Here at The Indiependent, a great element of our remit revolves around promoting all things “independent”. With that in mind it is paramount that the film section is able to recognise filmmaking talent not just within the realm of Hollywood and other mainstream cinema. A few months ago I was invited to watch a screening of a short film entitled Screwdriver, written and directed by Dylan Mascis and Natalya Micic, whilst also being shot by our former film editor Levi Eddie Aluede. Now the time has come for the film to be released, therefore a review of the film seems like a necessary way to discuss and promote this fine piece of independent, ambitious filmmaking.
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Leading by example
The film’s plot revolves around Michael, a young gay man simply trying to find his feet at yet another new school, and he is brilliantly portrayed by Kent Ibe, a young actor of Nigerian descent, yet another way in which the filmmakers aim to encourage diversity in their productions. Whilst in the few first scenes of the film it isn’t initially easy to really buy into Michael as a likeable character, Ibe’s performances goes from strength to strength as the plot unfolds and he truly begins to command the screen as the film reaches its climactic end, allowing the audience to resonate with the film due to a powerful and emotive performance.
Furthermore, the film’s subject matter, tackling issues like homophobia, coming out and mental health, embraces a conversation most directors are arguably fearful of due to audience reaction. The fact that young filmmakers can produce films of this mould without any fear of judgement is a testament to the fact the upcoming generation of talent are ushering in a new age of tolerance and diversity still so rarely on display in today’s cinema, and for this they deserve great plaudits.
Another standout aspect of the film revolves in its achievement of making a film that is entirely shown in split-screen, a feat rarely, if ever seen in mainstream filmmaking. Of course the creativity behind this is to be applauded, but much of the success of this lies with Aluede, who exudes confidence and unique style in his cinematography, taking much inspiration from a number of major directors’ work, an ode to the fact that often Hollywood can still inspire new talent and help form tastes that result in stylish cinema.
Whilst there may be some elements of inexperience on display throughout the film’s 30 minute runtime, such as the initial inability to connect with the character Michael as much as one might hope and perhaps a slight rushing in the film’s tempo, these are minor issues that take little away from the extent of the impact of Screwdriver. The film is emotive, powerful and at times hard to watch, a feat certainly deemed more impressive by the filmmaker’s fearless use of important societal issues and unique stylistic tendencies. The Future First production company has got off to a flying start with a breathless and ambitious short that only ceases to make the excitement for the future projects greater.
Words by Elliott Jones