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Terminus: UNF Student-Made Films Reviewed

Andy Moser

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These four films competed for honors at Terminus, a national competition from June 22-25 in Atlanta, after winning Campus MovieFest earlier this year. Some of these films were awarded at the competition but these are my takes on the short films. 

Film: College.

By: Levi Jawara

College. is a comedy that will hit any student close to home.

After oversleeping, a student struggles in a race against the clock to travel from his apartment to the campus in order to make it to his exam. The adventure that ensues breathes comedic life into an experience that college students likely know all too well.

Jawara successfully captures the chaos that goes hand-in-hand with this scenario and turns it into a film that will leave an audience both laughing and sympathizing with the student in distress, all without uttering a single word.

Even though it runs a bit longer than necessary, due to perhaps a few too many shots of the same speeding car, College. is hilarious and fun with a twist at the end that takes full advantage of the suspense it induces.

Sails: 4/5


Film: Cake

By: James Donlon

Cake has potential. The film was the first runner-up for Best Comedy in the 2017 Campus MovieFest Golden Tripod Awards.

Donlon’s film is capably made, but lacks a cohesive direction in storytelling. The film seems to have something to say, but ricochets from point to point too erratically in order to gain a sound understanding of the main idea.

Invoking themes of life and death, even in a lighthearted way, is always a hefty task for a filmmaker.  It takes a strong story for the audience to respond and for it to work.

Unfortunately, Cake doesn’t quite get there due to a breakneck pace that could leave the audience stranded wondering what just happened.

The idea is there. There’s a point to be made. However, Cake crumbles under the weight of its central question.

Sails: 2.5/5


Film: Luminous

By: Connor Dolby

Luminous is expertly crafted with a style that exceeds expectations, and rightfully so as it was honored as Campus Moviefest’s Best Drama at Terminus. It also won the 2017 Campus MovieFest Golden Tripod Awards for Best Sound, first runner-up for Best Cinematography, and second runner-up for Best Directing.

Dolby shows his knowledge of the fundamentals and will have viewers seeing everything he intends for them to see. The film is well-acted, especially the emotionally distant lead investigator. This is a familiar character not often seen played by someone so young, but he is authentic nonetheless.

The film benefits from professional quality sound, special effects, and even props that give the impression of a budget that may be slightly larger than other films at this level. The progression is stable, cohesive, and shows an understanding of what the audience will anticipate.

The investigator is diligent but is not always there to save the day which causes his mind to drift into a regretful state.

Luminous could have used more insight into the character for some emotional heft, but it counterbalances by the proficient handling of its bleak, adult subject matter.

Sails: 4.5/5


Film: Maverick

By: Lee Giat

Science fiction is an ambitious genre to pursue. Usually requiring a significant financial investment for high-quality equipment and effects, it’s not something one would typically expect to see at the student level.

Instead of backing down from the film’s enormous aspirations, Giat uses this opportunity to showcase his creativity. Maverick has the genuine feel of a sci-fi movie. It has a great foundation for a story that it mostly follows through on.

Plot holes do exist that work against the film’s logic. For example, the viewers are made to believe that the main character, Maverick, gets blown up along with her plane right as she achieves her goal. Then, she’s immediately shown coming in for a smooth landing without any understanding of what happened in between the two events that allowed her to land safely.

The film is only adequately acted, and it’s plagued by various audio issues where the characters’ mouths don’t match the words coming out of them. But overall, Maverick is a satisfying adventure with some truly out-of-this-world shots on display.

Sails: 3/5


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Terminus: UNF Student-Made Films Reviewed