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VISA ISSUES [2021] - A Review

By: Trevor Brooks

Vicy (Any Ferreiras) is an aspiring young actor who got her visa approved and is able to relocate to Los Angeles. When she announced her visa approval to her friends, her boyfriend Alex (Robert Feldmaier) remained skeptical of the approved application. There’s a reason why the film title is ‘Visa Issues’, directed by Sushil Jakhwal, his directional debut.

Vicy gets into a fight with Alex when he felt that the application was suspiciously approved quick by a Russian sponsor. Vicy felt slighted by her boyfriend’s lack of support and decides to continue her dream pursuits to Los Angeles anyway. Vicy’s naivety leads her to being kidnapped and Alex goes out to rescue her.

The storyline is not anything out of the ordinary in terms of its use as a plot device, where it takes a very old-school template of damsel in distress, and male hero comes to save the day. However, credit is given to where credit is due to the writer Robert Feldmaier who played the hero male Alex as the lead role in the short film.

Robert’s script has led this short film to eleven short film festival selections, which speaks to the work ethic he has put in to bring out his creative side to put his ideas into pen and paper. Being one of only two of his writing credits, there is potential to be seen for the up-and-coming actor who is paying his dues by investing his time to make his short films with other passionate crew members.

In terms of audio, it sounds like what a typical amateur filmmaker would sound. The audio mixing is generally backed by an instrumental beat that plays to play up some of the dramatic arcs of certain scenes, such as the first meeting of the Russian sponsor, to the fight scene with Alex and the bad guys.

Speaking of the fight scene, choreography could have been tighter or more realistic as the fight seems rather robotic and staged, something that resembles a classic fighting game like Virtua Fighter. The sound effects of each fisticuff is exaggerated and often distracting to the serious ordeal of the situation involved in the fight scene. But to take budget and time constraints into consideration, it is understandable how much time they may have had to rehearse and choreograph, as well as getting everyone together to shoot a challenging scene like this one.

The cinematography work is overall well done, with many camera angles capturing the essence of each scene put to work. The lighting on the kidnapping scene was nicely done to darken the mood of the situation. However, the limited lighting does show when it comes to the brighter scenes, such as shadows behind the walls of the characters playing out a conversation at a gathering at Alex and Vicy’s home. There’s not much tricks done on the camera work as it takes a conservative approach to focus on the dialogue played out with each character.

The performances of each character were rather generic for the most part and sometimes cartoonish at times, such as the Russian kidnapper’s stereotypical evil laugh at his plan putting to work. If anyone did stand out, it would be Any Ferreiras, who did her very best to help support the performances with her character. Vicy’s character was grounded and one of the more believable characters that would let the audience into her performance.

The bottom line, the efforts put into making a 20+ minute short film show that they are all aspiring actors and crew members trying to put together a passion project to gain some experience in creating films and making their rounds in the film festival circuit. By no means is the short film bad in any way. Rather it is an inspiration for those involved and paying their dues in the film industry. Could the plot be more interesting? Yes. Could the fight choreography be better? Yes. Could the acting be more believable? Yes. But it is a good start for those involved in taking the steps of making something out of nothing, and to be proud of having a final cut in their portfolios. This is an example of what passionate filmmaking is all about.

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