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The Independent Critic

Russ Camarda, Katherine Barron, Dan Brennan, Donna DeCianni
Steven Goldberg
Lee Kolinsky
26 Mins.


 "Bullified" a Thought-Provoking Short Film 

Riley Samuel (Russ Camarda) is a lifelong bully turned career criminal who has spent his lifetime intimidating and exploiting everyone for just about any reason. 

He's nobody's friend. 

Now, his lifetime full of bad choices is about to catch up with him. With the help of criminal psychologist Dr. Staci Brennan (Katherine Barron), Riley must confront the choices of his childhood and the choices that he's made just as he's about to receive a sentence related to his ultimate crime. 

Written by Lee Kolinsky and directed by Steve Goldberg, the 25-minute short film Bullified is an emotionally compelling and intellectually stimulating film that manages to ask difficult questions in a remarkably short timespan yet never feels rushed nor dragged out. Russ Camarda gives a quietly distressing performance that is all the more jarring because it is neither histrionic nor overly sympathetic. Camarda's soul searching is deeply felt yet develops naturally. Camarda is matched note for note by the underplayed yet simmering performance by Katherine Barron as Dr. Brennan, a woman whose story evolves in ways both expected and unexpected. 

Tech credits are generally solid throughout the film, though the film is infinitely more involving during the 1:1 scenes between Russ and Dr. Brennan than during the periodic flashback sequences that ultimately serve to drag the film down dangerously close to melodrama. D.P. Sean King's lensing is intimate without being invasive, As a bit of a fun fact, Twisted Sister bandmember Mark Mendoza makes an appearance in the film as one of the police officers. 

Filmed in Long Island, Bullified will have its premiere at the Long Island International Film Expo before kicking off its festival run where its prospects should be solid with an involving story wrapped around a timely social justice issue. For more information on the film, visit the film's website. 

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic