Belizean Short Film ‘Payday’ Comes Up Short

Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer

My journey to review films from all over the Caribbean has taken me to Belize and 2020 drama short Payday. The film tells the story of a young boy who discovers his father is a corrupt individual who bribes his way out of any situation. It was part of the STOMPING OUT CORRUPTION, KICKING IN TRANSPARENCY (SOCKIT) Program and funded by the US Embassy Belize CARSI Grant (Love Foundation). So while it is something of a glorified PSA it is still very bad even with that caveat.

Written, directed, edited and produced by Emile Mena, Payday has a couple of things going for it. And when I say “couple”, I mean literally two. Travis Roberson is entertaining as the sleazy Michael Calloway and some of the Fair Use music choices are cool. That’s it. The plot if dull as dishwater as almost all of the film is Michael driving around with his son bribing people until he gets his comeuppance. Now this could have been more interesting if some of the people refused, creating a “will they, won’t they”, tension but EVERYBODY gives in until the end. I hate to rag on young actors but Mikhail Matus, who plays Michael’s son, is flatter than pancake run over by a steamroller. And both his awkward anti-corruption messaging and constant inner monologuing are almost unintentionally funny. Almost.

Oh, and the editing is so rough and jerky you would wonder if Mena was being attacked by a swarm of ants while in the editor’s room. As I said above, it’s technically a PSA so it didn’t have to be Citizen Kane, but it also didn’t have to be this lacklustre.

Editor Jules’s Score: 3 out of 10

You can watch Payday for yourself by clicking here. And you can check out way better Caribbean short film content below:

DOGGIE DAY AFTERNOON: TT SHORT ‘POTHOUND’ CHARMS
ALTO VISTA IS AN IMPACTFUL SHORT (ARUBA)
HEART OF A MONSTER IS AN ENTRANCING TALE (CURACAO)
B0FC059B-BBEE-47CF-90E4-D588C1BACD93

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.