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KTV Film Festival: Voiceless

Written and directed by Anastasia Panich, Voiceless tells the story of Toby, who wakes up on a Saturday morning trying to piece together the previous night. He doesn’t remember anything, but from pictures, videos and posts on social media, it seems like he has done something he would rather forget about. His life is about to be completely changed, as a girl he met at the party publicly accuses him of sexual assault. From the first hours of the day, his community of friends begins to turn on him for what he is said to have done. Toby feels defenceless, but confident, having no memories of the events of the night before. Only flashes of that night keep coming back to his mind, enough for him to believe his own innocence. But the videos he gets sent might contain the answer he is looking for, with all the consequences the truth carries.

Voiceless was extremely well executed. It is a culmination of amazing accomplishments in acting, with the stunning and daring performance of Elliot Cable, the beautiful cinematography by Tyler Hamblin, the extremely professional post-production graphics, and the captivating score by Bishwas Gurung.

Produced by Sara Anttila and Beth Matthews, Voiceless tackles an important subject in our society as well as in the student community. However, it doesn’t feel like it is adding much to the discourse, and maybe could have taken more advantage of the freedom that student films and independent films give to writers and directors. It also wasn’t clear to me who the title is referring to, as both sides of the controversy are shown as extremely vocal on social media and heard by the people who first attack Toby, than defend him when new evidence is discovered.

There are hints throughout the film at systemic female shaming, as the girl is referred to as a bitch, liar and is said to have constructed everything to cheat on her boyfriend; she is a drunk slut and is known to have done this before. Toby on the other hand is seen as the overconfident man, certain that he could never do anything bad. Probably unable to control his drunken self, but unwilling to admit it; he never doubts his righteousness even though he has no memory of what happened. Voiceless closes hinting at blackmailing and cover-up of key evidence, but it probably should have elaborated on Toby’s reactions, response and character more and continue the character’s arc.

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