With October come and gone, the Orlando International Film Festival has reached a close and one Bradenton filmmaker returns home with the award for Most Outrageous film, beating out over 200 other films from teams across the country
The Sunny Side, a short written, directed and shot by Trishul Thejasvi of Orensis Films, produced by Bradenton filmmaker JB Whirtley and starring local actor John O’Keefe who also co-produced, documents the tragicomic milestones of one man’s life. Beginning with a curious child, Thejasvi deftly brings the audience through the pivotal developmental moments – some happy, some sad, but always with a playful wink – and the reactions to these moments that ultimately define a person and a life.
“Since I was a kid [filmmaking] was pretty much all I cared about,” said Thejasvi, whose first instinct was to be an actor, then later a stuntman when he realized they got to do all the “really cool stuff,” before turning to writing and directing. “Basically I became a self-taught filmmaker, learning as much as I could.”
Forgoing film school and without a film community in his native Wales, Thejasvi cut his teeth shooting music videos in the Caribbean (“It was like the Apocalypse Now of film school. I learned so much.”), before attending film school in London and then moving to Bradenton and creating Orensis Films.
Years later, Thejasvi’s control of his craft is on full display with The Sunny Side, and the result is among the most professional-looking work to come out of the area. The epitome of ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ Thejasvi utilizes creative callbacks and confident staging to form characters and weave his narrative using only minimal dialogue, yet keeps the audience on-pace and engaged. Though the actors perform admirably and no film is the work of a single individual, it’s hard not to see Thejasvi as the grand architect.
“It’s only 8 minutes, but it’s a pretty ambitious 8-minute film,” said Whirtley, who took a break from his own film Bullet of Madness to help Thejasvi. “Trishul is a type of filmmaker that really understands the language of cinema and The Sunny Side establishes him as a great visual artist.”
Outwardly light and fun, the opening alone (an oblivious farmer’s commercial gone hilariously wrong) let’s you know that you’re here to have a good time, but as the story concludes and we see this life writ small, it’s not difficult to see there’s more to the film than laughs. Rich in theme and visual motif, The Sunny Side denotes a mature filmmaker further coming into his own.
Clean and trim, The Sunny Side marks Thejasvi as a filmmaker to watch.