Young Vincentian Filmmakers Present: Our True Story
It was a heartwarming experience to view, on YouTube, the culmination of several young Vincentians’ cinematic endeavors as embodied in their recently premiered indie film, Our True Story.
Alpha Entertainment in association with XO Jay Entertainment collaborated on the 55 minutes homegrown sequel that was written, directed and edited by Javed DeSouza.
The yarn that DeSouza ultimately chose to weave revolves around a group of young adults; two of whom are particularly tested and tried through the movie, several times at gunpoint.
Our True Story is a dramatic presentation that carries some borderline romantic undertones. The project featured several cameo appearances and (hopefully well exploited) product placement opportunities. Not surprising, in the least, the project boasted a zero-budget and was therefore conceptualized and executed from a minimalist’s approach.
Though the elements worked fairly well together on screen, the relative naivety of the creators is not hard to spot. The good news – providing that the foundation that they have begun to construct is properly nurtured – the sky’s literally the beginning of their limit.
For the purposes of this review we have ranked our observations as either praises or redeemable sins.
DaSouza’s treatment of his thematic concerns – rape, violence in society, men in society, parenting – failed to delve much beyond the superficial. This was due, in part, to the lack of attention paid to the natural development of each character’s arc.
We could not quite connect with Mr. Davis’ (Hayden Billingy) perspective in what should have been an emotionally engaging exposition between his callus father and Xariel Quintyne’s portrayal of a twice wronged teenaged daughter (Nathalie). The believable moments shared between the two become somewhat skewered because the penultimate ‘why?’ never gets answered.
Who kicks out a teenaged daughter for a pregnancy she decided to keep even though the child was conceived at gun point? Moreover, why does she decide to take that fetus to full term?
A watchful director must keep an eye out for that elusive combination of on-screen chemistry (romantic and platonic) that helps to, not only draw us in but, take us along on the story’s quest. The director of photography, too, must weigh in to ensure that each frame captures precisely what the story needs to share its testimony – continuity intact.
So, when the hero is being genuinely praised for his sense of propriety – even if it’s for keeping his room clean – show us why we should believe he is praiseworthy. Be mindful too, when on open sets, of unscripted background ‘actors’ especially in frames that bring a particular savagery to the plot.
And when a dinner setting is as welcomingly displayed as in Miss Hendricks’ (Lafayette Johnson’s) kitchen; visually, the payoff would be greater if the scene is properly lighted.
Additionally, fatal make up and costume errors would be corrected before the shoot wraps. Ronaldo Knights’ JJ is almost teenaged while Jay-Z Lewis’ Jay sports distinctly grey hair, yet Natalie’s hairdo remains unchanged.
The comic relief was well timed; a tad too overplayed at times, but it worked well to hold together the getting-ready-for-the-baby montage. The juxtaposition of parenting styles was well crafted and evoked the desired effect.
Seeing a single mother and son (Miss Hendricks and Jay) be so openly trusting in and supportive of each other – especially after Mr. Davis’ ill-treatment of his adopted daughter – was refreshing. That she opens her not too large home (given the distance from the kitchen sink to the front door) to a pregnant teen is a testament to the kind of virtues she worked hard to instill in her son.
He on the other hand seems intent to keep courting the near fatal relationship with Andre’s (Jasper Alexander) gun via his violently obsessive sister Shannique (Keira Barnwell).
All told the effort, though ambitious, is quite applaudable but with the potential for global success on platforms like Netflix, Hulu and the like, it is imperative that we get it right.
Alpha Entertainment promises at least 3 more major releases for 2021; one each to commemorate Halloween, SVG’s Independence Day and Christmas. These projects, DaSouza told Asbert News Network exclusively, would all work to further his company’s immediate objective – “stimulating the creative industry moreso the filmmaking sector.
This, he said, was inspired – not only – because of the growing numbers of opportunity-starved actors that now need outlets for their craft; but also his projects affords him the chance to use his voice “to address a lot of social issues.”
“The fact that we could create a positive impact on society – that is what we want… we all need a little hope right now.”