Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
In my never-ending quest to promote Cariwood (Caribbean film) I came across the 592 48HR Film Challenge on the Studio Anansi website. The challenge, which is held in partnership with Bent Street Films, “is a platform for Guyanese filmmakers, content creators and students to find, develop, and share their voices and stories, and is geared toward encouraging creatives to choose visual storytelling as their medium.”
The first edition of the challenge was held in 2019 and the second edition last year at the Timehri Film Festival in Guyana. For this article, I will be reviewing the three winning 2020 edition films, all of which are about five minutes long. Let’s begin!
3rd Place: Home School by by Vishani Ragobeer
Plot: A University student navigates her seemingly infinite boredom and her lack of motivation to do “schoolwork” while on lockdown in her dorm room due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Review: We’ve all had those times of crippling boredom and had to come up with interesting ways to deal with it. For the student in Home School she battles her boredom by bouncing a ball off the wall, watching movies, and hilariously playing the card game UNO by herself. Director Vishani Ragobeer, who also stars in the film, delivers a breezy, whimsical, slice of life short. And the ending made me laugh out loud. This one was very pleasant viewing.
2nd Place: Manic by Cordell McClure
Plot: A news anchor reports that several people have gone missing, insinuating that these people have been kidnapped, and hinted at the work of a possible serial kidnapper or serial killer in the Georgetown area. After she reports this news, she rushes home and is distraught by the missing persons and the usual procedures of life in a pandemic. Suddenly, she hears a noise that frightens her and checks to see what occurred. Unfortunately, the people that were missing were closer than many thought.
Review: We go from the light to the dark with the tight little thriller Manic. Director Cordell McClure opens with the news report and then a young woman on edge, the sense of unease aided by a dramatic soundtrack. He then delivers a whopper of a twist (I won’t spoil it) and it just gets better from there. As a fan of psychological thrillers I really enjoyed this one. And there’s also a message about the importance of mental health which is timely in this pandemic.
If you’re reading this Mr McClure, I would definitely be interested in seeing a full feature on this premise.
1st Place and Audience Award: Mi Casa by Keon Hector & Dwayne Jordan
Plot: A young father struggles to find a way back home to his family amidst closed borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Review: And we saved the best for last. I can tell why Mi Casa took the number one spot as this short crime drama is like a mini movie. The year is 2025 and a Venezuelan man has been trapped in Guyana for the past five years due to the borders being closed courtesy of the pandemic. Stinking Covid again. But the man is desperate to return to his family and is willing to take major risks to accomplish this task. And he not only has to evade the authorities but some unsavoury characters as well.
This one hits the ground running (literally), slows to catch its breath and then pumps the viewer full of adrenaline until the thrilling finale. To say any more would be to go into spoilers, but I will say after watching it I was like, “Wow! That just happened!” So hats off to directors Keon Hector and Dwayne Jordan. Truly fantastic work and a fine display of talent. I look forward to seeing more.
And yeah, I’ll need a full feature on this one too. What? Mi Casa es excelente. Y quiero mas.
You can watch the 592 48HR Film Challenge films for yourself and learn more about the filmmakers on Studio Anansi by clicking here. Special thanks to Studio Anansi and Bent Street Films for facilitating the film stills. And you can check out more great Cariwood content from Red Mango Reviews below:
Barbadian cricket drama Hit For Six (7 Days of Cariwood Pt 7/7)
Terrifying Tales of The Hike, The Lagahoo, and The Unseen: FFF 2021 T&T Recap
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.