Watch Kids' Reviews of
SELMA (2024)

What to know: The film's message is about the repercussions of being bullied.
SELMA (2024) is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 8-12
5 minutes
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SELMA (2024) cover image
The first time I started to watch this video I was shocked because it seems to be about campus violence. But then, there is a twist. Rizz Thomas (William) is initially portrayed as a bullied and submissive character, but by the end of the film, William's image is reversed and he becomes a somewhat paranoid character.

William comes to a new school after changing three cities and five schools. William was always excluded by classmates in the classroom. When he plays cards with other kids, William is chased because he won against the classmates. They surround William in the corner, there is an accident and William hits his head on the bricks. Then the film reverses, rewinding to the moment William first enters the school. William's classmates do not bully William, which seems to be the fantasy of William's second personality - William's first personality thinks that he is bullied and his second personality comes out to protect William and take revenge measures. William's friend tells him about his secret and tells William not to tell anyone, William agrees and they hug each other. But the next day almost everyone knows the secret and the reverse camera captures William grinning an evil smile as he hugs his friend.

This short film is made by a middle school student. The plot of the story seems to be inconsistent, because it happens so suddenly, which made me a little confused. The scene where William hugs his friend uses a close-up shot to capture the characters' expressions. The changes in William's expressions and the help of filter effects give the film a strange style. I thought the quality of the camerawork to be quite good and definitely suitable for exhibition. The background music contains a large number of percussion instruments, which creates a tense atmosphere when they chase after each other by bicycle. However, the background music is too strong. I don't like is that the same background music keeps playing over and over again. It's annoying. There are visual effects at the end of the film, the visual effect of reversing colors is cool and surprising. My favorite scene is the close-up shot at the end of the film, where the visual effects are so creepy.

The film's message is about the repercussions of being bullied. William has no friends after being bullied and hence, the fantasy in his mind is reversed. Be aware that It shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate.

I give Selma 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Changyang L., KIDS FIRST!

Selma is a challenging short that stayed with me. At first, I was unsure about how I felt about the bullying, but then the tables turned and I felt conflicted about the sci-fi elements that are introduced. I like the film, and I think it introduces great premises for classroom talking points or for parent/child discussions.

A boy is being bullied by his middle school classmates and spends much of his school time figuring out how to avoid his tormentors. At the end of the film a secret that he is keeping is revealed and the tables turn.

I like that the actor, Rizz Thomas, is also the writer and that this 11-year-old brings a story to light that occurs in schools -- bullying. Although the resolution doesn't 'fix' the problem, the idea of using magic as 'payback' is interesting, super scary and creative. The cinematography is great; close-ups, drone shots, and chase scenes are believable and suspenseful. Everyday clothing for middle school kids is perfect for the story. School yard locations are used in Selma, which is totally appropriate. The music sets up the emotion in this film. I thought it was clever that, after the opening scene, when the actor proclaims, "I tried to fit in, I really did." the title appears with a synthesizer sound of "Ha, ha, ha, ha." I noticed it on the second viewing. More variation could have been used in the running scenes, but for a five minute film, there is enhanced suspense thanks to the theme.

The visual effects are very useful in the end to reinforce the feeling that something strange is going on with this boy. Also, these effects tell me that someone is doing their homework with his editing program. All the actors depict their characters well. William narrates his own character and garners complete sympathy with his viewers. The bullies, Anthony, Nicholas, Josh and Ansh play their part in the plot to 'get rid of' William quite well. The quick turn-about-is-fair-play places most of the drama in a new perspective -- all in the hands of William's character. Harrison J. Thomas is an accomplished film maker, musician and actor at age 11. His crew is equally impressive. One of the best parts of this film is toward the end when William comes back to life to continue the expose of his unique character.

The film's message is that bullying is a problem and magical thinking won't solve the problem, but mischief makers can have fun trying to do so. Be aware that it has nudity and a small bit of gore at the end, as represented on its poster, which shows William with a brick and a bloody head. It also is an expose on the meanness that can occur when children bully another child.

I give Selma 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. I would put Selma in the 'child horror' category, but it also qualifies in educational, science fiction and student films.

Reviewed by Nancy K., KIDS FIRST!

Arriving at Selma Primary intent on a fresh start, old patterns re-emerge as William attempts to escape his troubled past. Selma is written, directed, edited, scored and starring 11 year-old Rizz Thomas.
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