I want you to think about something.
In a world where films regularly take weeks, months and, at times, even years to create, Jakob Bilinski's latest short film Lucky was shot in eight hours.
If I knew the number "eight" in any foreign languages, I'd keep going but I think you get my point.
Shot as part of a contest in Owensboro, Kentucky called "Unscripted: An Indie Film Xperience," Lucky was a winning script by Todd Martin with the prize being an actual production created by a local talent.
Jacob Bilinski is definitely local and he's definitely talented.
There were two winning scripts equaling two films to be shot and both were filmed on different floors of the library that was playing host to this very special event. As should be obvious by now, Bilinski and his cast and crew had eight hours to wrap things up.
The film stars Louisa Torres as Staci, a seemingly studious young woman who we find studying at the aforementioned library late one night when she encounters Clay (Dillon Schueller), a young man who doesn't feel quite right from his opening moments on the screen and whose intentions become more and more obvious.
Unfortunately for Clay, Staci isn't quite the young woman he expected.
As a film critic who is fiercely devoted to the indie scene, I can guarantee you that even with the technical limitations that are inherent when working with both a low-budget and within a stunningly limited time frame that Lucky is one damn fine film and far better than a good number of the indie shorts I see that have been put together with far more cash to work with and with a much longer window of time for production.
One of the joys of watching films produced within one of these time-limited contests, whether that be an 8, 24 or 48-hour competition, is that you really get a sense of a filmmaker's true gifts. In Bilinski's case, his greatest strengths may very well be his natural instincts and his ability to frame a shot that maximizes its intention whether that be suspense, thrills, comedy, horror or whatever. While I will confess that at one point I found myself thinking of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video with the way Torres moved as Staci, the truth is that even that added an energy to the production that held my attention even more.
Both Schueller and Torres are strong here, though there's no question that Torres has the meatier role and gets to have some downright fun as the ever changing and compelling Staci. Schueller's appearance as Clay is a bit more straightforward, though he did a nice job of building the tension right away and holding onto it until everything shifts.
The film's visual effects, especially given the time constraints, work quite nicely but the just over eight-minute film did lag just a bit due to some awkward blocking as the tension between the two characters builds.
Bilinski is hard at work on finishing up his latest feature film, Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh, but until then you can check out this film above this review to tide you over.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic