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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Rhenals

Blog Post #14: Retrospective - Semester of Madness (2012)

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

To commemorate my start as a filmmaker 15 years ago, I am sharing a retrospective series of write-ups dedicated to my past short film work that includes brief commentary for each short film as well as a few "fun facts" about their creation.

13/16. Semester of Madness (2012)

A college student's perception becomes distorted by unforeseen forces. Based on true events. Starring Julian Malagon and Max Terlecki.


Short Film:

"[Your film is] a very powerful portrayal of the actual experience of psychosis... It's certainly one of the best films I've seen on this experience." -Dr. Harriet P. Lefley, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Made for a dear friend who luckily survived a nightmarish experience of mental illness on which this short film is based.

It's no surprise that mental illness is commonly misunderstood and stigmatized throughout society, even in supposedly more enlightened circles. That's why one of the primary intentions behind this film was to be as true to my dear friend's harrowing experience as possible and allow the remarkable clarity and insight he has about his past affliction to shine through.

Festivals & Awards:

• Official Selection at the 2nd Annual Reel Minds Miami Mental Health Film Festival in Miami, FL, 2017

• Official Selection at the 2nd Annual FIU Student Film Festival in Miami, FL, 2014

• Official Selection at the Inaugural Shining Light Film Festival in Indianapolis, IN, 2013

• Official Selection at the 11th Annual Miami short Film Festival in Miami, FL, 2012

• Screened at the August edition of "Hoxton Film Night" in Miami, FL, 2013

• Aired on an episode of the Orlando, FL-based television show, Indie Cinema Showcase, 2013

• Used by doctors at Jackson Mental Health Hospital in downtown Miami, FL

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