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Professor Matt Toronto’s “The Pact,” A Story of Brotherhood and Love

Brothers Grant (Neil Brookshire) and Ancel (Aaron Toronto) Fox make a pact, no, “The Pact“, swearing off females for a year in this short film directed by Penn State School of Theatre professor Matt Toronto. Written along with his brother, Aaron, who also stars in the film, and a little help from his wife Jordan, it was based off of a real pact that the Toronto brothers had made during their college days. Filmed in Brookings, South Dakota, “The Pact” has been shown at 13 festivals and is now being screened at the State Theatre.

The Fox brothers, both fresh off of some bad breakups and slightly intoxicated at their pub of preference, Jim’s Tap, seal their pact with blood on a napkin that’s framed by their favorite “bar wench,” Jackie (Jordan Toronto). While Ancel wants to back out after sobering up overnight and awaking in his new bed, rather, his brother’s living room sofa, Grant stays strong despite a seemingly endless line of women that find him all the more appealing as a result of his renouncement of any involvement with the opposite sex.

Ancel isn’t so lucky, struggling to break the pact more and more with each day, as the magical blood oath sends endless obstacles in his direction to thwart any attempt at sexual promiscuity, even when he attempts to acquire the services of a prostitute. He does face some temptation in the form of their attractive new neighbor, Charlie (Nika Ericson), who seems to be falling for Ancel over the course of the movie — but it also seems that Grant is falling for her.

Labeled a bromantic comedy, a rising genre that’s similar to the standard romcom but instead focuses on a relationship between two heterosexual males, “The Pact” is just as much about the brotherhood of Grant and Ancel as it is about their attempts to avoid their sexual inclinations. When a female comes between them, they begin to recognize that their pact is more about each other and their relationship then staving off females.

“The Pact” is good for a few laughs, its humor drawing from the realistic situation that the Fox brothers find themselves in after getting dumped and the emotions that come with it. The characters are believable, even the stereotypical stalker/co-worker Joanne (Kira Hawkins) who torments Grant to no end. Hawkins is a Penn State graduate student studying in the School of Theatre. The film’s production designer, Renee Kredell, is one of the school’s professors along with Matt.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to make it to the State Theatre yet, be sure to catch one of the final five showings of “The Pact”, either at 4 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. today, or at one of the same times on Wednesday which will also have an additional 10 p.m. screening. You can view the Penn State promo for the film here, as well as the official trailer here. You can purchase tickets on the State Theatre’s website or at their box office.

About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.


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