Tribeca 2018: The 716th

Things just went from bad to worse for Teer (Taj Speights), Doc (Andrew Bowen) and Scout (Lauren McFall) in The 716th. Photo credit: Ray Huang.

The 716th is a fun little sci-fi comedy in the vein of M*A*S*H meets Star Trek.

What is known at the start of the film is that it’s Year 42 of the Rak War in the Outer Durad System.  Ash (John Asher) and Doc (Andrew Bowen) are revealed as being wayward nonautomated combat medics who learn that two of their own are being left on an alien world to fend for themselves.  Neither Doc nor Ash will let that happen.  Doc comes up with the brilliant idea of stealing a shuttle in order to rescue two infantry soldiers, Scout (Lauren McFall) and Teer (Taj Speights).

Comedy hijinks ensue when the shuttle comes with an auto-return system turned on in the event of someone taking them without permission.  The reaction on Doc’s part to this revelation is absolutely priceless!  You can thank a fun screenplay by Andrew Bowen for this!  Bowen makes his mark as a filmmaker and has a bright future ahead!

Despite having a 14 minute running time, none of the gimmicks reserved for the sci-fi comedy come off as cheap.  When all is said and done, it’s hard to believe that this film was made on a “shoestring budget.”  They definitely put both the money and time into the finished product.  This is an especially good thing because science fiction films can’t have a cheap production value to pull it off.  This goes as far as the design of the aliens!

All of that said, the cliffhanger ending in this sci-fi comedy leaves one wanting a little more!  This short film offers a fun premise so I’d love to see what Bowen does with the idea going forward.  Whether it’s a feature film or web series, I want to see what happens with The 716th!

There’s no denial that The 716th is ambitious in what it wants and this short film offers a lot of sci-fi fun.

CAST:  Andrew Bowen, John Asher, Lauren McFall, Taj Speights

An official selection of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, The 716th premiered in the Into the Void shorts program.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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