Ruben seeks to find his brother, a turtle, a new home. Loosely based on the Japanese folklore of the Kappa.

Credits / Collaborators / Cast

Isaiah Lehtinen
Brenna Llewellyn
Kylee Bush
Cole Vaandale
Sam Coates

Executive Producer – Arnold Lim
Producer: Tesh Guttikonda
Writer/Director – Jerome Yoo
Director of Photography: Jaryl Lim
2nd AC: Alex Gould
Turtle Prop Designer: Ben Plante
Turtle Manager: Tamara Black

Editor: Lawrence Le Lam
Composer: Kevin Watson
Sound Designer: Noah Meyer
Colourist: Sam Gilling
VFX Supervisor: Brandon Christensen

Special Thanks

Keslow Camera
Lecily Corbett
Chris Sheldon
Paula Yip
Mike Johnston
Rebekah Bak
Regan Tse
Shanon Tse
Gavin Tse
Kashif Pasta
Shyam Valera

The story behind the film

“River Boy Blues” is my third short film, marking the culmination of my journey before venturing into feature-length directing. Born amidst the creative suffocation of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s a project I deeply cherish for its independent, guerrilla filmmaking spirit.

Ruben, portrayed by the remarkable Isaiah Lehtinen (I Like Movies, 2022), embodies the collective frustration I experienced during solitary moments, creatively stifled and profoundly lonely. Isaiah and I had been discussing collaborating on a project together and one conversation gushing over our mutual love of anime led to opening up about our fascination with folklore and surrealism.

The Japanese folklore and myth of the Kappa describes a cucumber loving, turtle-human appearing creature, whom kidnaps unaware children playing by rivers. Inspired by the Kappa, my curiosity led my imagination to build a fictional, contemporary, coming of age narrative around a boy and his obsession over his seemingly pet turtle. The short script was passionately shaped over a single evening resulting in an imperfect and loose script, yet charming, with room for creative input and improvisation.

We shot with a small, misfit team made up of our Actors (Isaiah Lehtinen, Brenna Llewellyn), Cinematographer (Jaryl Lim), Executive Producer (Arnold Lim) and Producer/Animal Wrangler/Jack of All Trades (Tesh Guttikonda), embarking on a wildly spontaneous filmmaking adventure running around the Vancouver Islands over the course of 3 days.


Genre: Drama / Comedy
Country: Canada
Language: English
Length in minutes: 16m
YEAR: 2021