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  • Writer's picturePegasus Film Festival

The Search For the ‘Triple Decker Dilla’ Continues in Origin Pt. 2

John Kline (Aiden Call) and David Chu (Jacob Vu), the main protagonists of the Origin series.

By: Sumana Syed

(I highly suggest watching part one of Origin before reading this or just watch both parts first. It’s worth the watch, I promise.)

What do you get when you combine three aspiring student filmmakers with an appreciation for Tex-Mex cuisine? Whatever you may be thinking, it’s definitely not a short film about uncovering a government conspiracy, experiments to create artificial human soldiers, and how the answer to everything relies on the protagonist’s dead mother’s recipe for a quesadilla. And that, my friends, is exactly what Origin Pt. 2 is about.

This short film is the sequel to Origin, where we were introduced to John Kline and David Chu (portrayed by Aiden Call and Jacob Vu respectively), the son of a woman whose quesadilla recipe was stolen by the mysterious Subject_016 (Ari Wallin) and the private investigator who assists him. Part One barely scratched the surface of the story written by Call and Vu, and the exquisite shots filmed by their Director of Photography, Grant Goodrich, were only a taste of what the boys had in store for these characters. The story setup didn’t seem to hold much promise until you got to the end of the film, but the cinematography made up for it and made the story flow smoothly.

That’s where Part Two makes up for it and delivers something beyond the expectations one may have for a “high school-level” short film.

To summarize, Kline and Chu continue their investigation into Moselink Laboratories, the lab they believe to be responsible for stealing the quesadilla recipe. As the story goes on, the duo gains a lead and head towards a place where they believe Moselink scientists are keeping their evidence locked up. At the place, they come face to face with Subject_016, now referring to himself as “Zero.” He unleashes his secret weapon, which he acquired from consuming an altered version of John’s mother’s quesadilla recipe. John also takes a bite of the food, which results in Zero gaining the ability to speak to John through telepathic means. He tells John the truth about Moselink, Jenny Wood (Erin Kimball), and Dr. Campbell (Steven Arguello), as well as their experiments on human subjects to create artificial soldiers. With newfound motivation, John tracks down Campbell to exact his revenge for his mother and David, who had been killed earlier in a car accident after retrieving the evidence.

The prequel film was screened at the 2019 Dallas International Film Festival, while they were filming the sequel, and received high praise and positive feedback. With more support and motivation from fellow filmmakers and critics, the crew returned to filming with enthusiasm and wrapped up production in the summer of that year. They released the highly anticipated successor short film only two weeks ago, and it has definitely lived up to the hype—or dare I say, it exceeds the hype that they’ve built up.

To be frank, the story could’ve been more carefully developed, as there were some plot holes that weren’t fully explained as the film went on. The acting was also a bit lackluster, as some of the scenes could’ve been more powerful if the line delivery was stronger, but given that the actors weren’t professional actors or didn’t have a whole lot of prior experience, it was good for what they could do. However, the film made up for it with its impressive special effects and stellar camerawork, and the action/fight sequences were carefully choreographed to look believable and legit. The use of special effects was unexpected, to say the least, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise and made the story more interesting. Again, the story development could’ve been better leading up to that point in the plot, but it was impressive nonetheless.

Personally, I knew the boys who worked tirelessly to make this project a reality. When I started Advanced Audio/Video Production with them last year, where I was a junior and they were seniors, they constantly raved about this short film. They discussed possible shooting locations and new story developments, all while they had another commitment to worry about, which was our biweekly districtwide news broadcast. I even got to help them with filming audio, although it was only for one scene, and that was the first time I ever got to work on a film set. I learned a lot from these guys, from work ethic to taking ownership and taking pride in one’s work, which wasn’t something a teacher could teach you about. As someone who had to take their place in our broadcast after they left, I found it difficult to live up to them and what they accomplished in their senior year. However, I realized that I didn’t need to be like them or do what they did, but I needed to accomplish my own goals and take pride in my own work. I’m so grateful I got to see how they worked for myself and I got the chance to work alongside them, and I know that there’s much more to come in the future.

Watch Origin Pt.2 here.

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