Straight from the Santa Monica College Film Program is Ink, written by Alci Rengifo and director Osvaldo Ozuna. The 13-minute short starts with a mother and a son being separated by ICE officers. The boy, Dominik (Alexis Cervantes), reacts with anger as his mom is being lifted into the air and dragged away.
Years later, the now-teenage Dominik is living with Johanna (Julia Arteaga). As the days go on, Dominik is haunted by his mom’s forceful arrest, but he cannot recall her face. This leads him to break down in anger. To recall what she looks like, Dominik begins drawing her. Will the drawing help the teen find closure, or will he lose one of the most important memories he has?
The prologue of Ink immediately grabs one’s attention. The ferocity with which the mom and son try to stay together says all it needs to about how close they are. The sudden cut to the title is shocking, in a good way. The rest of the plot never wavers, and the finale delivers where it matters.
“…Dominik is haunted by his mom’s forceful arrest, but he cannot recall her face.”
Cervantes expertly conveys his character’s frustrations. He never goes over the top, keeping the emotions grounded and relatable. Arteaga is superb as the woman who wishes to help Dominik but isn’t sure how.
The direction keeps things moving nicely. The way the flashes of Dominik’s mom invade the screen without warning mirrors how his memories of her strike him without warning. Admittedly, an important newscast at the end is hard to hear due to a different conversation also taking place. But this is a minor issue, as every other aspect is marvelous.
Ink is a strong start from fresh faces on the indie scene. Rengifo and Ozuna showcase true human empathy within their screenplay. Ozuna directs with a steady hand and keeps all watching invested. Cervantes and Arteaga handle the emotional material with ease, generating sympathy for their characters.
"…a strong start from fresh faces on the indie scene."