Kids on Fire: Short Film Review

Synopsis: JC joins a religious camp along with other teenagers his age. During the camp, they are taught about the sins that they must confess to achieve the salvation of God. However, the teen who is exploring his sexuality and not yet mature enough to understand the concept of sin, fears for eventual descent into hell.

Kids On Fire is a a satirical portrait of bewildered prepubescent children passing through the threshold of sexual awakening while being subject to religious indoctrination. Inspired by Christian doctrines and eschatological concepts that horrify and confuse children at times, the film explores how faith can be driven by fear and how we use our religious beliefs – or a lack thereof–to make sense of life’s greatest mysteries.

Director’s Notes, Kyle Nieva

I was a big fan of the approach this film took as it laid out the premise of the movie. Divided into hilarious chapters, it was a no holds barred take on the psyche of a child who is coming to terms with his own body and faith. However, while the approach was generally light and comedic, this film is bound to ruffle some feathers especially from the religious sector as it pokes fun at the rigidness in the presentation of the Lord’s word, particularly because it not so subtly criticizes and exaggerates the hell and damnation approach to discuss sin with young people.

It also implies a hyprocicy in those who are tasked to share the Lord’s word, as if to say that even those who present themselves as righteous are also sinners.

Not being religious per se, I got what the film was getting at. And it was not to ridicule or undermine any religion — it just intends to question the outdated views of some. I got how it implied how these views can also damage or traumatize a child who does not fully understand the complex issues about morality.

Cinematography-wise, pacing-wise and storytelling wise, it was a lot of fun, especially with the filmmaker’s choice of background music that gave the film a eclectic retro feel. It was a well crafted film although it was also tinted with the director’s views. Again, its not going to be a film for everybody. So if you are sensitive about the issue of religion or faith, you might want to brace yourself before sitting down to watch Kids on Fire.