Critic's Corner: UCF student film 'Tucker'
I am often weary of films that utilize GoPros in their cinematography. The wide-angle lens and relatively high frame-rate are easily recognizable traits that typically signal to the audience: “We needed to shoot underwater.” Even trickier is making a film that consists entirely of GoPro camerawork, as this is a film that is inherently “not cinematic.”
However, Joshua Evangelista, a UCF Film BFA student working under the nom de plume “J. Ellis Evans,” has successfully crafted a short film that uses this gimmick to challenge what we would typically expect from digital filmmaking. Tucker is a film that takes place entirely from the perspective of a young woman’s loyal companion. Evans wants the audience to experience the world as though we were looking through the eyes of a dog. We play as Tucker, eat as Tucker, even growl as Tucker. The immersive quality of the film’s first-person perspective makes us believe we are Tucker the dog, without anyone else in the film convincing us otherwise.
Tucker is a story about companionship, but it is also a story about jealousy. The film uses the lens of Tucker’s eyes to view a young woman’s relationship unfold. Tucker is jealous, but he is also protective and often acts out for the sake of his owner. Though its form is simple, this film explores complex themes about freedom and possessiveness in relationships. It makes us question the aspects within ourselves that are inherently human, and wants us to ask if we are somehow better than animals for having those traits. What does it really mean to be human? What does it mean to be man’s best friend?
Tucker is J. Ellis Evans’ second directorial effort in the film program at UCF. A shockingly creative manipulation of the form of digital filmmaking, it helps establish his voice and perspective as a young filmmaker. The film is being featured as part of the monthly Film Slam festival this Sunday, June 12 at the Enzian Theater in Maitland. It is the only UCF film being featured in a festival where audience participation determines a film’s success, and it highly deserves your attendance and votes. This is a great opportunity for UCF students to go out and support local filmmaking, particularly to help fellow Knights continue being successful in their wonderfully creative endeavors.
Patrick Garcia-Jurado is a fifth-year BFA film major at UCF.