Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer
When I play with my children we throw a ball around, build a tower with blocks or race toy cars. When screenwriter, actor and producer Teneille Newallo (The Cutlass, Bazodee, Sampson’s Heart, Mangroves) plays with her six-year-old daughter Bren Newallo Badal they make a movie together. Man, I need to up my game!
Background: The Monster is a dark fantasy short film directed by Bren and co-written by her and her mother. It was released on YouTube on October 31 (for Halloween). Teneille on her Facebook page explained that the idea to make a film with her daughter came during Sunday morning play:
As usual, she proceeded to tell me exactly where we were, what we were doing, what was happening; and also who I was supposed to be. The only thing missing was ‘action’. Being a filmmaker, I suggested she direct a movie and she was thrilled with the idea.
She recalled they then spent 20 minutes writing a script and “with the help of her father, the rest of the day filming this movie around Trinidad and in an abandoned house, on my Xiaomi phone.” Teneille said that it was meant to be a fun day and she wanted to show her daughter what it is like to make a film from beginning to end.
She stressed it was not planned and it is certainly not intended to be a professional film, but her daughter is quite proud of it. She then provided a disclaimer with four points, including that it was edited on a free, glitchy video editor and there was no real sound mix, and everything was shot in within two or three quick takes “to avoid the risk of six-year-old boredom”.
Editor’s Note: I know that was more context than I usually provide for my reviews, and might seem excessive for a film that runs just over five minutes, but I think the background is important and interesting so there we are. Now on to the review!
Review: The Monster follows a woman named Talina who is being chased by an unseen monster. She encounters a mysterious witch who turns her into a child to help protect her from the creature. The story plays like a fairy tale, though with light touches of horror. And I had a fun time with it.
Teneille is delightfully creepy as the witch and Bren delivers an energetic and entertaining performance. And despite all the caveats the film is competently done, which shows that talent and creativity can help elevate any project over logistical hurdles. Colour me impressed.
So if you have a few minutes to kill and want to see a cool little film directed by a very talented young lady then you can watch The Monster by clicking here. And do give them a like and drop a comment.
And you can check out more great TT short film content below:
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.