The 36th edition of Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival has some incredible short film programs, all grouped into themes. This time we choose to explore “WWYD (What Would You Do?) 2020“, where emerging filmmakers reflect on difficult decisions in life and dare to ask the question “What Would You Do?”

‘The Quiet’

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Radheya Jegatheva surprises you with his 10 minute short film, ‘The Quiet‘. The Perth based Australian filmmaker created an animated universe that tells the story of an astronaut pondering on the quietude of space. He’s very self-aware, but while looking back at the relationship with his brother, he’ll face the truth that’s written in the stars.

Meticulously narrated by Jay Jay Jegathesan (‘iRony‘), ‘The Quiet‘ takes you on a visually and audibly pleasing journey, filled with colourful animation, stellar sound effects and distinct sound mixing. The talent that goes behind this type of storytelling is out of this world. From the first frame, he combines ordinary sounds with images that are out of this world. The sound of someone using a salt shaker shows stars appearing on a black sky. Or what about turning on a stove and right when the fire appears, some sort of big bang happens. Ingenious top shelf storytelling that goes deeper than you’d expect. ‘The Quiet‘ is made with such precise detail, it could easily qualify for the biggest awards in the industry. Just like Jegathesan’s astronaut says at the start of the film, “Silence is the most beautiful thing that exists in the universe“, it can also be the most terrifying thing in the universe. That’s exactly how Jegatheva plays with our mind, by turning his story upside down. In space you don’t know what’s up or down anyway. Without a doubt, a rising star to follow.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘The Other Side’

Days before his 18th birthday, Abel finds himself about to age out of his orphanage, which means leaving his younger brother behind. When a prospective adopting couple threatens to break their relationship apart, the brothers wrestle with waiting for a dream that may never be fulfilled.

Inspired by a true story, ‘The Other Side‘ never strikes an emotional chord to pull you in. The reason for that is the unbalanced way of how the story is being portrayed. Technically, there’s not much to fault, besides the score that’s ill-fitting and would feel more at home in a thriller. The cinematography is clean and feels natural considering the topic of the film, giving you more the feeling as if this was some sort of documentation of Abel’s real life. Unfortunately, the performances aren’t strong enough to deliver the heavier scenes in which these two brothers confront each other physically about their own beliefs. Abel (Ethan Herisse – ‘When They See Us‘), bitter because he no longer believes there’s a chance for him to get adopted into a better life, is the total opposite of his younger brother, Kiya (Adonai Kelelom), who’s innocence is still intact. Jealous of that untouched innocence, Abel teases his brother up to the point of beating him. These are subjects that should hit harder than they did in Josh Leong‘s sophomore short. The direction isn’t as strong as I had hoped, unnecessarily jumping back and forth in time one too many times.

For a film that’s only 17 minutes long, ‘The Other Side‘ fails to leave a lasting impression. There’s some interesting ideas, but cohesive it is not. A missed opportunity, that could benefit from a longer runtime to fully explore the connection between these two orphaned brothers.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Quiet and The Other Side both screen as part of LAAPFF’s Short Program, “WWYD (What Would You Do) 2020”.
This program is only available to viewers in Southern California (excluding San Diego County) from October 1, 2020 at 12pm PT to October 31, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. 
More information can be found HERE

LAAPFF Short Film Review – ‘The Quiet’ & ‘The Other Side’

The Quiet

Reviewed online (screener provided by LAAPFF), September 29, 2020. Rating: TBC. Running time: 10 min.

PRODUCTION: Co-producers: Jegatheva Jegathesan, Radheya Jegatheva.

CREW: Director/editing/cinematography/score: Radheya Jegatheva. Screenplay: Jegatheva Jegathesan, Radheya Jegatheva.

WITH: Jegatheva Jegathesan.

The Other Side

Reviewed online (screener provided by LAAPFF), September 30, 2020. Rating: TBC. Running time: 17 min.

PRODUCTION: A The Mill production. Producers: Sofia Bara, Bemnet Yemesgen. Executive producer: Khalil El-Ghoul, Jonathan Ferguson, Augustine Hong, Sounil Yu.

CREW: Director/screenplay/editing: Josh Leong. Cinematography: Tom Ingwersen. Score: Gavin Brivik, Sam Gryzwa.

WITH: Ethan Herisse, Wayna, Adonai Kelelom.

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