehearsed, shot and completed in three weeks under lockdown. None of us were ever in the same room but had all worked together before. It's a film that asks 'when would you willingly engage in the lie of rewriting history?’

Nick and I have a long history together from back in our theatre days with Machine Full. For his tour-de-force performance in this unedited sixteen minute monologue, he won an award from the IMDB Shorts Festival.

Press links:

FilmMaker interview

TalkHouse interview


With #WaynesvilleStrong, Tom Gilroy applies his uniquely incisive voice to a reality that urgently needs it. He and actor Nick Sandow know what it means to look at a dark corner of society and reflect it back to us as dramaturgical brio and a wake-up call to what might be just around the corner. If Upton Sinclair could envision The Jungle being as relevant to America as when it was published 114 years ago, he’d be smiling on #WaynesvilleStrong as progeny.

-- Christopher Munch, Writer/Director, The Eleventh Green

Tom Gilroy’s #WaynesvilleStrong exists outside the mostly navel-gazing genre of “quarantine cinema,” as it takes from and creates a precise moment in time, but as a work is timeless in what it has to say about the U.S., its government, and “the American Way.” A work of fiction made in May of 2020, a number of its imagined scenarios have already come true. We can only hope it isn’t confused for a documentary in the future. Impeccably directed, with a single-take performance by Nick Sandow that is as funny as it is harrowing, this deceptively simple film is a timely and classic work.

-- Jim McKay, Writer/Director, En El Septimo Dia

Wonderful, intense..it made me so anxious I had to take one of those deep breaths. Funny, sad, scary, infuriating…

-- Bette Gordon, Director, The Drowning, Variety

Our society is at an inflection point, and Tom Gilroy’s captivating #WaynesvilleStrong doesn’t just speak to now, but imagines where we could be heading. With a ‘can’t look away’ performance by Orange Is The New Black’s Nick Sandow, this tension-packed fifteen minutes is well worth watching… and heeding.

-- Harris Doran, Writer/Director, Beauty Mark

A propulsive bulletin from pandemic-land, and an exemplary showcase for writer- director Tom Gilroy’s acerbic, socially-savvy writing. How do protracted confinement and the perils of glitchy tech-bound communication affect one harried dude trapped in his basement, with major guilt and evident clutter issues lurking around his head? This film will plunge you into his vexed, ruminative, all-too-real mindset.

-- Katherine Dieckmann, Writer/Director, Strange Weather

To be intrigued, to laugh out loud, to send a shiver down your back……To turn one basement into a world. Sandow's frustration flirting with humiliation. One man's face, but a nation's fears. I am reminded of Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Easy reading is damn hard writing."

-- Paul Laverty, Screenwriter, I, Daniel Blake

As the world complains of lockdown Tom Gilroy graces our senses and challenges our intellect, throwing the doors wide open on his courageous creativity, unique voice, common sense politics, astringent humor, and beloved anger. Gilroy and actor Nick Sandow together have created a cautionary tale that might be elevated to - one election or one breath from now - prophesy.

-- Ali Selim, Writer/Director, Sweet Land

This film won’t stop playing back in my mind, pestering me with devastating and impactful questions about my own life. On a large scale, everything in #WaynesvilleStrong is where we are heading. Nico's story is the story of all of us - we have many choices ahead and most of them are not very good.

-- Matt Kohn, Director, Our Tall Man Manute Bol

Such a rare treat to see a filmmaker respond to current events in real time, and even rarer for it to be funny, enraging, horrifying, subtle and human in a mere sixteen minutes. I couldn’t take my eyes of Sandow’s single-take tour-de-force, all the while dreading where it might go.

-- Lillian LaSalle, Director, My Name Is Pedro

So good. A devastating but humorously rendered cycle of collapse and resurrection, collapse and resurrection over the course of one of those monstrous municipal calls — supersized by Covid and video functionality…

-- Kate Novack, Director, Hysterical Girl

LOVE !! A perfect short film! Sandow is award-worthy as he creates an entire character and world in one single take.

-- Russel Brown, Writer/Director, The Bluetooth Virgin

This film should remain as a document of how our leaders sent some of our most vulnerable off to the gallows for hamburger and cheap lunch meat. Meat is still murder in 2020.

-- Micheal Imperioli, Director, Hungry Ghosts