After being chased by two bullies who destroyed his bike, Ahmad searches for safety and acceptance with the neighborhood thugs who came to his rescue. Soon, their continued protection comes at a price

Produced in 2011, Clifton Archuleta directed ‘Broken Cycle’ to present it as his thesis film at Regis University. The story written by Archuleta and James F. Clark tackles a series of issues ranging from peer pressure to teen gangs, and more. After some bullies destroy his bicycle, Ahmad turns to a group of older teens that offer safety, but as he begins to feel accepted and part of the group, he quickly realizes the protection they offer has a cost that might not be worth losing his humanity and giving up his values for.

Photography is really great in this short, from the sketchy neighborhoods to the parks; Archuleta places us right next to Ahmad’s character and in the reality he lives in, with the actions he’s forced to take. The shots flow wonderfully and bring the viewer to follow the story closely, follow the character’s interpretation of events and responses, thus keeping the attention on the film without being heavily intended and still getting a message across.

Above all, what’s really been achieved in this short is that the acting really made this story work and real. Regardless of the fact that he’s never acted before participating in this project, Julien Oblette -who plays the teen boy in the movie- conveys perfectly the peer pressure he falls under and the struggles with himself when facing the realization that he needs to make a choice between doing wrong or not doing wrong. Archuleta made a great point in accentuating the moment when this happens, bringing us back to each moment in time when we were faced with a similar decision, when a decision is made, and whatever happens next is irrelevant.

Winner – Best Picture – Regis University
Official Selection Vancouver International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection Austin Film Festival 2011