Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
An underdog group under guidance of Director Johnnie Hector and supported by ENMU-R’s film class, taught by Alan Trever, showed that in honest competition, talent counts more than equipment or fame.
“It was something we did for the students,” Hector said. “There were over 60 teams, four universities competing and ours won. We won the 48 Hour Film Project of the state of New Mexico. Now it (the film) is going to Filmapalooza, which is in Paris, France.”
The 48HFP Filmapalooza is held in March 2018 where the film competes with the winners of each participating country. The top 12 48HFP films internationally will screen at the Cannes Film Festival, Short Film Corner.
The 48 HFP is an international filmmaking competition open to professional and would-be filmmakers. Its mission is to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers and to get out there and make movies, emphasizing creativity and teamwork skills. It puts an emphasis on “doing” instead of “talking.”
On average, the 48 Hour Film Project panel of international judges select the best films of the year from more than 5,000 film submissions from more than 130 cities around the world.
Last year’s finalists came from Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia and the U.S. (Chicago).
“The 48 Hour Film Festival is exactly what it is, and that is 48 hours,” Hector said. “It starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, you get your genre. It could be horror, comedy or buddy. Ours was a buddy film. Then you get a character. It was Natalie or Nathan Brazil. Then you get a prop, which was a piece of candy wrapper. Then you have to say a line, which was, ‘I know a place.’ You have to add all those elements into the story. The reason they do that is to try to keep people from cheating, so competitors can’t use movies already made.
“We did it with the ENMU-R Film Program. They helped us out greatly. They actually used graduate students and this was their final project.”
Trever shared his experiences of his film class participating in the project.
“There were four groups, A, B, C and D. Each one had at least 20 signed film teams,” he said. “I don’t know how many officially got turned in. They had two groupings. The first one was cut based on not meeting requirements or not having a film. Then there was the cream of the crop selected after that.”
Asked how many of his students participated, Trever said, “We had a crew of 20. Out of those, probably 15 to 17 of them were either current students or graduates. They are all very excited,” he said and laughed. Because it’s a film that not only will be something that they can put in their portfolio and will also be put on the international movie database. They will have a portfolio and what they call an imdb credit resume.
“Apparently, if it goes there (to Paris), if it wins there, it goes to Cannes, which is the equivalent to Sundance. We’ll be competing with other films from every part of the world. We made it for New Mexico, Roswell and our film program,” Trever said. “That’s what I keep telling our (ENMU-R) students. Our program is one of the best film programs in the state of New Mexico. That is one thing we pride ourselves in.”
After the win, Trever is planning to go over the film with the students and clean it up to ready it for the international competition. The team is also planning to compete with it in other film festivals. “We have already been approached by lots of other film festivals,” Trever said.
Asked how he reacted hearing about the win in Albuquerque, Trever said, “I don’t know if I was surprised. I felt good about it, because we had a good solid story. We had something that was interesting and we really jumped in with both feet with all the students and the equipment, and we took time on our lighting, our sound and our camera work. We spent all day taking all the shots we could, really teaching the students about coverage. Coverage really makes a film and tells a story. If you have lots of shots to choose from when you go into the editing process, it just makes it easier to tell the final visual story. That’s what we worked really hard on this one. And that’s why I think we did really good. We did good on the sound and really good on the visual.
“That’s why we won best director, best actor and of course best film. That is the top of the top, like the Oscars,” Trever said and laughed. “When you go to the Oscars, you want to know who has the best picture. You go to these film festivals and in the end it’s the same thing, they want to know who has the best film.
“When you start getting these things that they (the students) can put on their resumes and put in their demo reels, something to show that their peers have been recognized. They can always say, not only did they do this film but that they were a best picture. It’s got an award. It’s been recognized by its peers.” Trever said.
There will be another 48 Hour Film Fest in Albuquerque in October with horror as the theme. Trever’s new film students will be able to show if they can compete with their former classmates.
Trever’s students stay involved as alumni in his film class at ENMU-R.
“I have students that have gone on to big time,” he said. “They do big massive films. They come back still and visit, talk to the students and give their 2 cents.
Trever says that the ENMU-R film department is expecting financial support from the New Mexico Film Guild.
“A feature film movie that was shot in New Mexico is donating $15,000 towards our program. I am just waiting for the PR from the state so we can take it. We are the ones who bring up these students and they help to support them. Our check should hopefully be here this week. Then we will go from there,” Trever said.
Hector is especially proud of the young actress Paige Huddleston, who is theater-based having performed in several musicals with the Way Way Off-Broadway Theatre Company. This was her debut film.
“She delivered a performance that beat all the other actors,” Hector said. “The 48HFP can have Screen Actors Guild actors, you can have professional actors, you have crews who were on professional film crews. It’s not just a college thing. That is why it’s so big (to have won). You are going up to industry professionals. I know for a fact that there was one that got fantasy (as genre). One of their camera operators is a camera operator on one of the television programs right now.”
Huddleston was born and raised in Roswell. Hector met her when she auditioned for a commercial that fell through. “They said that they had another job that I could do, if I would like to,” Huddleston said.
One of the challenges besides the short 13 hours of filming, according to Huddleston, was the difference of performing in a theater piece versus film.
“I got so comfortable with theater and my plays, so when I was transitioning to film, it did take me a while to get used to it because a lot of it is more subtle. I am used to making big faces and expressions because theater is so expressive. You have to convey to the audience how happy you are feeling. In film, I was trying to tone it down, but also stay in the character.”
Huddleston’s film character is different.
“I loved it, it was so much fun. It is such a contrast to how I am in real life. It was so much fun to let loose and be a little crazy for once.”
Huddleston appreciated the team work in the making of the movie.
“I couldn’t have done anything without them,” she said. “The rest of the crew, the director, I wouldn’t have gotten any of the awards if it weren’t for them.”
Asked about the difficulty shooting the film, Huddleston said, “Really you wouldn’t think it was such a short time because how everybody was acting. Everyone was relaxed. There was no rushing involved either.”
While Huddleston would like to see the awards in Paris, her family has a prior commitment.
“My aunt is getting married the day before. She said she would cancel it and go with us,” she said and laughed. “She was planning her marriage for three years.
“We would go to Cannes. I always wanted to go to Cannes, I loved watching the movies, short films and independent films from there. They produce the best. I love them.”
Summer Souza is well-known in the community as a performer and president of WWOB. “Nadi” is not the first performance of Souza under director Hector.
“It was a lot of fun. He (Hector) called me and asked me, do you want to do another one. I was sure, it is so much fun. It is really cool to see how it all comes together in only 48 hours,” Souza said. “I loved working with Robin, Zack and Paige. Paige is wonderful. I love her. She has been in some of our shows (WWOB). She is in our show coming up. She’ll be in ‘Guys and Dolls.’ She came into it saying, ‘I don’t really know what I am doing.’ I told her, ‘You are great. Just keep on doing what you’re doing.’ She enjoyed it a lot.”
Souza’s reaction to the win was overwhelming.
“It was a shock and a nice surprise. You really never know, it’s really weird. It all depends how they (the judges) see it and view it. I hope it wins more awards, it was a surprise,” she said.
Souza experienced the filming as Huddleston did.
“The time limit was the most difficult. Just to make sure to get all the shots, we filmed in one day. That’s all we did. We got there at 7 a.m. and we filmed all day until the night. It was smooth,” Souza said.
“It was out in the sun (in July) and it was really hard,” Souza said. “We were trying not to burn, which was difficult, and poor Paige, redhead, pale skin. She was out in the sun more than we were.
“Most of our filming was in the car, which is nice, but we couldn’t have the air on because of the noise. Every two seconds when they said, ‘cut,’ we opened the window and got water.
“It’s challenging but it’s fun. There is a thrill about it (filming). You got to get it done. It’s an adrenaline rush. Theater is my love and always will be my first love, but I fell in love with film when I started to work in it a couple of years ago. It’s different, but I enjoy it.
“Nice thing too, when you mess it up, you can always cut and do it again versus theater, you get only one chance, that’s it,” Souza said.
Roswell’s AirPlay Media and Adventure Services, LLC had the opening shot of the seven minute short film and won second place for cinematography.
“They helped with a lot of our drone shots,” Hector said. “We used one of their cameras for the interior car scenes. Mike (Lanfor) and Jenna (Preston Secrist) did awesome. Really, they were good.”
The team went with Marian’s Minions as competing name for its group. Lisa Hobbs and Marian Hobbs were the producers.
The main actors are Goddard High School student Paige Huddleston as Nadi, Summer Souza as Natalie Brazil, Robin Haynes as Bobby Brazil and Zack Anderson as Mister.
Grips are Andy Grodo, Jaxon Wilson, Gentry Fuller and Christian Ruiz. Grips is a specific film industry term. Grips are the people in charge of setting up equipment to support the camera and support lighting equipment
“Tom Kwiat helped out also, he was a past film class student and did some camera work and Jeff Cabana did the sound. They both do Live and Amplified. I was the director. I thought, shot and chopped it,” Hector said and laughed. Thought is writing the script, shot is filming and chopped is editing.
Hector explained a big handicap the Roswell team had. Unlike the teams in Albuquerque, the Roswell team had to have a representative in Albuquerque to get the details to compete and call it in to Hector. Additionally, the finished film had to physically be brought to 48HFP to compete. “We lost three hours there and then on top of editing, we had to turn them in by 7:30 p.m. We had to be on the road by 3 p.m. (on Sunday) to make sure that we get it there. We lost three and a half to four hours on top of it all, while the Albuquerque teams could edit it until 5 p.m.,” Hector said.
Hector was not able to be at the award ceremony, instead Lanfor, Preston Secrist and Huddleston represented Marian Minion’s team. New doors for “Nadi” are already opening after the win on Aug. 18.
“They were approached from a girl from the original Santa Fe Film Festival asking to put that film in there,” Hector said. “They were approached by a couple of business people, also.”
Hector is going to try to be in Paris for the 48HFP Filmapalooza in March 2018.
The short film “Nadi” is uploaded to the 48HFP Albuquerque’s webpage at 48hourfilm.com/albuquerque-nm/films.
Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.