From kids shooting terrorists to a monster slowly preying on its victims to a sister losing her beloved brother – these were just a few of the plot lines of the 28 films reviewed at The Laurie Nelson Film Festival this year. LNFF is an annual film festival put on by volunteers to highlight the student filmmakers in the SAS middle and high school.
The first film that caught my eye was titled “Manifestation” and was made by senior Idil Evren. This short film starts off with a particularly naive, tenacious girl sharing with her friends a Creepypasta, an Internet horror story by the name of “Manifestation.” The next day, after she shared it with all of her friends, each friend, and finally herself, is killed by the monster the story described.
From a distance, looking at the broad plot, you might go, “Eh, generic… lame,” and it could’ve been so at many different points, but it managed to keep it together brilliantly.
The monster who eventually appeared later on was definitely terrifying. Sure, it wasn’t Hollywood CGI material, but it was enough to make you go, “Oh crap,” which is really good for an student film.
The actors themselves seemed at their best and there wasn’t a scene that wasn’t believable or flat-out ridiculous as some large-budget horror films are (think “Paranormal Activity”). A majority of the lines spoken didn’t seem outlandish or too cliche either.
The second film, “The Last Game,” was about a video gamer who goes to sleep after a long night of video gaming only to find himself awoken in his video game world on a task to find and stop terrorists from blowing up the city… solo.
As I pointed to with the last film, you would normally turn on your “cliche” sirens when you look at the broad plot and then run away in an absolute fury. And there were definitely all sorts of cliches, no doubt about it, but the entirety of the film was made and done by middle school kids, so for them, this was a pretty good film.
Other than that, I loved the film, and it’s a good omen that more and more youth are getting into film. If I were a teacher, it’d receive my honorary “A.”
The final film that caught my attention was titled “Regret.” It was produced by senior Wooho Kim and starred Amelia Rasekhy. This film was about a girl coping with her brother’s unknown illness that sends him into a coma. She then must go through the emotional challenges that one normally would in that circumstance.
Towards the end, she decides on a whim to go to her brother’s hospital room (somehow breaking through security…?), pulls out a guitar, and starting singing to him.
He then flatlines after she finishes and the film ends.
This scene was odd and didn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the film, simply because it wasn’t very realistic. But other than the film’s cruel treatment of the brother and the nurse towards the end, it did have a nice start with a story of sibling relationships… or at least good ones.
The Laurie Nelson Film Festival was a definite thumbs-up for these three films, and it showcased promising young filmmakers who we can look forward to seeing more from next year.