No Toy Left Behind: Benny Davis and “G.I. Jack”

When a bully steals his favorite action figure, a daring middle schooler resorts to breaking and entering in an attempt to get it back, discovering a mortifying secret in the process. A short film from writer/director Benny Davis, G.I. Jack resurrects the classic over-the-top charm of a child’s adventure while infusing wry heart.

Starring local actor Evan Huit as the intrepid aggrieved and bringing in Ringling College sophomore Jeremy Teran as the middle school bully (“We shaved him and he looked like an 8th grader.”), Davis rounds out the cast with a small supporting role for Michael Campion, who has since gone on to star in the Netflix series Fuller House.

Semi-based on a true story, Davis remembers being bullied in school and having to confront his tormentor over a particular theft. “But I didn’t break into anyone’s house,” he clarifies. He did, however, get his stuff back. Another key influence in capturing the larger-than-life story was a childhood watching James Bond films. “A lot of that you can hear in the music,” says Davis, which was composed by Micah Brill.

“I’m not really the kind of filmmaker who wants to change the world,” says Davis. “I just want to tell a fun story and that’s hopefully what I did.” He thinks for a moment, perhaps visiting some distant playground of the mind. “But it was a fun take on a bullied kid’s revenge.”

G.I. Jack screens April 9 at 10:45am with the Shorts 16 block as part of Youthfest.

Pictured: Benny Davis. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

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